Past Seminar

Toward a Global Climate Agreement: Comparing Countries’ Levels of Effort

Feb 4, 2015

About the Event

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, countries have committed to gather in Paris in December 2015 to finalize a new international agreement to take action on climate change. To prepare for Paris, each country must outline Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the actions it will take to reduce its emissions.

A collaborative and functional negotiation process around the new agreement will require a solid understanding of the levels of effort represented by the INDCs, particularly surrounding mitigation. However, comparing mitigation efforts is a challenging exercise, given the likely diversity of the proposed actions of each country.

At this RFF First Wednesday Seminar, experts discussed a new method for comparing the INDCs, based on work by a team from Harvard University, Duke University, Japan’s Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, and Resources for the Future. They will also present a preliminary assessment of mitigation actions announced by several key jurisdictions, and a negotiator from the US State Department will offer comments.


12:45 p.m. Welcome and Introduction
  • Ray Kopp, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of RFF’s Center for Energy and Climate Economics
12:55 p.m. A Framework for Comparing Levels of Effort
  • Joseph Aldy, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; and Visiting Fellow, RFF
  • William Pizer, Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Faculty Fellow, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University; and University Fellow, RFF
1:20 p.m. A Perspective from the US Government
  • Trigg Talley, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, US Department of State
1:40 p.m. Q&A
2:00 p.m. Adjourn



  • Raymond J. Kopp, Vice President for Energy and Climate; and Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
  • Joseph E. Aldy, University Fellow, Resources for the Future; Associate Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • William A. Pizer, University Fellow, Resources for the Future; Susan B. King Professor and Associate Dean for Programs, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Faculty Fellow, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University