Pledging, Populism, and the Paris Agreement: The Paradox of a Management-Based Approach to Global Governance

Maryland Journal of International Law, Vol. 35, Forthcoming

U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-35

43 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2019

See all articles by Cary Coglianese

Cary Coglianese

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: September 18, 2019

Abstract

For many observers, the Paris Agreement signaled a historic breakthrough in addressing the problem of global warming. In its basic design, however, the Agreement is far from novel. Its dependence on each nation’s self-determined pledge to reduce greenhouse gases mirrors the domestic policy strategy called management-based regulation—a flexible regulatory approach that has been used to address problems as varied as food safety and toxic air pollution. In this article, I connect insights from research on management-based regulation to the international governance of climate change. Unfortunately, management-based regulation’s track-record at the domestic level gives little reason to expect that the Paris Agreement will lead to major long-term behavioral change needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although a management-based regulatory strategy may have been the best option available for securing a widespread global climate agreement, this strategy seems to offer little assurance of forward momentum on climate policy due to an inherent paradox created by the Agreement’s management-based design: global progress will depend on domestic politics. Especially given the rise of nationalistic populism around the world, the Paris Agreement will succeed only if political efforts within individual countries push back the threat to global cooperation posed by populism and convince domestic leaders to support serious climate action.

Keywords: Paris Climate Accords, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, environmental law & policy, international agreements, global governance, meta-regulation, voluntary regulatory programs, public policy analysis, populist movements, self-regulation, pledge & review

JEL Classification: D78, F53, K32, K33, L59, Q54, Q58

Suggested Citation

Coglianese, Cary, Pledging, Populism, and the Paris Agreement: The Paradox of a Management-Based Approach to Global Governance (September 18, 2019). Maryland Journal of International Law, Vol. 35, Forthcoming; U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3456712

Cary Coglianese (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-6867 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/coglianese

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