Episode 3: The Road to Paris

30 Years of Climate Negotiations (in under an hour)

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This episode, join us on “The Road to Paris!” and see if Jacob, Maria, and Casey can fit an entire 30 years of global climate negotiations in less than 60 minutes while chatting with:

  • Susan (Sue) Biniaz (Senior Fellow for Climate Change at the UN Foundation and Visiting Lecturer at Yale)

  • Dan Esty (Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale)

  • David Roberts (Author of “Volts,” a podcast and newsletter on clean energy and politics and former Vox journalist)

Today’s episode takes a step back from the explicit details of carbon pricing and focuses more deeply on the social pressure and global cooperation critical to shaping carbon pricing policy in the U.S. and beyond.

In Episodes 4 - 6, we’ll focus on carbon pricing policy and politics in the United States. Stay tuned!

Cover Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash


Notable quotes:

On U.S. unwillingness to join the Kyoto Protocol:

Dan Esty: Those agreements were seen by some of us as too narrow in that they involved only the so-called Annex 1 countries - the 40 or so most developed nations - and it left a hundred and fifty or more countries -  all of the developing world - sitting on the sidelines. And a number of us began to say that's unworkable. And in fact, the breakdown in terms of US support for action on climate change had partly been a function of folks saying why should the U.S. take action when major trade competitors like China are not required to take action? 

On the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change:

Susan (Sue) Biniaz: That provided a lot of momentum to the Paris process because I guess the fact that the US and China, which first of all were the two biggest emitters, but also had historically been kind of at odds on climate change as an issue, were jointly making an announcement at the presidential level. It gave a lot of countries hope that the Paris Agreement was actually gonna work out...

On the Paris Agreement:

David Roberts: Especially in popular discussion, everybody gets the Paris Agreement wrong. Trump gets it wrong. Everybody gets it wrong. It’s not a treaty that forces you to do things… it doesn’t force the U.S. to do anything. So like every, almost literally every word Trump has ever said about it literally makes no sense. If you understand how the agreement works, like how could it bankrupt America?


To learn more about the Paris Agreement’s “Article 6,” check out the following sources:

  1. In-depth Q&A: How ‘Article 6’ carbon markets could ‘make or break’ the Paris Agreement by CarbonBrief

  2. What You Need to Know About Article 6 of the Paris Agreement by Kelley Kizzier, Kelly Levin and Mandy Rambharos

To understand why we avoid the labels “Developed” and “Developing,” read more below:

  1. Should we continue to use the term “developing world”? by Tariq Khokhar and Umar Serajuddin

  2. If You Shouldn't Call It The Third World, What Should You Call It? by Marc Silver

Lastly, be sure to keep an eye on COP26, scheduled for November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.