29 Jun,2020

Simon A. Levin’s proposal for matching-commitment agreements to combat climate change

Source: WLA

On June 19, Chai Molina, Erol Akçay, Ulf Dieckmann, Simon A. Levin, the 2005 Kyoto Prize Laureate in Basic Sciences & Elena A. Rovenskaya published an article about‘Combating climate change with matching- commitment agreements’ on Scientific Reports.


Simon A. Levin . Source: Princeton University

 Countries generally agree that global greenhouse gas emissions are too high, but prefer other countries reduce emissions rather than reducing their own. The Paris Agreement is intended to solve this collective action problem, but is likely insufficient.

Therefore, the authors proposed a solution which is the matching-commitment agreement, through which countries can change each other’s incentives by committing to conditional emissions reductions, before countries decide on their unconditional reductions.

Here, they study matching-commitment agreements between two heterogeneous countries. They find that such agreements could incentivize both countries to make matching commitments that in turn incentivize efficient emissions reductions; reduce emissions from those expected without an agreement, and increase both countries’ welfare.

Matching-commitment agreements are attractive because those agreements do not require a central enforcing authority and only require countries to fulfil their promises; countries are left to choose their conditional and unconditional emissions reductions according to their own interests.