December 2013 – Workshop on Building Block Strategies for Global Climate Action


As a result of failures over many years to reach an encompassing international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, there is increasing recognition of serious problems in basic design features of the sole global climate change architecture, the UNFCCC. This recognition has provoked calls over the past few years about bottom up strategies for climate. Yet, there has been little serious and sustained work on the necessary characteristics of bottom up regimes that will avoid the structural failings of the UNFCCC.

This workshop is designed to contribute to the work of building alternative, more diverse, less the centralized global climate architectures. It will consider three strategies for structuring bottom up regimes, which we call a “building block approach.” These strategies aim to build transnational regulatory regimes, involving (at least initially) a limited number of public and/or private actors to undertake activities, often for reasons other than achieving greenhouse gas reductions, but that will achieve significant greenhouse gas reductions as a co-benefit. These strategies aim to complement the UNFCCC rather than serve as a substitute.

The workshop agenda can be downloaded here.

Relevant Publications:

Act Locally, Link Globally: Overcoming Obstacles to a Joint RGGI-WCI Market September 2017 - In this new Working Paper, Guarini Center fellow Augusta C. Wilson examines opportunities and obstacles to creating a joint RGGI-WCI carbon market. Read the paper here.
March 2017: Building blocks: a strategy for near-term climate action March 2017 - Authors: Richard Stewart, Michael Oppenheimer and Bryce Rudyk The Paris Agreement cemented a new framework for global climate policy based on the voluntary and non-legally binding emission reduction actions by both developed and developing countries. The building blocks strategy for climate action discussed in this Special Issue is well adapted to and strongly complements this […]
A Building Blocks Strategy for Global Climate Change December 2015 - Authors: Michael Oppenheimer, Bryce Rudyk, Richard Stewart The likely future global climate regime, based on nationally determined, non-legally binding commitments, is not by itself likely to produce emissions reductions sufficient to prevent dangerous climate change. There is, however, already significant mitigation occurring outside the context of the UNFCCC that could potentially be scaled up to fill the gap. This […]
Building Blocks for Global Climate Protection, 32 Stanford Envtl. L. J. 341 (2013) September 2013 - Authors: Richard Stewart, Michael Oppenheimer and Bryce Rudyk This article presents an innovative institutional approach to supplement and ultimately strengthen the lagging United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process for negotiating a climate treaty that commits major emitting and developed countries to greenhouse gas emissions limitations. The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action does […]