This paper reviews past practice in the UNFCCC and examines some of the most promising options to improve the effectiveness of the UNFCCC.

Key Findings

We identified the following promising options to create architecture for the 2015 agreement, all of which could be adopted together. Parties could:

  1. further specify a global long-term goal for emissions, such as a phase-out of greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by mid-century, carbon neutrality, or a global emissions reduction goal;

  2. create a predictable commitment cycle to strengthen national contributions on a regular schedule—for example, five or ten years—and continue to do so until the collective long-term goal is met. That cycle should include a series of clear steps to ensure that the Parties have adequate and dependable information and analysis;

  3. decide up front that every cycle will result in greater emissions reduction or scale up actions for each Party, aiming towards a long-term goal;

  4. create an assessment and revision process for each cycle that supports the Parties in identifying additional options to reduce emissions or strengthen low carbon policies and measures and areas of support and collaboration.