Determining the credibility of commitments in international climate policy
The Paris Agreement on climate change aims to improve cooperation by allowing governments to set their own commitments. Its success hinges on whether governments and investors believe those national commitments. To assess credibility, we interrogate a large novel sample of climate policy elites with decades of experience and well-placed to evaluate whether nations’ policy pledges are aligned with what they are politically and administratively able to implement. This expert assessment reveals that countries making the boldest pledges are also making the most credible pledges, contrasting theoretical warnings of a trade-off between ambition and credibility. We find that the quality of national political institutions is the largest explanator of the variation in credibility, and Europe’s credibility is exceptionally high. We also find that economic factors, such as the costs and benefits of controlling emissions, are statistically unimportant in explaining the credibility of national pledges to cooperate.
The CCPI data is requested and used for research and science purposes. The CCPI was used as a source in this paper.