Matto Mildenberger (Loran Scholar ’03) co-authored an article for the Washington Post.

On Saturday, negotiators wrapped up the 21st annual U.N. climate conference in Paris. And they’ve come up with a new approach to global climate policy.

In the past, countries used international climate conferences to negotiate national limits on carbon pollution. However, confronted with the difficult political realities of reducing carbon pollution at home, few countries kept their climate obligations.

In Paris, the international community decided to try something new. Under the Paris agreement, each country voluntarily sets its own climate goals. Then, at regular intervals, countries will come together to report progress on meeting those goals. They will also meet regularly to “ratchet” up the ambition of their voluntary commitments. However, the Paris agreement does not include any penalties for noncompliance. The agreement’s success depends on peer pressure and the honor system.

Read the article in the Washington Post: