In this episode, host Daniel Raimi talks with Nathaniel Keohane, senior vice president for climate at Environmental Defense Fund and a former special assistant for energy and environment in the Obama administration. Keohane assesses the outcomes of this year’s annual international climate negotiations, otherwise known as COP25. He provides an overview of the goals of the conference; whether those goals were achieved; and several other issues, including conference protests, the role of the US delegation, and what to look for at next year’s COP26.
Listen to the Podcast
The Full Transcript
Daniel Raimi: Hello and welcome to Resources Radio, a weekly podcast from Resources for the Future. I'm your host, Daniel Raimi. This week, we talk with Dr. Nat Keohane, Senior Vice President for Climate at Environmental Defense Fund. Nat will give us a readout on the outcomes of this year's annual international climate negotiations, known as COP25. We'll talk about the goals of the conference, whether those goals were achieved, and several other issues including conference protests, the role of the US delegation, and what to look forward to at next year's COP26. There was so much to talk about that Nat and I went about 10 minutes over our usual episode length, but we think you'll appreciate the extra time given the importance and timeliness of this topic. Stay with us.
All right, Nat Keohane from the Environmental Defense Fund, thank you so much for joining us today on Resources Radio.
Nat Keohane: Thank you for having me.
Daniel Raimi: So, Nat we're going to talk today about COP25 in Madrid, and the international climate negotiations that wrapped up last week, but first we like to ask all our guests how they got into working on environmental topics in general. So, can you tell us what spurred you into this field?
Nat Keohane: Sure. So, I usually mention a couple of things. A big influence on me was my grandmother. She lived near me when I was growing up, out in the Bay Area in California. She was a volunteer docent at Point Lobos State Park, which for anyone from Northern California, it's one of the most beautiful places anywhere. So, she really got me interested. She was very passionate about that place and about the environment, and that kind of planted a seed.
Then, when I was a junior in high school, I spent a semester at a program called the Mountain School of Milton Academy. The Mountain School's actually still there. That's where I first really got immersed in environmental issues more deeply. That kind of laid the groundwork for a lot of what I do now, and my older daughter just went there last year. So, now there's a nice connection as well.
Daniel Raimi: Yeah, very cool. I've actually spent tons of time at Point Lobos. I had a girlfriend in college whose grandmother lived literally next door to the park.
Nat Keohane: There you go. Gorgeous.
Daniel Raimi: It's really an amazing place. So, let's get into the substance.
Nat Keohane: Sure.
Daniel Raimi: We're going to talk about COP25, which when we say COP25, we're referring to the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UNFCCC. We're not going to use too many acronyms today, but let's start off by just getting a little bit of groundwork and a little bit of background on the UNFCCC and these annual COP meetings. Can you kind of give us a really quick whirlwind tour through what the UNFCCC is and how it's evolved over the last 25 years or so?
Nat Keohane: Sure. Yes. So, the UNFCCC or the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The full name refers to the treaty that was signed at the first Rio Earth Conference back in 1992, and actually, for the US, one thing that was interesting about that, is that was a treaty that the Senate ratified and that President George H. W. Bush negotiated and signed into law. So, that was a shining moment very early on, way long ago on bipartisan cooperation on the environment.
So, coming out of that Rio Earth Summit, that was the genesis of all this—and the first Conference of the Parties or COP, COP1, was in Berlin in 1995. Then, the one that we just passed in Madrid was the 25th. If you want a very broad history, somewhere online there's a great history of the UNFCCC, a 30 second cartoon that's easy to find. But the basic history is, the first thing that happened was the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol, which was agreed in 1997, at COP3 in Kyoto. And the way that was set up, that was a treaty underneath the overarching framework convention, and the Kyoto Protocol envisioned a very sharp split between developed countries like the US and Europe, which were to take on specific quantitative emissions' reduction targets, and developing countries like China and India and Brazil, and a whole other range of developing countries which did not have formal obligations under the protocol—that was actually written into an annex of the Protocol, Annex 1.
So there is a set of countries called Annex 1 countries, which were these developed countries, now at the time that seemed to make sense. The US was by far the world's biggest polluter, China was really just very early on in developing its own economy. But the Kyoto Protocol didn't take effect until 2008. And by that time, two things had happened; first, the US had decided not to ratify it, or not even to submit the document for ratification. Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol, but decided not to submit it to the Senate because he was pretty sure it wouldn't get ratified. And then when George W. Bush came into office, he just abandoned it. So that was the first thing.
And then the second thing was, by the time it took effect in 2008, China had grown enormously, India had grown, and so the fraction of emissions that was covered by those developed countries was much smaller. So it became a very narrow treaty by the time it started. So already by then people were looking for something else. In 2009, there was a conference in Copenhagen, which was meant to be—what's next, what's going to be after the Kyoto Protocol? Or how do we continue the peer to peer protocol and strengthen it? The Obama administration had just come into power in the US—there were a lot of high hopes and they were dashed when Copenhagen basically ended in failure and acrimony—it collapsed at the last minute, it was very dramatic, but it didn't hit at anything.
But it did lay the seeds for a new approach that would include all countries. So in Durban in 2012, that was formalized in an agreement to write a new protocol—or actually it was … I forget the full name … that effectively said any kind of legal agreement, or some other instrument with legal force, there was something in there about that—the idea being, you had to design something that the US could agree to without having to put it up to the Senate, because that is what had sunk Kyoto.
So, that led to the Paris agreement in 2015, which embodied this idea of all countries participating, and got rid of that so-called Kyoto firewall between developed and developing countries. But in order to do that, and in order to be something that the US could go ahead on without Senate ratification, you had to have a structure that really is voluntary. And what I mean by that is countries in the Paris Agreement, they make commitments called “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs). They're supposed to make those commitments, which say what they're going to do to reduce their emissions, every five years, and then there's a structure in place to report on those commitments to ensure transparency and so on.
So, Paris was signed in 2015. Of course, that was rightly viewed as a high watermark. But then, just over a year later in November 2016, of course, Trump was elected in the US and that has really thrown a wrench into the whole process—we can talk about that later. But the short story is that by last year, in Katowice, countries were supposed to agree on the rulebook for implementing the Paris Agreement, the more detailed guidelines and standards that would provide guidance for how countries report their emissions, and how they submit these NDCs and so on.
Almost everything was actually agreed on last year. And the one piece that wasn't—I know we'll talk about that later, about markets—but there was one piece that was outstanding. So, if you think about that broad arc, I always think about the UNFCCC process as lots of up and downs, right—some periods of high watermark agreement like Paris, some periods where it's much harder to see progress going forward. And frankly, I think we're in one of those latter periods now.
Daniel Raimi: Yeah, we'll definitely get into that … So you've given us a really fantastic grounding here. Let's talk now about this most recent COP, COP25 in Madrid. From your perspective, what were some of the key goals going in—you just mentioned one element of the rulebook—was that really the centerpiece of the COP, or were there other major elements that countries were interested in talking about or hammering out?
Nat Keohane: Well, so frankly, stepping back a bit, I mean—I think objectively, this COP was always a lower stakes COP, in the sense that in 2015 they were negotiating an agreement. Last year, they were supposed to get all the rulebook agreed. Next year in Glasgow at COP26, that's the five year mark. I mentioned that every five years countries need to come back and re-communicate or update their targets, these NDCs. So this was always going to be an interim kind of COP, right? But we do these every year. So every year you have to gen something up. And there were really, I think three things on the agenda.
One of them was, as I said—markets—this idea of guidance for carbon markets was carried over from last year because that was the one piece of the rulebook that couldn't be agreed on. A second piece, this year there's been a review of something called “the Warsaw Mechanism for Loss and Damage.”There's an “I” in there too. So it’s the WIN. There are always acronyms. That was agreed in, I think it was 2013, or it might have been 2014. I get the years confused, but that was agreed before Paris.
That's about so-called loss and damage—could we envision a UN mechanism to compensate countries that are suffering the impact of climate change, already the most vulnerable countries—small island states, countries in Sub Saharan Africa and so on. Could there be a mechanism to compensate them that would be paid for by the rich countries? So, that was an agenda item because a report came up, a review came up, and there was a natural point to ask how to move forward. And then the third piece was just generally looking ahead to next year in Glasgow—what kind of language will countries agree to about the need for more ambition, because if there's one thing that's very clear, and it was made even clearer by a couple of reports that were released by the UN Environment Program and others on the eve of this COP, there's a gap between the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global average temperature rise to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, and then aim to one and a half degrees.
It's very clear that the targets countries have actually committed to are nowhere on that trajectory, the emissions are way above the trajectory they need to meet the Paris Agreement objectives. And so ambition is something we need much more of. And that was the third part of the agenda for Madrid—what are countries going to say about ambition in advance of next year, when they're all supposed to come back with new targets.
Daniel Raimi: Great. That's really helpful. So, if we think about those three key elements that you've talked about, establishing rules for markets, thinking about loss and damage, and then thinking about ambition, how would you sort of evaluate the success of the event based on those three objectives?
Nat Keohane: So, one word: failure. I don't think we should sugarcoat it. It's easy, when you've been in the process for a while, or you you've just spent, in some cases, 14 days, in my case five or six days, at the end you always want to find one of the silver linings. But I think we have to be honest and say it was pretty much a complete failure. I mean, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, it literally at some points almost looked like they would walk away with nothing. They managed to salvage some decisions that recognize this and note that and urge this, but I think on all three dimensions, it was basically a failure. There was no agreement on carbon market guidance for the second year in a row. They did make progress, but they weren't able to bring it home. So they left without agreement.
Basically, the negotiations over this loss and damage mechanism were quite acrimonious, and didn't result in anything new. That's not necessarily such a surprise, but it certainly is not a success. And the language was pretty weak on ambition. Now I'm one of those people who thinks that the words that are on the piece of paper that the COP does, that those words don't matter nearly as much as what countries actually do. But there were a lot of people looking at that. And they were certainly very disappointed by the kind of language that countries were willing to agree to.
And it's certainly not a good sign when countries are not even willing to use the word ambition, or saying that we need more ambition. So across all three of those areas, I think it's fair to say it was a failure. I should say, not for lack of time, because this COP set the record for the longest COP in history, going 44 hours past the scheduled end time of Friday, 6pm. So they spent all that time, but they still couldn't agree on anything.
Daniel Raimi: Okay, so that's a sort of stark and sobering overview to what happened. Let's dig into one of the major elements that you talked about, something that RFF has a lot of experience in, which is thinking about markets and mechanisms for trading. To my understanding, a lot of this was embedded in a section called Article Six. And that there were a couple kind of important sticking points that came out of Article Six that countries had discussions about and may have reached some agreement at some places, and failed to reach agreement and others. Can you give us a little bit of an overview of what these issues were under Article Six, and sort of talking about their importance, and maybe what the outcomes were?
Nat Keohane: Yes, absolutely. You're right, Article Six ,it's the sixth article of the Paris Agreement and it's framed actually in an interesting way, which I think is relevant to how we think about the role of markets and trading and the international context. It's framed about cooperative approaches. That's the title of the article. And when I say an article, the rest of the agreement—there's an overarching section in the beginning, and then there's an article that has the objectives, and there's an article about what countries need to do, and targets, and so on. There's an article about forests, there's an article about reporting. So one of the articles is about so-called cooperative approaches, and that is widely understood to mean markets. And I think it's a suitable title, a suitable label. Because really, in the international context, markets are about international cooperation. We know that, as I just said, one thing we really need is more ambition.
We need countries to do more, and a core premise for international cooperation is that countries will be able to achieve more together than they can on their own, and markets, if they’re done right, are a critical pathway for that sort of cooperation. So if countries get together, and they can take advantage of markets to find the emissions reductions wherever and whenever they can be done most quickly and cheaply, that can raise the overall ambition that can increase overall emissions reductions. So that's why markets are in the agreement. That's why they're there, and I'll just say, EDF has done some analysis that suggests full use of markets could roughly double the ambition that countries could achieve under the Paris Agreement, relative to what they've already agreed to do as NDCs, if they put the same resources to work through a global market where they were cooperating and working together—they could get almost double the emissions reductions.
That's very consistent with a lot of work that RFF researchers have done over the years. It's consistent with a similar estimate from MIT and so on. So this is an important deal. It's a big deal. But you’ve got to get it right. And that's what this negotiation in Madrid was all about. The language of Article Six in the Paris Agreement itself recognizes that countries can go ahead and take advantage of markets. But it also opens the door to the need for guidance on what that looks like. So when we talk about Article Six, there are really two parts—actually there's three but frankly, no one really understands what the third one is. It was a Bolivian, not exactly clear what the eighth paragraphs, called article 6.8, I'm not really sure exactly what it's supposed to be doing, it was there for a political agreement. But the two pieces that are very clear, one of them is the second paragraph of Article Six called Article 6.2. And the other is the fourth paragraph, Article 6.4.
So 6.2 is about bilateral transfers between countries. So let's say the European Union and Switzerland just agreed on a linkage of their two emissions trading systems. That's a great example of Article 6.2. If Europe and Switzerland are going to link their systems, first of all, Paris Agreement says, great, they can do that in the context of meeting their targets. And if Europe ends up buying some credits from Switzerland overall, then those credits can be applied towards Europe meeting its target. But the article also says you need to have guidance for robust accounting, in particular to avoid double counting. So if the Swiss reduce emissions by 100 tons, and those credits get sold to Europe, then Europe can apply those credits towards achieving the European target, but if it does that, Switzerland can't apply those credits towards its own target, right? You can't count the same emissions reductions twice. That's sounds very simple. But it turns out to be critical, and we can come back to some of the details. So that's article 6.2. It's about bilateral trading. And the important thing there is getting the accounting right.
Article 6.4 is about a new mechanism that the UN might establish, which would essentially allow countries that aren't ready to have their own carbon markets up and running yet, to still allow them to access the global carbon market through a UN mechanism that would have very detailed standards and procedures. And if you checked all the boxes and you did all the work, you could generate carbon credits for emissions reductions achieved—let's say through building a solar plant or capping a landfill and capturing the methane gas, and burning that instead of letting it into the atmosphere, or reducing emissions from agriculture—all those things, there would be a mechanism to recognize emissions reductions from those, and create credits. And that would be overseen by the UN.
Daniel Raimi: Sorry to interrupt. But that sounds like an extension of the Clean Development Mechanism, the CDM that was developed for Kyoto.
Nat Keohane: Exactly. And in fact, if you go far enough back in the negotiations, when we were in Durban, and I was on the US government delegation at that time, because I was working in the White House. So in Durban, the shorthand name for that was son or daughter of CDM. So the thing that now is Article 6.4, used to go by the name “New Market Mechanism,” which was basically—“Okay, how do we take this Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol and apply it going forward.” So, those are the two channels. Essentially, when you then come to the negotiations and think about what were the sticking points, on article 6.2, that's the bilateral one, the sticking points coming in were really around, “Okay, how broadly do we apply this ‘no double counting provision.’”
Everyone agrees in principle that you shouldn't double count, or they say they agree. But does it apply, for example, to emissions reductions that are from a sector or a greenhouse gas that is outside a country’s NDC, a country’s Nationally Determined Contribution. So let's take China. China has a NDC that's just CO2, they've committed to peak CO2 levels by 2030. China could have emissions reductions from methane—let's say from a landfill, or cattle operation or an agricultural operation, or even from oil and gas—those are all sources of methane gas, which is different than CO2. So if China reduces its methane and it wants to sell those credits in this bilateral context, does it have to account for those reductions? They will show up on China's inventory, when China reports to the UN its total emissions, but China's not going to count them towards its NDC, which is only about carbon. So that was a question of scope.
And the strong environmental integrity position is yes, you have to count those emissions really wherever they occur. In part, that's because that's what the atmosphere sees. And in part, because you don't want to create an incentive where countries deliberately choose a very narrow target so that they can leave lots of room to generate emissions reductions that they can sell. It turned out actually, in Madrid, that that got resolved and it got resolved in favor of strong integrity. So that was real progress. Another example is, what about emissions reductions that get sold to airlines, which starting in 2021, there's going to be a cap on emissions from international aviation and airlines are going to need to buy offset credits to meet that cap. Well, again, if you get those emissions reductions in a country, and then that country sells them to an airline, you got to make sure those only get counted once. And so that Paris accounting regime needs to talk to the aviation counting regime. And again, that was agreed in the draft text in Madrid. So that was more progress. But that's been a sticking point.
The final piece on 6.2, and I'll take a breath, is something called share of proceeds. The issue at stake is, when there's a trade between two countries; Should there be some tax, some piece of the value of that trade, that goes to fund adaptation in vulnerable countries? That's called the share of proceeds. It would be like a Tobin tax on emissions trading. That was very clearly rejected for Article 6.2 in the Paris Agreement. Most economists think that would be a bad idea because it would hinder trading. But it's still something that some countries are insisting on, and that actually proved to be a major sticking point in Madrid, and one that's not been resolved.
Daniel Raimi: Interesting. So those are all issues that fell under the rubric of 6.2. I know there's a lot going on with 6.4 as well, but in the interest of time, can you give us maybe a super brief overview on 6.4, and then we might talk about a couple other things.
Nat Keohane: Absolutely. The 6.4 piece had some of those same issues around share proceeds and so on. All of those really belonged in the 6.4 discussion, similar issues, right, around double counting. The main issue that held up 6.4 is basically whether there should be special accounting for 6.4 credits, because they're generated through this UN mechanism. Should they be treated differently than the credits in the bilateral mechanism? Brazil said "Yes." Brazil wanted special treatment for those 6.4 credits. And there was real concern that that would effectively allow double counting, since some of those emissions reductions credits might show up on Brazil's inventory. Very quickly, I should add, there's one more big issue here that, it comes up especially in 6.4.
And that is what happens to all of the credits that are lying around from that Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism. Those were all generated before 2020, and they've been worthless essentially since the EU stopped accepting CDM credits a few years ago. Countries like Brazil, India, China, want those credits to carry over into the new regime, and they wouldn't be accounted for in any way because they're all pre-2020, before the Paris Agreement starts. So that question of carry over, can you carry over old credits into the new regime? That was a big sticking point.
Daniel Raimi: Right. Okay, so to wrap up this discussion about Article six, the sort of overarching question that's in my head is like—how big of a deal is this? If these things never get fully resolved, how much does that constrain the ability of the international community to reduce emissions, or reduce them at low costs in the years to come?
Nat Keohane: So that's a great question and the answer is, it doesn't. So the Paris Agreement was written with this in mind. Article Six, as it was written, recognizes that countries can use transferred credits or mitigation outcomes to meet their Paris NDCs. And they can do that even if no guidance is agreed on. So, in the ideal world, you would get guidance, because you want to have this kind of consistent accounting we've been talking about. But the Paris Agreement is very clear that you don't need that guidance to go forward. And so what we're saying is, look, the UN has tried twice. It's failed twice.
Sure, come back and try again at Glasgow, but don't wait for the UN—countries that are really serious about markets can and should start agreeing their own rules for high integrity emissions trading. And we think they could start doing that right away, essentially. And then the UN could catch up, and law could follow practice in that case. So we think there's a pathway for countries to form kind of a coalition of carbon markets and move ahead right away.
Daniel Raimi: All right, well that's encouraging. So zooming out now from Article Six, and some of the details. One of the moments that got a lot of news coverage during the COP was a substantial number of protesters who disrupted the conference, largely to demand greater ambition in terms of environmental action. I'm curious from your perspective, what was your reaction, in two ways? First, your reaction to the arguments raised by the protesters, and then your reaction to the sort of tactics that they use to get their argument across.
Nat Keohane: So, first of all, I thought—and this is something I said in my press quotes, and actually was a common theme across the environmental community—it was very clear because of those protests, but also because of everything else that has been happening over the last year with Greta Thunberg, and so on. The gap between what the public is demanding, what citizens are demanding, what youth in particular, are demanding in terms of action, and what the UN process is delivering—that gap is wider than ever. And that's partly because the UN processes are slowing down, we’re in a lull, as I said. And it's largely because there's so much more awareness and demands from the youth and from other activists—and look, I'm now an older generation of environmental advocates and of climate activists. So, I don't agree with all of the substantive points that the really younger generation makes on policy. But I think it's been an extraordinarily important and vital movement. And it’s an extraordinary source of, kind of wind at our backs, for all of those who are working on climate, because they are showing how much this matters to this next generation. And they're inspiring many others—including my generation—to act, and to call for action. So I think it's tremendously important. You mentioned the other piece, which is what about the reaction?
I'm sort of two minds. I mean, my first reaction was okay. The only thing that the UN Framework Convention seems to do well and fast is kick people out of the conference who are calling for faster action. Right? So the irony that they're blocking the plenary where you're getting these speeches droning on and on about how we have to act and not talk, right. And the irony that the people that are demanding action get kicked out post-haste, that wasn't lost on anybody. I will say, I think that the folks who were actually the security personnel or actually there were following protocol, and these things kind of spiral out that way. So, I can't say whether they handled it the right way or the wrong way, but the irony was not lost on anyone.
Daniel Raimi: Okay. So this is kind of lightning round. I'm asking you really big questions, but kind of one-offs. So the next really big one-off question is about the US role. So, what role to the US delegation play in the negotiations this year? And how has President Trump's intention to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, which would take effect in 2021, how has that announcement sort of affected the dynamics of the US participation?
Nat Keohane: Yeah, so I think this is an important question, and there's a quick answer, but it's different than the conventional narrative. In this era right now, it's easy to say, “Okay, nothing happened at the UN. That must be that the Trump administration was blocking everything.” And that's not the case. The Trump administration is doing a huge amount to undermine climate action right now, don't get me wrong. They're doing everything they can at home in terms of domestic actions. And by pulling out of the Paris Agreement, they're certainly trying to cripple it, and they're doing a good job of slowing it down. So it was the absence of the US in any political level, [that] has been a big part of why we're seeing these things grind to a halt. Because when the US is not there to stand alongside Europe and other countries and call for greater action, it opens up all sorts of opportunities for mischief. It also means that when China looks to its main trading partner, and we're going in the other direction, China no longer has as much of an interest in devoting a lot of time or leadership to climate.
So Trump walking away from Paris has played a critical role in undermining the Paris Agreement. And that was part of the context of his talks, no doubt about it. But the delegation that was actually there was largely made up of State Department professionals who were there in the Obama administration, they are dedicated professionals who are widely respected. They were doing everything they could, I think, in many ways, to improve the outcome. But they weren't there at a political level and there are, frankly, some long-standing US positions that are at odds with some other countries, around loss and damage and so on. So, the main problem from the Trump [administration]—it's a sin of omission, not commission, if you will. It's the fact that they're not there that’s really hurting us, rather than that the Trump administration was actively making this shift.
Daniel Raimi: That makes sense. So last of my lightning round questions here, before we ask our final question, which is about what's on the top of your reading stack. If we look towards next year, to COP26 in Glasgow, you mentioned that nations are expected to submit their updated Nationally Determined Contributions, their NDCs, where one might hope that they would be ratcheting up their ambition. What are the things that you're thinking about now, and that you'll be thinking about over the next year or so as we look forward to that next COP?
Nat Keohane: Yeah, so I mentioned briefly that next year is the sort of year of ambition, right. Also now, we'll have markets potentially on the agenda for the third year in a row. But look, I think the major issue is that gap I mentioned before, between where emissions are headed—including with existing NDCs, existing targets, and where they need to go if we're going to have a hope at meeting the Paris objectives, or averting climate catastrophe. So what we need most is greater ambition, deeper emissions reductions and cuts from the major countries.
The Paris provides a framework to do that, within which that can happen, but Paris is only as good as the commitment by countries. And so while the talks in Glasgow next year are going to be an important milestone in the UNFCCC process, the more important things I'm going to be looking for are; how does Europe implement its Green Deal that Ursula Von Der Leyen just announced last week, and in particular, does it reach greater ambition by extending its use of its own emissions trading system; how does China continue to navigate its position of potential leadership on climate, but its relationship with the US; and China is set to launch the world's largest Emissions Trading System next year for its power sector, and watching how that goes will be an important sign of how well China is positioned to increase its own ambition. And then of course, the US elections will be critical to this. But there are also things happening at the state level of the US, New Jersey rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a number of other states, looking to either join the RGGI trading system or maybe implement trading systems of their own. So there's a lot going on. The bottom line is what I'm going to be looking for over the next year is actually what happens in countries where the policies are put in place, because that's how we get more ambition, and what countries bring to Glasgow is just going to be a reflection of what they're able to do at home.
Daniel Raimi: Absolutely. So a lot to keep track of, a lot to watch for over the next year. Nat Keohane, thank you so much again for joining us today. This has really been a fascinating discussion. And I think our listeners will appreciate the fact that we took 10 minutes extra of their time to really understand it all. So I want to close it out now with asking the final question that we ask all of our guests, which is what's on the top of your literal or metaphorical reading stack. And I'll just briefly recommend two blog posts that I read this week on the COP25, that people can check out if they want to dive a little bit deeper into the subjects we've talked about today.
First is Robert Stavins’ excellent blog, An Economic View of the Environment. Rob sort of gives his assessment of the outcomes of COP25, and focused on those Article Six issues that we were talking about. And then second is a blog post from Elliot Derringer at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. His view is a little bit more pessimistic than Rob's I think, and it covered some of the other topics, including the loss and damage area in the ambition components that we were talking about today, Nat, but really offers a lot of useful insights. So I'd encourage people to check those out for more information. And now how about you, what's on the top of your reading stack?
Nat Keohane: I'm going to give you a very surprising answer. It even surprises myself. I read Naomi Klein's book, This Changes Everything. I disagree with almost everything in there. But I recommend it to people who, like me, believe strongly in the power of markets and economic incentives to solve the climate crisis, because she was in a place three or four years ago, it seemed like she was on the fringe. Her own arguments are now, I think, at the center of a lot of climate progressives’ thinking. She presents cogent arguments we have to grapple with. And so I don't endorse this, this is the opposite of endorsement. I don't endorse what she says. But we need to grapple with that. And it's a much more serious and nuanced argument than I had assumed going in. So it was an interesting experience for me to grapple with that book.
Daniel Raimi: Great. Well, I certainly appreciate that, and hope our listeners will check it out and get up to speed on the range of views that are out there. So once again, Nat Keohane from the Environmental Defense Fund, thank you so much for joining us on Resources Radio.
Nat Keohane: Well, thank you for having me.
Daniel Raimi: You've been listening to Resources Radio. If you have a minute, we'd really appreciate you leaving us a rating or comment on your podcast platform of choice. Also, feel free to send us your suggestions for future episodes. Resources Radio is a podcast from Resources for the Future. RFF is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington DC. Our mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. Learn more about us at our rff.org. The views expressed on this podcast are solely those of the participants. They do not necessarily represent the views of Resources for the Future, which does not take institutional positions on public policies. Resources Radio is produced by Elizabeth Wason with music by me, Daniel Raimi. Join us next week for another episode.