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The Most Ambitious Climate Plans Are Also the Most Credible

The non-binding, flexible nature of the climate goals forged as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement make them more effective, according to researchers.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators during a die-in for climate change in Boston, Massachusetts, US, on Tuesday, July 5, 2022..

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators during a die-in for climate change in Boston, Massachusetts, US, on Tuesday, July 5, 2022..

Photographer: M. Scott Brauer/Bloomberg

Bold and non-binding national climate commitments are more credible and lead to greater change than less ambitious but binding pledges, according to a new paper by researchers at the University of California at San Diego. 

Authors interviewed 829 climate negotiators and scientists from over 150 countries to reach that conclusion, providing some of the first evidence to support the logic of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the paper published in Nature Climate Change on Friday concluded. The novel study involves the largest and most diverse sample of climate policymakers ever polled systematically.