Adequacy and Equity under Neoliberal Climate Governance: Assessing the Paris Moment

This talk assesses some of the implications of the Paris moment for developing countries and civil society campaigners focused on fair burden sharing and democratic process.

J. Timmons Roberts, Professor of Environmental Studies, Brown University, USA

Discussants: Professor Kate Pickett, University of York, Epidemiologist and co-author of The Spirit Level and Dr Rob Lawlor University of Leeds, Researcher on climate change,  ethics and responsibility

The talk will be followed by response from discussants and Q&A – drinks reception hosted by the Centre for Global Development

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What are the prospects for the Paris climate change negotiations?

Based on the new book Power in a Warming World (2015), this talk reviews Paris and previous rounds of climate negotiations by their level of adequacy to avert the worst impacts of climate change and whether their process and implications are equitable.

The voluntary INDC pledging process and the importance of bilateral and “minilateral” announcements reveal a turn to inequitable and undemocratic but somewhat more adequate outcomes, from exclusive inaction towards exclusive action.

The talk assesses some of the implications of the Paris moment for developing countries and civil society campaigners focused on fair burden sharing and democratic process.

About the Speaker

Timmons Roberts is Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at Brown University. Timmons' current research focuses on climate change and economic development. It has three threads:

  • How shifting economic and political relations between the global North and South affect the United Nations negotiations on climate change;
  • The role of foreign aid in the negotiations and in assisting developing countries cope with climate impacts and greening their economies; and
  • What social factors explain national "pathways of economic development" (being relatively high or low carbon emitters for their level of human development).

In all three his core focus is on how inequality affects our ability to address this complex global problem.

Timmons' approach to research is to learn about major social problems by attempting to help address them. A co-founder of, Timmons is part of an international effort to produce a quantum leap in transparency in climate finance, and in foreign aid more broadly. His Climate and Development Lab at Brown provides research support to think-tanks, NGOs, and the Least Developed Countries Group - the world's 48 poorest nations - in the U.N. climate negotiations. In 2014 he led a group that successfully passed the first comprehensive climate legislation in Rhode Island, and has worked for many years with students on greening initiatives and with community groups and local, state and national governments. He teaches environmental sociology, globalization and the environment, serves on the Board on Environmental Change and Society of the National Academy of Sciences, and was in 2014 awarded the Frederick Buttel Award for Distinguished Scholarship by the Environment and Society Research Committee RC24 of the International Sociological Association. His lab's international work and his leadership on the Resilient Rhode Island Act led to Brown University being named "Green University of 2014" by international climate reporting service


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