Calling in the Heavyweights: Why the World Bank Established the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, and What It Might Achieve

International Studies Perspectives, published online 30.09.2020, 17 p. DOI: 10.1093/isp/ekaa013

The initial key international climate policy and carbon market hub was the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Over time several international organizations and networks have been added to the “international carbon market web,” such as several World Bank (WB) initiatives. As to the latter, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) was launched in 2015. A key question then becomes: considering an increasingly dense international environment, why was the Coalition formed? Our analysis shows the importance of taking into account institutional pathways in the Bank itself and the character of previous WB-internal initiatives. However, it is particularly important to note interaction with a strong external pull, stemming both from more “systemic” developments such as the collapse of the Clean Development Mechanism system and the explicit request for new initiatives from key actors, such as UN General Secretary Ban-Ki Moon. We suggest seeing entrepreneurship from the bureaucracies of international organizations as conditional on member-state behavior or a conducive institutional environment (or both). We also discuss main prospects ahead, both for the Coalition and the more general organizational set-up in this issue-area. Here we draw attention to the role of the WB as an international “heavyweight” and CPLC and Bank meetings held back to back.