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Nations who abandon the Paris agreement designed to tackle global climate change would ultimately be worse off economically despite some GDP benefits from reneging, according to a new analysis of the Paris climate deal by researchers with the Brookings Institution.

Why it matters: The study arrives at a fragile moment in global climate diplomacy, even as more research piles up about the dangers of failing to steeply cut emissions. The U.S. is preparing to abandon the deal and now Brazil's new far-right president is undercutting confidence in that country's green commitments.

What they did: The analysis models the macroeconomic effect on nations of participating in the deal compared to abandoning their pledges — both in terms of the "co-benefits" of reducing conventional pollutants and the effect of avoided CO2 emissions.

  • "[W]e observe that co-benefits from reductions in conventional pollutants are sufficiently large that even without accounting for reductions in climate change, every region receives a net benefit from participating in the agreement," it states.
  • Nations' self-determined emissions pledges that together form the backbone of the agreement have "significant macroeconomic spillovers across the global economy."
  • The paper also aims to extricate what happens to specific nations countries from participating vs. pulling out.

What they found: The authors ran simulations based on participating vs. abandoning pledges for China (now by far the world's largest emitter), the U.S., and Australia.

  • "We find that non-participation leads to economic gains for these countries relative to participating, illustrating the challenge of forging an international agreement with participation by all major emitters and fossil fuel producers," they found.
  • But, but, but: "[W]e also find that if we account for the monetized climate and domestic co-benefits of emissions reductions, those countries are worse off if they unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement than if they participate."

The big picture: The study shows that the Paris agreement "significantly reduces" carbon emissions relative to a business-as-usual case. But it also further confirms how much existing pledges, called nationally determined contributions, are nonetheless insufficient. Per the report...

Global CO2 emissions would be lower than baseline by 13 billion metric tons by 2030. However, the Paris policy scenario suggests that global CO2 emissions would not decline in absolute terms relative to 2015 levels, let alone follow a path consistent with a 2°C stabilization scenario.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.