Annette Magnusson: The Power of Many to Address Climate Change

The innovation contest Stockholm Treaty Lab demonstrates a level of engagement that gives rise to optimism. The world is full of expertise ready to address the climate change challenge. Crowdsourcing provides a tool to channel this ambition into action. 

What does a professor of statistics have in common with an international lawyer, a government negotiator, a former Peace Corps volunteer and a specialist in environmental economics? They all wish to use their skills to help the world fulfill the promise of the Paris Agreement. And they all are examples of the diverse expertise represented in the teams of the Stockholm Treaty Lab competition.

In what is probably the first crowdsourcing initiative launched to design international law, the members of the 22 teams that submitted model treaties makes up an impressive crowd. Experience and know-how includes ministerial responsibilities for human rights, investment negotiations, design of wind turbines, life-cycle assessment of energy systems, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, algorithmic trading and block chain applications. Just to mention a few.

The Stockholm Treaty Lab challenge builds on the idea that investment law can be used to encourage foreign investment in green and sustainable technologies and services. Experience has demonstrated that enormous investments are needed ahead in areas like green aviation, renewable energy, and carbon capture and storage, but investors hesitate because of the high risks involved.  This is where international law comes in.

The Stockholm Treaty Lab innovation contest required teams to draft a model international treaty that would generate investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation. In assessing each team’s submission, the Treaty Lab jury considered whether the draft treaty was compatible with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, and whether it had realistic potential to be adopted by states. The jury also assessed how each team balanced the states’ needs and interests against those of potential investors.

Two of the participating teams stood out for their innovative approaches and were awarded as commended teams when the outcome of the competition was announced.

Team Innovate was commended for their Protocol for the Encouragement, Promotion, Facilitation and Protection of Investments in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. The jury noted that their treaty seeks to build on and support implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals in a convincing manner.

The second commended team The Creative Disrupters contributed a Treaty on Sustainable Investment for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. The jury’s motivation points out that the text contains innovative and out-of-the box ideas and strong language to promote and encourage green investments while at the same time seeking to address the risks posed by non-green investments and supporting the need for just transitions.

The purpose of the Stockholm Treaty Lab competition has always been about impact. There were many good ideas in all of the submissions that did not make it to the top of the podium. This is why not only the winners but all submissions are now available at the Stockholm Treaty Lab website.

On September 28, the Stockholm Treaty Lab top teams were celebrated at a conference held in conjunction with the UN General Assembly in New York. In the coming months, they will continue to present their ideas for green investment law to state representatives and policy makers at various international events, including the Paris Peace Forum, a new initiative by French president Emmanuel Macron.

The Stockholm Treaty Lab is an initiative of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, conducted through the HeroX platform, and with the support of the International Bar Association, the Haga Initiative, and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

 

Annette Magnusson, Secretary General of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

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The Stockholm Treaty Lab challenge builds on the idea that investment law can be used to encourage foreign investment in green and sustainable technologies and services. Experience has demonstrated that enormous investments are needed ahead in areas like green aviation, renewable energy, and carbon capture and storage, but investors hesitate because of the high risks involved.