One cornerstone of the 2015 Paris Agreement was an agreement on setting up a new ‘Transparency Mechanism’ (TM). With this agreement, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took an important step towards strengthening compliance in international climate policy. The TM seeks to enhance monitoring, reporting, verification, and enforcement (MRV&E) as part of the Paris Agreement. Details of the TM and the associated enforcement mechanisms are the subject of ongoing follow-up negotiations. Yet the agreement on a TM has already raised expectations about the comprehensive implementation of the Paris Agreement by the signatory states.

Despite their significance, transparency and enforcement mechanisms in international climate policies have not received the necessary attention in the research literature. COMPLIANCE, a research project jointly carried out by Heidelberg University, the University of Kassel, the University of Mannheim and the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, aims to improve the state of knowledge about systemic and country-specific factors of climate policy compliance. In addition, it aims to add theoretical and empirical insights for a better understanding of the relative performance of different MRV&E regimes in welfare terms and for more informed negotiation strategies. A particular emphasis in the latter domain is on countries with high commitment to fulfilling their Nationally Determined Contributions.

COMPLIANCE will examine MRV&E in three tightly linked work packages (WP). These WPs combine methods of applied theory, econometrics, and experimental economics. Together with a communication and outreach component, a distinguished Scientific Advisory Board, and a diverse Practitioners’ Panel, COMPLIANCE will provide important inputs for enhancing compliance in international climate policies.