David G. Victor

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David G. Victor is a professor of international relations at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego. Victor is also an adjunct professor in Climate, Atmospheric Science & Physical Oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


Victor received his Ph.D in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his A.B. in History and Science from Harvard University.


Victor is the co-director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the School of Global Policy and Strategy (ILAR)[1] and of the campus-wide Deep Decarbonization Initiative,[2] which focuses on real world strategies for bringing the world to nearly zero emissions of warming gases.

At UC San Diego, Victor and the ILAR researchers analyze how international agreements function and why some agreements are much more effective than others. ILAR's research looks at all major areas of international cooperation, including environment, human rights, trade and investment. The lab also conducts experimental research to investigate how humans make the complex decisions that are typical of designing and implementing international agreements.[3]

Prior to joining UC San Diego, Victor served as director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University,[4] where he was a professor at Stanford Law School and taught energy and environmental law. Earlier in his career he also directed the science and technology program at the Council on Foreign Relations and led the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.[5]

Victor was a convening lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).[6]

In 2016, Victor was appointed to Co-Chair, The Brookings Institution Energy Security and Climate initiative.[7]


  • Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet, Cambridge University Press, 2011.[8]
  • The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming, Princeton University Press, 2004.[9]
  • Climate Change: Debating America's Policy Options, Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2004[10]

Selected publications[edit]

Christopher T.M. Clack et al. (22 authors), 2017, "Evaluation of the proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water, and solar," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(26), 6722-6727.

Guri Bang, David G. Victor, and Steinar Andresen. 2017. "California's Cap-and-Trade System: Diffusion and Lessons." Global Environmental Politics 17 (3): 12-30. doi:10.1162/GLEP_a_00413.

Michael J. Ford, Ahmed Abdulla, M. Granger Morgan, and David G. Victor. 2017. "Expert Assessments of the State of U.S. Advanced Fission Innovation." Energy Policy 108, pp:194-200.

Gang He and David G. Victor, 2017, "Experiences and lessons from China's success in providing electricity for all," Resources, Conservation & Recycling, vol 122, pp. 335-338

Ryan Hanna, Mohammed Ghonima, Jan Kleissl, George Tynan, and David G. Victor, 2017, "Evaluating business models for microgrids: Interactions of technology and policy," Energy Policy. Advance online. Doi 10.1016/j.enpol.2017.01.010

Charles F. Kennel, Stephen Briggs and David G. Victor, 2016, "Making Climate Science More Relevant" Science, 354 (6311), 421-422 (28 October).

Robert O. Keohane and David G. Victor, "Cooperation and Discord in Global Climate Policy Nature Climate Change," 2016, 6(6), 570-575

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton and David G. Victor, 2016, "Secrecy in International Investment Arbitration: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of International Dispute Settlement, vol 7(1): 161-182.

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, Brad L. LeVeck and David G. Victor, 2016, "How Activists Perceive the Utility of International Law," Journal of Politics, 78(1): 167-180

Charles F. Sabel and David G. Victor, 2015, "Governing Global Problems Under Uncertainty: Making Bottom-Up Climate Policy Work," Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-015-1507-y

Gokul C. Iyer, Leon E. Clarke, James A. Edmonds, Brian P. Flannery, Nathan E. Hultman, Haewon C. McKeon, and David G. Victor, 2015. "Improved Representation of Investment Decisions In Assessments of CO2 Mitigation," Nature Climate Change, vol 5, pp.436-440

David G. Victor, 2015, Join the Club: Group Approaches to Tackling Climate Change, Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

Brad L. LeVeck, D. Alex Hughes, James H. Fowler, Emilie Hafner-Burton and David G. Victor, 2014. "The Role of self-interest in elite bargaining," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111, pp. 18536-18541.

David G. Victor, Reyer Gerlagh and Giovanni Baiocchi 2014, "Getting Serious About Categorizing Countries." Science, vol. 345, pp. 34-36.

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, Brad L. LeVeck, David G. Victor and James H. Fowler, 2014, "Decision Maker Preferences for International Legal Cooperation," International Organization, vol. 68, pp. 845-876.

David G Victor, 2013, "National Oil Companies and the Future of the Oil Industry," Annual Review of Resource Economics, vol. 5, pp. 445-462.

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, D. Alex Hughes, and David G Victor, 2013, "The Cognitive Revolution and the Political Psychology of Elite Decision Making," Perspectives on Politics, vol. 11, pp. 368-386.

Robert O. Keohane and David G. Victor, 2012, "The Transnational Politics of Energy," Daedalus, vol 142, pp. 97-109.

Charles F. Kennel, V. Ramanathan, and David G. Victor, 2012, "Coping with Climate Change in the Next Half-Century," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society," vol 156, pp. 398-415.

Emilie M Hafner-Burton, David G. Victor and Yonatan Lupu, 2012. "Political Science Research on International Law: The State of the Field," American Journal of International Law vol 106, pp. 47-97.

Robert O. Keohane and David G. Victor, 2011, "The Regime Complex for Climate Change," Perspectives on Politics vol. 9 (1), pp. 7-23.

Fang Rong and David G. Victor, 2011. "Coal Liquefaction Policy in China: Explaining the Policy Reversal since 2006," Energy Policy, vol 39, pp. 8175-8184.

Valentina Bosetti and David G. Victor, 2011. "Politics and Economics of Second-Best Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: The Importance of Regulatory Credibility" The Energy Journal vol. 32 (1) pp. 1-24.

Varun Rai, David G. Victor, Mark C. Thurber, 2010. "Carbon Capture and Storage at Scale: Lessons from the growth of analogous energy technologies," Energy Policy vol. 38, pp. 4089-4098.

P.R. Shukla, Subash Dhar, David G. Victor, Michael Jackson, 2009. "Assessment of Demand for Natural Gas from the Electricity Sector in India," Energy Policy vol. 37, pp. 3520-3534.

David G. Victor, 2008, "On the Regulation of Geoengineering," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, vol 24, pp. 322-336.

BinBin Jiang, Chen Wenying, Yu Yuefeng, Zeng Lemin, and David G. Victor (2008), "The future of natural gas consumption in Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai: An assessment utilizing MARKAL" Energy Policy, vol. 36, pp. 3286-3299.

Zhang, Chi, P.R. Shukla, David G. Victor, Thomas C. Heller, Debashish Biswas, and Tirthankar Nag, 2006. "Baselines for carbon emissions in the Indian and Chinese power sectors: Implications for international carbon trading," Energy Policy, Vol 34, pp. 1900-1917.

David G. Victor, 2006, "Toward Effective International Cooperation on Climate Change: Numbers, Interests and Institutions," Global Environmental Politics, vol. 6, pp. 90-103.

David G. Victor, 2006, "Seeking Sustainability: Cities, Countryside, Wilderness," in Paul Demeny and Geoffrey McNicoll, eds., The Political Economy of Global Population Change, 1950-2050 supplement to Population and Development Review, vol. 32, pp.202-221.

Howells, Mark, David G. Victor, Trevor Gaunt, Rebecca Elias, and Thomas Alfstad, 2006, "Beyond Free Electricity: The Costs of Electric Cooking in Poor Households and a Market-Friendly Alternative," Energy Policy, vol. 34, 3351-3358.

David G. Victor and Joshua C. House, 2006, "BP's Emissions Trading System," Energy Policy, vol 34, pp. 2100-2112.

Howells, Mark, Thomas Alfstad, David G. Victor, Gary Goldstein, and Uwe Renne, 2005, "A model of household energy services in a low-income rural African village, Energy Policy, Vol 33, pp 1833-1851, also posted at http://pesd.stanford.edu, Working Paper #18.

David G. Victor, Joshua C. House and Sarah Joy, 2005, "A Madisonian Approach to Climate Policy," Science, vol. 309, No. 5742, pp. 1820-1821.

David G. Victor and Lesley A. Coben, 2005, "A Herd Mentality in the Design of International Environmental Agreements?" Global Environmental Politics 5: 24-57.

Kal Raustiala and David G. Victor, 2004, "The Regime Complex for Plant Genetic Resources," International Organization, vol 58 (2), pp. 277-309.

Jari Liski, Alexander V. Korotkov, Christopher F.L. Prins, Timo Karjalainen, David G. Victor and Pekka E. Kauppi, 2003, "Increased Carbon Sink in Temperate and Boreal Forests," Climatic Change 61, pp. 89-99.

David G. Victor and Rebecca U. Weiner, 2003, "Will the Success of Trade Policy Undermine the World Trading System?," Les Cahiers d'économie et sociologie rurales, volume 68-69, pp. 150-165.

David G. Victor, Nebojša Nakicenovic, Nadejda Victor, 2001, "The Kyoto Protocol Emission Allocations: Windfall Surpluses for Russia and Ukraine," Climatic Change, vol. 49, pp. 263-277.

Andreas Schafer and David G. Victor, 2000, "The Future Mobility of the World Population: Results from a New Model Designed for Aggregated Long-term Projections," Transportation Research A, vol. 34, pp. 171-205.

David G. Victor and Gordon J. MacDonald, 1999, "A Model for Estimating Future Emissions of Sulfur Hexafluoride and Perfluorocarbons," Climatic Change, vol. 42, pp. 633-662.

Arnulf Grübler, Nebojša Nakicenovic, David G. Victor, 1999, "Dynamics of Energy Technologies and Global Change," Energy Policy, vol. 27, pp. 247-280.

Andreas Schafer and David G. Victor, 1999, "Global Passenger Travel: Implications for Carbon Dioxide Emissions," Energy-The International Journal, vol. 24, pp. 657-679.

Arnulf Grübler, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, David G. Victor, 1999, "Energy Technology and Global Change: Modeling Techniques Developed at IIASA," Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, vol. 24, 545-569.

David G. Victor, 1996, "The Early Operation and Effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol's Non-Compliance Procedure," Executive Report ER-96-2, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria.

Kal Raustiala and David G. Victor, 1996, "Biodiversity Since Rio: The Future of the Convention on Biological Diversity," Environment, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 16-20 & 37-45. (Additional commentary in vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 3-5.).

Jesse H. Ausubel, David G. Victor and Iddo K. Wernick, 1995, "The Environment Since 1970," Consequences, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 3-15.

David G. Victor, 1995, "Design Options for Article 13 of the Framework Convention on Climate Change: Lessons from the GATT Dispute Panel System," Executive Report ER-95-1, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

David G. Victor and Julian Salt, 1995, "Keeping the Climate Treaty Relevant," Nature, vol. 373, pp. 280-282.

David G. Victor and Julian Salt, 1994, "From Rio to Berlin: Managing Climate Change," Environment, vol. 36, no. 10, pp. 6-15 & 25-32. Updated and reprinted in: T.W. Giambelluca and A. Henderson-Sellers, eds., Climate Change, People and Policy: Developing Southern Hemisphere Perspectives (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996).

David M. Hart and David G. Victor, 1993, "Scientific Elites and the Making of U.S. Policy for Climate Change Research, 1957-1974," Social Studies of Science, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 643-680.

David G. Victor, 1992, "Policy and Institutional Dimension," in: N. Nakicenovic and A. Grübler, eds., Long-Term Strategies for Mitigating Global Warming: Towards New Earth, in special edition of Energy, 18(5), 401- 609.

Jesse H. Ausubel and David G. Victor, 1992, "Verification of International Environmental Agreements," Annual Review of Energy and Environment, vol. 17, pp. 1-43.

David G. Victor, 1991, "Leaking Methane from Natural Gas Vehicles: Implications for Transportation Policy in the Greenhouse Era," Climatic Change, vol. 20, pp. 113-141.

David G. Victor, 1991, "Limits of Market-based Strategies for Slowing Global Warming: The Case of Tradeable Permits," Policy Sciences, vol. 24, pp. 199-222.

David G. Victor, 1990, "Calculating Greenhouse Budgets," Nature, vol. 347, p. 431.

David G. Victor, 1990, "Liquid Hydrogen Aircraft and the Greenhouse Effect," International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, vol. 15, pp. 357-367.