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POLSCI 2I03 (101)
Andrew Lui (26)
Lecture 18

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McMaster University
Political Science
Andrew Lui

Environment: Important topic in international relations and the future quality of life. Prices have gone up be it fuel, food, or other things. That has happened largely due to supply and demand, due to the scarcity of resources and economic advancement in countries like China and India. Copenhagen Climate Talks: China is just under the US in absolute emissions. But per capita the Chinese population is way larger than US. So it is a little fair to treat all countries equally, but it ignores the fact that China has 1.5 billion people. But because Canada has 1.5 million people which is significantly less than China and US, should we be allowed to pollute on the same level as the two countries? Majority says absolutely not. This has been a central point of debate in the international community. There is no thing enforcing about the Kyoto protocol. China is in a growing power, and it is increasing in international relations. The power of other countries, the US and the EU is decreasing. In many different measurements China’s power is increasing both in its economic output, and military might, and even in non- traditional sense of power, the soft power. China likes to call itself the leader of ‘Asian countries’ and protect its interests against development. Therefore, it has become a beckon that China says it wants to protect the developing countries and thus has pushed about the climate change talks regarding the use of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. The developing countries say that yes we are developing and climate change is a problem but it is largely there because of the rich countries. Intensity targets- decreasing emissions not only in terms per capita but have to tie it to the economy, therefore we should target intensity, so emissions per dollar of GDP. As certain countries develop their economies they will also develop new technologies or afford new technologies that will reduce the emissions but also change the nature of their economy. So they will no longer have to do things like produce steel, highly energy intensive. Despite the fact that china is producing a lot and projections show that it will increase their absolute emission but they are matching the US and EU eventually. the reason Stephen Harper was debating going to the Copenhagen Climate Talks was because it said China is getting it easy and producing more carbon emissions. However, in reality China is decreasing its carbon emissions. It instead humiliated US and Canada. Homer Dickson article: 3 ideal types of conflicts which can arise from severe environmental conflicts: 1. Typical simply scarcity conflicts in the sense we can think of it in the realist relative gain kind of way. It is basically can be of international level, can be things like scarcity of water. We have seen that various African countries around the Nile fight over water resources. One country upstream may pollute or irrigate the water. Resulting in the countries down -stream with no water or polluted water. This has caused diplomatic conflicts but also armed conflicts. Some have made the argument that even some things like oil and the increasing scarcity of oil may also be driving other conflicts. Like the great powers like US and China are looking at the world in geo-strategic way as to where are the future suppliers of energy and can we guarantee our access to them. 2. Conflicts arising in environmental deprivation, these are group conflicts. These are large scale conflicts due to environmental problems this has changed migration patterns, human geography, consumption patterns, production and where the wealth is. Essentially it is political driven, where the power lies. 3. Relative deprivation conflict: if there is relative deprivation, a crisis that leads to it that often leads to internal strike, social conflict, and in some cases civil war. Civil war that can spill over in to international conflict. We have seen examples of it in Darfur and Somalia, what caused the conflict in it. It was precipitated largely due to droughts, scarcity in food supplies. The nature of this type of deprivation privileges one society over another, it doesn’t benefit everyone. It says it will affect different grou
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