POLB81 – Lecture 11 – March 25 2013.
There are multiple problems in climate change. Groups have different perspectives on climate
change. Is it the emission from producing goods or consuming goods that matter? Etc.
International community has tried to govern climate change
Governing Global Climate Change
Attempted multilateral solutions. It’s an issue of inter global interdependence
Multilateral governance - Copenhagen 2009
Help states deal with problems that they can’t solve
What kind of problem is climate change?
o Cooperation – Climate change is a multilateral cooperation because causes and
effects are distributed globally. No government can handle climate change by
itself. Institutionalism tells us that we should use the tool of multilateral
cooperation to solve problems.
o Climate change is a problem of emission reductions. It’s about deciding how
much to cut, who will cut and how will it be paid for? How do we distribute
emission production? It’s all about deciding a global target, how much to cut,
how to distribute those cuts, who is going to do the cutting and how much? This
is the key since 1990.
o Climate governance is about Mitigation. Before 5 to 7 years ago, the problem of
mitigation. Last 5 – 7 years it was a problem of adaptation and mitigation. We
going to start adapting to climate change. (Questions: Who’s affected? Who’s
Multilateral negotiation in some way, are simple.
Building the Climate Change Regime
1980s and early 1990s is when climate change got on the international agenda. Climate
scientist said that carbon dioxide was going up too quickly and there needs to be
potential change in climate.
UN set up the IPCC which aggregate/put together the best science on climate change.
Every 4 or 5 years, they gather all the science info and summarize it as a foundation to
negotiating a treaty in the climate regime. We are trying to understand the scientific
The agenda phase was to put together the best scientific info to create a negotiation.
1990s was the first set of negotiations. The negotiation stage –
1. How we got UNFCCC which was decided in 1992. We needed to see the structure and
the interest around the table.
o Structure: Climate change has been done through universal negotiations.
Negotiations between all stakeholders which is everyone. From the very
beginning, the entire UN membership participates in UN negotiations. Most
environmental issues deal with specific states.
o Consensus rules – the goal is to seek consensus.
o Different interests. What interests are around the table? We need to think of
this according to negotiations – UNFCCC
o UNFCCC Debates:
North-North debates – Europe vs. the US. Europe wanted to have
binding emission cuts. US didn’t want binding emission cuts and wanted
climate stability. They have different interests because of their domestic
politics, there are more green parties in Europe, different level of fossil
fuel dependence, US is more dependent on fossil fuels than Europe.
1980s, Europe has switched their fuels to natural gas. There are a number
North-South Debates – have two very different idea of which is
important about emissions. Global south thought the cast emission are
the most important. Global North said emissions now are the most
important. South said that they needed to be able to develop. South is
unwilling to drop emissions because we’re still going, and it’s the North’s
fault for emissions. North says that the Global South’s population is going
to be affected and Global North’s emissions are not going as high as
yours. Global South said the Global North needs to go first, compensation
first and help us with adaptations.
South – South Debates- Large developing countries (ex. Africa, China) vs.
Oil producers (OPEC), Costal nations (small island nations), LDC –At least
3 blocks; OPEC (Oil Producers) – this is essential the nuclear option for
them, if they get a climate treaty, their entire economic market is done.
Small island/LCD- accentual threat, whipping them off the map politically
US won the UNFCCC. Agree to non binding target or goal on 1990s levels. There is no
emissions reduction. Everyone had to report what their greenhouse gases are.
North-South, there was a compromise – CBDR (Comprehension binding- this is a
common problem, we don’t have to act the same way which means differentiate
responsibility) LDC was ignored; OPEC was happy, north-first. It laid out the goal of stabilizing global
climate, we’re going to keep meeting annually to flesh out these goals and make
specific rules, which leads us to Kyoto Protocol
UN begins to create a protocol.