2013-01-29 Forest Politics.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

Forest Politics January 29, 2013 Outline Explaining the political problem of deforestation through “public goods theory” Overview of Forest Politics:  1992 Rio Summit  Aftermath of Rio process  Neoliberalism as the foundation of international forest policy -forest politics as public goods theory: look at how forests are classified as public goods and how it impacts how we manage them -how forests have been managed internationally, how states come together/not come together to properly manage forests in modern era -forest politics come in fruition in an age of heightened neoliberalism -forest politics reflects that -try to contrast how neoliberalism and its focus on policy tools -forests are really important from an environmental standpoint -forests cover full 30 percent around the world -it’s shrinking at a rate of 0.2% per year -twice the size of Vermont lost every single year -majority of deforestation occur in developing world (SouthAmerica,Africa) -developed world has increased its total amounts of forests in the past few decades (after many centuries of decline and deforestation due to industrialization) -forests important: 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their direct livelihood -forests are important from the perspective of climate change -deforestation contributes up to 20% of total global GHG emissions -forests are important for storing and releasing carbon dioxide; they’re carbon sinks -story of deforestation is the story of climate change -deforestation contributes more to GHG emissions than any kind of transportation combined -there’s a continued lack of coordination and cooperation in managing forest Forests as Public Goods Public goods are those that benefit a broader public – a publicum. Public goods have two attributes: 1. Non-excludable 2. Non-rival in consumption -Public goods are things that actually benefit the broader public -not just reserved for an individual or small community -broader public refers to things in different levels -e.g. localized level or global level 1 -e.g. if we talk about broader, public and global terms: we can talk about common humanity -humanity becomes public good -forests are the global public good -everyone benefits from forests -they provide for a healthy climate – we depend on for life -they absorb carbon dioxide – one of the main contributors of greenhouse gas -bringing it down, store it -it’s in everyone’s interests to preserve them equally -public goods have two attributes -1. no one can be excluded from its benefits -2. if you consume the public good, it doesn’t affect what is left for others to consume as well -your absorption of public good doesn’t affect other people’s absorption of public good -e.g. if you absorb clean air, it doesn’t mean it’s less available for somebody else to absorb -a healthy forest, existing as such, in existence doesn’t mean people have to compete to enjoy the benefits -it’s such a huge regulator of climate that we reap its benefits -but if we talk about using them as resources, it’s a different story; for them to just exist, then it’s all people who benefit Forests as Public Goods  Forests are public goods.  Regulate the Earth’s climate (Carbon sinks)  Biological diversity (80% of terrestrial species)  Maintenance of diverse gene pool  Recreational/Spiritual uses  Public bads:  Also non-excludable, non-rival  E.g.Anthropogenic climate change, deforestation -forests serve as habitats for 80% of the world’s terrestrial species -they contribute to global public good of biodiversity -necessary to have habitats for adaptable ecosystems -at a more local level: forests are important for cultural and spiritual needs -local: dependent upon forests as well, not just global -local/indigenous rely on them: seen as part of consuming public goods -forests are important for regulating soil, water shed managementthermal fair uses of environment -when forests are degraded (deforestationespecially burned), then we have a problem -carbon dioxide is released, huge amounts of them are released to atmosphere, which contributes to the anthropogenic climate change (human-indiuced climate change) -this is a public bad -public bads are non-excludable -no one is going to escape the negative effects over time of deforestation 2 -no one is going to escape effects of climate change -non-rival: suffering of some people doesn’t mean their suffering will be reduced as well -latch-on effects -e.g. drying up of rivers, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, landslides, desertification – all of these occur due to deforestation Forests belong to the state…But provide global public goods -forests are important in global context -they are important in regulation of climate, regulation of global gene pool for 1.6 billion people that directly rely on forests for their livelihood -it’s a global public good -we all share benefits of the public good -in every law of the book, forests are the property of sovereign states -they are controlled by states -international law: forests are designated as the sovereign resources of the state -important aspect* -some countries, specifically tropic countries, have reiterated the manta that “the forests are ours” -”we control how they are used, we derive direct benefits from them” -e.g.Amazonian deforestation in Brazil -Brazil is one of the most assertive countries saying, ”no one else has right to tell us how to manage our tropical forests” – only Brazil has this right -Brazil’s rise – especially in growing economic power since 1960s, it’s dependent upon natural resources and exploitation/usage of it -it’s a crucial aspect to their economic development -used as private goods, not public goods Private Goods (rival, excludable)  Private Goods best realized through markets.  Outcome is the undersupply/non-supply of public goods  Degradation of public goods = “market failure” Forest politics attempt to manage the tension between conserving the public good attributes of forests and exploiting the private goods that forests, and forest land, can realize. -private goods are goods that could be bought and sold in marketplace -contrasts with public goods -unlike public goods, private goods are excludable and are rivalling in consumption -excludable: private goods are owned by someone or something (corporation or country); legally, you can prevent others from deriving benefits of it; you can prevent others from using it -forests provide private goods themselves (e.g. timber, berries, nuts, etc.)you can exclude other people from using it 3 -rival in consumption: as a private good, if you are contributing to deforestation and harvesting lumber and timber from the forests, you own it and lay claim to it - cutting down tree prevents other from using that tree that otherwise would have been there -reduce availability for others -in classic economics (neoliberal theory), how do we provide private goods? -the best way is the market -market move around goods that are rivalled and excludable – that’s how prices are determined -markets undersupply public goods or may not supply them at all -public goods are undersupplied because you can’t put a price on them – they are non- rival and non-excludable -markets sometimes contribute to overexploitation or over-harvesting of global goods -deforestation occurs -Deforestation occurring because of clamouring to derive private goods from the forest itself -clearing land to harvest timber or freeing land for alternative uses (e.g. grazing cattle to supply the demand for meat; or crops) -require land -e.g. mining can lead to deforestation -all pursuit of private gain from private good derives from public good -degradation of public goods leads to market failure -market failure: when normal routine of market (functioning of market) leads to bad allocation of resources -classical economic theory: a market will eventually lead to equitable allocation of resources that the market determines (supply and demand) -often times, it fails, when that allocation doesn’t work -whole idea of forest politics: trying to manage tension between conserving global public good of healthy forest and those public goods which are derived from that and exploiting private goods that come out of it (forest, land, etc.) -tension running throughout the negotiations -runs in global level, down to the lowest levels local levels Sustainable Forest Management “Maximize the private goods that forests provide, but only to the extent that this does not deplete forest-related public goods.”  How?  Creation of new environmental markets?  Intervention/Regulation by accountable authorities/ Global Convention on Forests? 4 -sustainable forest management, just like sustainable development, is the balance/middle-ground -SFM refers to maximization of the private goods that the forests provide but only do so to extent where it doesn’t compete public goods that the forests provide -try to derive benefits of both sides -some people believe we can achieve sustainability (balance between private and public goods) through environmental markets -create specific markets that create the environmental resources -> we’ll have better management -some people don’t buy in to that; markets are part of the problem and create this mess -need much tougher regulation and more state intervention -we need more accountable authorities – more democratic -states can be held more accountable -if states can’t do it, what about intergovernmental organizations? What about the UN? Maybe the UN is best equipped to manage globally this problem of private and public good? -Rio Summit 1992: clamouring amongst delegates, especially among NGO community for global convention (legal convention) -legal convention aimed to reduce deforestation, conserve forests, and achieve sustainability predominance -this would be a legally-binding framework that all states were legally bind by -how and why the Global Convention on Forests hasn’t occurred -gotten close, but seems like we’re more further away International Forest Politics – 1992 Rio Summit Rio Summit - important outcomes:  IFCCC  Convention on Biological Diversity BUT:  No convention on forests (not even negotiations). Why?  Divisions between developed (pro-convention) and developing countries (anti- convention)  The North vs. G77 -Rio Summit: important outcomes came about -1. IFCCC (pre-cursor to Kyoto) -2. Convention on Biological Diversity -both heavily and directly tied to forests and forest management -forests are huge carbon sinks – we rely on them to help mitigate climate change -also most important in maintaining biological diversity -then why isn’t there a third major outcome specifically on forests if forests are integral in both of these outcomes? -how about a third convention on forest management? -this hypothetical outcome would be about sustainability -during negotiations, this wasn’t going to happen -states didn’t negotiate on creating a Forest Convention 5 -no discussion about it -eventually what was agreed upon was the Forest Principles (legally non-binding): set of principles redefined on how states should manage Forests -states didn’t negotiate on forests at all -there’s a clear division during negotiation amongst different states: developed states (Canada, US, Europe, Japan) and developing countries (LatinAmerica,Asia, Africa) – clear demarcation between the North and the South -Global North pushing for Global Convention and Global South pushing hard against any kind of Forest Convention -G77 -a group of 77 countries from the Global South -developing world caucus in the UN -they organize and vote together; they negotiate together as a bloc -they do so to leverage power – together as voting bloc, it’s a formidable group (individually, they don’t have much power) Divisions during Rio Summit According to developed countries, sovereignty should be linked to: 1. Stewardship 2. Common Responsibility Forests a common heritage of mankind? But what about justice? -comes down to the question of sovereignty -countries pushing really hard for Forest Convention are doing so because they are attaching different things to concept of sovereignty -every state has control within own borders, but also there are responsibilities attached to sovereignty that countries cannot ignore -sovereignty should be linked to: -1. stewardship: countries with forests have to manage them better because all of humanity benefits from it -have to be good stewards of the forests -2. common responsibility: it’s not beholden to any one country to preserve forests, but common responsibility of all countries, all peoples preserve forests for everyone’s benefits -negotiators from the North say we should think of forests as a global common good – part of common heritage of mankind: this drew significant pushback from G77 -Malaysian government spoke on behalf of G77 -saying that the language of common heritage of mankind is “rich” coming from the Global North – resources like forests should be considered global good when decades before it wouldn’t have ever happened -Malaysian Prime Minister: North is trying to continue to impose its will on the global south through this type of language by trying to say that forests should not be held under 6 sovereign authority of each individual state – they are trying to preserve their power and dominance -G77 also using concepts of justice in their rationality -all of their proclamations comes into form of appeals to justice -equality, equity, responsibility are important; you can’t just ignore them; they are actually pivotal -G77 say the North bear the most responsibility – they are the ones who created most of the problems -they have to acknowledge and start to think of ways to repair that -South: we are deriving a lot of these private goods, but we are doing so on the demand coming from the North not just our poor economic standards, but us just trying to satisfy the demand coming from Northern markets – this gets complicated -idea of common but differentiated responsibility: key to climate change negotiations -every country has a responsibility here to manage environment (common responsibility), but not all on the same level of responsibility -industrialized countries have primary responsibility -G77’s contest of reparations -they bring up the issue of compensation -if you are asking us to scale back our exploitation of our sovereign resources, you need to come up with payment (in the form of compensation opportunity costs forgone) -if we can’t use the forests we want to and can’t exploit them, then we’re giving up money and riches -there’s an opportunity cost of preserving forests -we will not bear that cost – someone has to step up -using economic rationality here – utility maximizing terminology here -G77 says they cannot expect to continue to lose out to the north by preserving environment because of differentiated responsibilities -G77 asking for payments in variety of ways: technology transfer, greater financial assistance, etc. “If it is in the interests of the rich that we do not cut down our trees then they must compensate us for the loss of income” (Mahathir bin Mohammed, Malaysian Prime Minister, 1992) Failure of Rio Summit/Aftermath Two explanations: 1. Cognitive Theory: no agreement on core concepts to guide negotiations – differences between North and South over past/future responsibilities 2. Power Theory: States seek to preserve relative advantage over other states. Developing/Tropical states have leverage 7 1994: Canada and Malaysia initiate confidence-building measures (Intergovernmental Panel on Forests). By end of 1990s, important shifts: US now opposed to convention, Malaysia now in favour. -Rio force negotiations not concentrating just on forests, it also talks about other issues and broader concerns -a couple of ways to look at the failure of Rio Summit -1. Cognitive Theories of international relations: we need to focus on global shared ideas, shared beliefs, shared norms and what those ideas have on state action whether states agree or don’t agree on certain issues, they come down to ideas and beliefs -international agreement more likely if states have same beliefs or ideas in general -that’s how expectations emerge -e.g. G77 South bloc -they coalesce together because they have the same ideas and beliefs of the international system -over time
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