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CLIMATE NEGOTIATION

INTRODUCTION

Climate change negotiations can have more important consequences for incomes of poor countries than other negotiations such as the current WTO (World Trade Organization) Doha. In Copenhagen, developed and developing countries have the chance to strike a global deal, or at least set a framework agreement on emissions targets, environmental technology transfer, finance for adaptation to climate change and several other issues. All of these issues affect economic growth and well-being in poor countries.

HISTORY

June 1988: At the World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere in Toronto, politicians and scientists recommends reducing carbon dioxide emissions 20% by 2005.

December 1997: More than 150 countries sign the Kyoto Protocol, which binds 38 industrialized countries, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2%.

November 2000: The talks at the sixth Conference of the Parties Canada joins the U.S., Japan, and Australia in trying to exploit loopholes in Kyoto’s “flexibility” mechanisms.

March 2001: Two months after his inauguration, U.S. President George W. Bush announces his country’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol.

JUSTICE & EQUITY IN CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Equity and justice or ‘fairness’ (Beg et al., 2002), in climate change can be considered in terms of processes, which largely relate to emissions issues, and outcomes, that relate to impacts, vulnerability and adaptation (Rayner and Malone, 2000).
  • At the international scale, elements of the process dimensions of equity and justice are represented within the UNFCCC by the division of countries into those mainly industrialised (Annex 1) and those mainly developing (Annex 2).

UNFAIR BACKGROUND CONDITIONS

  • The primary justice issue in the present climate negotiations pertains to the distribution of emissions entitlements.
  • This is a bargaining problem with multiple players. In bargaining theory, players reach a voluntary agreement only when it makes every player better off (Pareto improvement) compared to the status quo (see Kverndokk, 1995).
  • The unfair background conditions are the end-products of historical and natural processes. Their influence on the rules of bargaining is the principle justice concern for developing countries.
  • The developed nations are the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions historically. Their emissions are now declining, whereas emissions from developing countries are rising.

CLIMATE CHANGE CONVENTION PROCESS

On 9 May 1992, the world’s governments adopted the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Five years later, on 11 December 1997, governments took a further step forwards and adopted the landmark Kyoto Protocol.

The Convention divides countries into two main groups which is Annex I, known as Annex I Parties, and those that are not, known as non-Annex I Parties.

All this coutries are the the industrialized countries who have historically contributed the most to climate change.

At COP 1 (Berlin, March/April 1995), Parties therefore launched a new round of talks to decide on stronger and more detailed commitments for industrialized countries.

CONFERENCES OF THE PARTIES

Since the UNFCCC entered into force, the parties have been meeting annually in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change, and beginning in the mid-1990s, to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. From 2005 the Conferences have met in conjunction with Meetings of Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (MOP), and parties to the Convention that are not parties to the Protocol can participate in Protocol-related meetings as observers.

REACTIONS

  • The US has been vocally against effective action on climate change due to its reliance upon fossil fuel for its economy. Being a producer of oil and coal, they feel more threatened by action on climate change. Europe, also is calling for stronger action. One reason it does so is that it currently imports its fossil fuels so has more incentive to reduce this dependency and seek out domestically grown alternatives.
  • The various island nations are already seeing a rise in sea levels. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), as well as the European Union (EU) therefore has pushed for ecological effectiveness.
  • OPEC and various industrialized countries are obviously concerned about their economic ramifications and are pushing forth more research into creating carbon “sinks” to soak up carbon dioxide emissions. Such groups are therefore seeking economic effectiveness.

THE EFFECT OF CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS

i) The Formation of G8

Group of Eight (G8) consist of country Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia.

Communiqué

At Gleneagles, G8 leaders signed a communiqué that include a political statement on the importance of climate change and an agreement to ‘act with resolve and urgency now’; an agreement that greenhouse gas emissions need to slow, peak and reverse and that G8 countries need to make ‘substantial cuts’ in emissions and agreement for the G8 to engage with the World Bank and other Multi- lateral Developments Banks to improve the harnessing of funding for clean technology in developing countries.

ii) On Africa (positive effects)

Africa gains 1% of accumulated GDP (Gross Domestic Product), (i.e around 2% of GDP in 2015) from strong emission reductions (e.g 80%-95% by 2050) in developed countries. Africa can gain 3% of accumulated GDP if in the future a backstop technology will be available and will be as competitive as carbon sources of energy. Environmental technological innovation is an important growth in Africa and is even more important if knowledge can spread towards poor regions.

CONCLUSION

The influence of G8 Summit outcomes on UNFCCC climate change policy developments can be traced back for three policy issues:

Political support for a future climate regime: strong political signals derived from two almost subsequently held G8 Summits (Gleneagles 2005 and Heiligendamm 2007).

Confidence –building efforts through informal engagement among major political actors from Annex I and NON-Annex Parries countries

Continuous and complimentary discussions on hard-core means of implementation: While technology transfer and innovations in finance have been original UNFCCC agenda items.

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