Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Getting Inertia and Effectiveness into Meeting the Climate Change Challenge

UNFCCC before and after Paris – what's necessary for an effective climate regime? (22 page pdf, Lukas Hermwille, Wolfgang Obergassel, Hermann E. Ott, Christiane Beuermann, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Nov. 26, 2015)

Today we review a paper that examines the history, goals and structure of the UN Framework for Global Climate Change (UNFGCCC) and its failure to date of limiting GHG emissions. Part of the reason for this failure was its narrow focus on GHG emissions and for the Kyoto Protocol, unlike most environmental agreements, limiting participation to a short list of major emitting, developed countries with no role for developing countries. What is called for is a climate team approach to which those countries with ambitious goals are allowed to lead and with carbon trading attracting others to join the team. Also of note is the need for non emission goals such as progress on poverty and social conditions to count as credits for developing countries. UNFGCC diagram  

Key Quotes:

“The UNFCCC as an outcome of the Rio process was the first prominent international treaty in which the precautionary principle was formally adopted and the climate change debate contributed greatly to establishing and diffusing the precautionary principle into a wide range of jurisdictions “

“Combating climate change needs transformative change of all major socio-economic systems globally …For these transformations, the UNFCCC process and its associated policy processes have a catalyst function to translate the physical challenge of global climate change into socio-economic systems around the globe.”

“The move away from Kyoto-style binding and collectively agreed QELROs towards a bottom-up approach in which countries make non-binding pledges may well reflect the inability to effectively draw on structures of domination, that is, defining, allocating, and exercising control over resources, at the international level. The consensus-based decision-making rules of UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol further aggravate this problem”

“Opening up the UNFCCC discourse to a broader perspective would probably be especially relevant for developing countries, which have, as the Convention recognizes, economic and social development and poverty eradication as first and overriding priorities.. To enhance the potential of the UNFCCC to provide shared meaning and legitimitation for political action, emission targets should therefore be complemented by other types of contributions.”

“For the UNFCCC, some have proposed that only countries with absolute caps on economy-wide, sectoral or jurisdictional emissions should be allowed to participate in international emissions trading mechanisms ..A variant for a club outside the UNFCCC could be an agreement among its members to not trade emission units with non-members. The larger the club, the more this would constitute an incentive for non-members to join”

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