05 Oct 2012
Shaping the rules of the new climate regime: International cooperation should focus on meeting the objective of the Convention
1742 view(s)

The task for global governance in dealing with climate change is to focus on the interconnectedness between carbon dioxide emissions, standards of living and global ecological limits. The interdependence between countries makes the global commons, or carbon sinks, a shared economic resource as well as an unprecedented global environmental crisis, because economic growth worldwide increases the atmospheric concentration of energy-trapping gases, thereby amplifying the natural "greenhouse effect" that makes the Earth habitable.

There are three political problems related to capacity, responsibility and effort in shaping the new global rules.

First, with China and India beginning to influence the global agenda, a resolution of the differences has become more difficult because all the powerful countries recognize the strategic importance of access to limited global ecosystem services for economic growth. The issue is intensely complex because the way the global goal is defined and collective action shaped through a rule based approach will have differentiated implications for countries.

Second, the scale of emissions from different countries have in the past and are expected to grow in the future at different rates, and an assessment of countries’ responsibility will vary depending on the point in time and the manner at which it is assessed. For example, global emissions grew from 36 to 48 Gt. CO2 eq. from 1990 to 2010, with faster growth occurring in developing countries. However, over two-thirds of global emissions of carbon dioxide occurred in industrialized countries in the period after 1970, and they account for more than half the increase in global emissions since 2005. As countries take on new commitments there may not be a meeting of minds, as in the case of the trade negotiations, because a qualitative concept will have to be converted into criteria on how the effort will be shared between countries.

Third, as climate change is caused by the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere the effect of the current framework, shaped by developed countries based on annual GHG emissions cuts, would be to sanction cumulative increases in atmospheric GHG concentrations, and sharing the global carbon budget alone will ensure stabilization of concentration levels. Just as the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities shaped deliberations under the climate regime between 1992 – 2012 without coming to a common understanding, the meaning of the terms “under the Convention” and “applicable to all” will dominate the design of the new climate regime, and it is likely that there will again be no consensus in achieving the objective of the Convention.

For full text: http://indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/reports-documents/shaping-rules-new...