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TOP-DOWN VERSUS BOTTOM-UP APPROACHES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS: AN ANALYSIS

Rafael Leal-Arcas

The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy, 2011, vol. VI, issue 4, 7-52

Abstract: This paper argues that the Kyoto Protocol to the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change was doomed to face difficulties ab initio. It explains why this is the case by analyzing the Kyoto Protocol’s shortcomings and deficiencies. Moving the climate change agenda forward multilaterally among the 195 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is proving to be a serious challenge. The lack of progress in UNFCCC negotiations in recent years, especially the failure to obtain an international agreement on emissions limitations targets and timetables by all major developed and developing country emitters, has led many to question whether the UNFCCC is, in fact, the best and most effective forum for mobilising a global response to climate change. The current approach to negotiating a comprehensive, universal, and legally binding global agreement on climate change is unlikely to succeed. The paper concludes that no breakthroughs will take place regarding a global climate change agreement until there is more political maturity on the side of the US, and until rapidly emerging economies such as China and India indicate that they are ready to play their part in tackling the climate change challenge, since they are part of the solution. Large emitters of green house gas need to be involved for negotiations to come to a conclusion. Much progress is still needed until we reach an international agreement that covers all the world’s countries and that is strong enough to tackle climate change effectively and is equitable enough to gain the sympathy of all countries.

Date: 2011
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