Browsing by Subject "environmental agreements"

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  • Selenius, Emma (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change devised the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, but this agreement was to be just the starting phase in restricting emissions, and a more comprehensive agreement would come right after the first term of the Protocol. The Copenhagen Summit in December 2009 was to be the meeting where a new agreement would be adopted. However, preliminary negotiations leading up to the Summit revealed that consensus was very hard to reach. Despite these disagreements, the Copenhagen Summit was rallied to be the one where the world shows commitment to the cause and unites to fight climate change. By the time the Summit started, the gap between expectations and reality was enormous. The Summit was not a success. Developing countries were adamant that the main negotiating track had to be a second term for the Kyoto Protocol. The US President Barack Obama was under domestic pressure to make sure that the US only commits to an agreement that includes all the largest polluters. China was holding on to the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' and refused to agree to binding emission restrictions and international monitoring. The deadlock did not unravel until the Chair of the Summit gathered an informal negotiation group as a last minute plea. This high-level group drafted an Accord that was not based on the work of the UNFCCC working groups and presented it to the Plenary meeting on the last night of the Summit. Various developing countries announced immediately that they would not accept the Accord and so the Summit compromised to 'take note' of the Accord instead of adopting it. No binding agreement was reached. The aim of this Thesis is to examine the Copenhagen Summit as a failure and to discuss the most evident problems of the Summit in relation to theories of power, participation and compliance. All the subsidiary and working groups of the Summit are examined individually in order to get a comprehensive idea of the structure and the proceedings of the UNFCCC negotiating process. Major disagreements are discussed in relation to the structural level, and the dramatic events of the last days are examined in detail in order to get an idea of what finally sunk the possibility of a success. The way the Summit ended directs the Thesis towards a discussion about inequality and differentiated responsibilities in relation to participation and compliance in a policy field that could well be seen as a multi-level Prisoner’s Dilemma. As many of the developing countries pleaded to the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities', discussion on structural constraints of international environmental policy forms a large part of the analysis. Lukes’ three dimensions of power give a framework for the study of power at the institutional level. The inequality of the UNFCCC participants is explained through the historical development of the world order, using the narrative of the world-systems theory. The Thesis concludes with a discussion addressing the most evident problems of the UNFCCC institution and ends with a suggestion. Climate change is an issue of human security and therefore a full securitisation of climate change might enable the Security Council to get involved in the policy-making process. Although acknowledging the problem of democratic deficit in the Security Council, the Thesis proposes that by using an economy of esteem, the permanent members of the Security Council might feel obliged to use their authority to ensure that human security will not become threatened because of the effects of climate change. This would not be more democratic or transparent but might bring more results than the UNFCCC at its present form.