When it comes to the problem of the global commons, the consequences are felt by everyone, but the question of responsibility comes into play. Is it the fault of everyone, and thus the world's responsibility to fix, or is it solely industrialized countries? When it comes to action, we have moments of lucidity or solidarity, but it is much easier to lose collective will than individual will, so we face a collective action problem, and the inability to work together to achieve public goods in a society divided by sovereign states, history and ideology. Some see our failure in Rio as the end of the multilateral effort to protect our biosphere, and that governments have given up on the planet.
The Paris agreement of 2015 is seen by some as an end to indifference, as it is driven by a recognition of real dangers and sociopolitical consequences. It aims to hold global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius, and even below 1.5 degrees Celsius, but it is voluntary and largely self-monitoring from the 188 participatory states. The treaty aims for peak emissions as soon as possible, but it will only take effect in 2020 and only then if it is ratified by 55% of the states. The bottom-up agreement through states may not be enough, as it cannot be done by governments, but rather by change in behavior of the population, who must accept paying green taes and the consequences of a low carbon economy, which we know is extremely difficult. LDC countries' needs are stressed in this treaty, and especially those vulnerable to climatic disasters, and this aims to transfer 100 billion pa to these countries, but the rich-poor divide has stalled agreements in the past, like the Doha agreement.
The history of environmental damage can be traced to Spanish pollution of the new world with biological agents. Then, the Industrial Revolution began, and local pollution resulted. Population growth concerns were raised, where Malthus proposed an automatic adjustment mechanism of disease and war, and that the system would become self-leveling once the population could no longer feed itself. Imperialism can be seen as being fueled by the desire for resource acquisition, and exploitation of minerals and forests of Africa and Asia. In 1892, the first ever environmental organization was founded in America, the Sierra Club, concerned with the expansion of industry and the railroad into nature, and signifying a gradual development of a consciousness. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty to preserve the region waned to keep it free of political competition, and 75% of the signatories are actually from the northern hemisphere, showing its over-involvement. A popular success, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 created an awareness of environmental issues with popular support in relation to pesticides on birds. International relations academic interest in the environment as an arena began in the sixties, and the first major oil spill occurred in Cornwall in 1967, the Torrey Canyon spill. Greenpeace was founded in 1969, and the world's dependence on the middle east for oil was realized after the 1973 oil crisis after war in the middle east. People in the west have come to rely on a certain standard of living that if everyone in the world desires the consequences of the energy and resource use will be very significant unless their are countervailing ways of being more protective of resource use. With the oil crisis, international governments realize that they need to begin to take action regarding the environment, concentrated attention with further disasters like Chernobyl in 1986. The UNEP United Nations Environmental Programme was founded in 1972, and in 1987 the Montreal Protocol on the ozone layer was passed. The protocol actually sticks, largely because there were substitutes for CFCs available in aerosols, from which rich countries could benefit from the sale of. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, was founded in 1988, but it is not an action organization like the EU or even the UN Security Council. It is rather merely a norm-setting organization for an epistemic community, trying to organize concessions and knowledge.
1992 marked the realization of governments that emissions like CO2 posed real dangers to the environment, at the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. However, rich countries like the US were reluctant to agree to anything, arguing that poor countries also needed to share some of the responsibility for the conditions. Skepticism existed over surprising scientific dissensus, saying that the science was wrong, that it was just normal temperature fluctuations, and that even if it wasn't, adjustment would result in too much economic damage and job loss. There is institutionalized short-termism built into our system, as well as institutionalized skepticism, which makes any action hard. The Kyoto Protocol Passed in 1997 on emissions targets was rendered ineffective when Bush withdrew from it in 2005. The Copenhagen Summit in 2009 was a huge failure, marked by the difficulties of the international system due to fear caused by US China backroom dealing. The Paris summit in 2015 was a frail success with 197 signatories, but it might prove ephemeral.
The GAIA model, developed by Lovelock in the 1960s, sees the world as a holistic interdependent system where an equilibrium needs to be maintained to keep the earth in stasis, like the salinity level of the ocean at 3.4%. Environmental change is doing so many dramatic and unstable alterations to the earth that there will be no way for the earth to maintain its homeostatic path. The idea of a holistic interdependent system was initially derided as mystical but it has gained more acceptance in recent years as the science becomes more accepted.
The key issue is not that modernization can be stopped, because it cannot be reversed. Increasing consumption and the idea that a rising tide floats all boats and Rawlsian theories of distributive justice hold that it is alright if there is some inequality in the world as long as action can be shown to benefit those at the bottom of the pie. The population increase varies at the world level, and finite resources as well ass limited land for everyone, due to a lack of livable space and an increasing amount of uninhabitable space as well, shows that there are very serious resource acquisition problems. the demographic transition models explains how populations go up rapidly with industrialization and modernization, then the death rate starts to fall and then the birth rate, and replacement rates become difficult. The population is increasing but at uneven rates and in places that are not modernized as compared to places that are. The main problems we are facing is a depletion of the ozone layer, which was actually bettered by the Montreal Protocol, but that was only due to rich states' interest in fixing emissions. Resource depletion of the commons is another issue we are facing. It may seem silly to worry about the extinction of a Bengal tiger or something, but in a Gaia view of the earth, the extinction of a small species is a symptom of the whole system being out of balance. Climate change is referred to as the greatest challenge of our era by Bill Clinton. AOSIS (Alliance of 44 Small Island States) says that even a 2 degree increase in temperature over the next century will have dramatic effects. Someone has to take responsibility to save these tiny states, and with our resource capacity we could, and they so clearly cannot. When this is pointed out, people will readily acknowledge the importance of doing something, but the reality of moving resources and transferring to a non-CO2 economy is very difficult, as seen in India and Greece. India hugely relies on coal and gas for production of its electricity and it lacks the expertise to switch to nuclear power, and Greece in its northern parts also relies on coal but does not have the money to export any other power, and nothing about this situation is likely to change in the near future.
No one coordinates the planet, and there are a variety of individual actors all pulling in different directions. Individuals are one actor, and companies are other actors. To a certain extent, they can be controlled and have bought in to environmental regulations with ETS emissions trading systems, and a market for carbon trading has been created that currently covers forty five percent of emissions, however the vouchers issued at the beginning of the program's conception were far too generous and lacked the leverage to push actors into acting. Many agreements that seem fine actually result in resistance because of conflict between economic actors in the system. For example, in pushing international airlines to take part in emissions regulations, regulations are faced with resistance from US and China, who have the most major airline carriers and argue that they should not be unfairly penalized. NGOs, IGOs, regions, towns, and states are also actors. We have been subjected to a benign propaganda that encourages us to take responsibility for our individual resource use.
Patchy progress has been made, as seen in the cleanup of the Mediterranean, the Thames, the Great Lakes, the saving of species like dolphins, tuna, birds, rhinos, and whales. Actions have been taken by various local groups, universities, communities, and localities making progress towards a low-carbon economy. Political systems and leadership are seen in the EU's emissions trading scheme that has been in place since 2005.
Three dimensions can be identified of difficulty. The first is on an epistemic level, relating to consensus over the legitimacy of climate change as an issue. Despite almost universal scientific consensus, therre are still significant doubters whose lack of support makes it impossible to change anything about the system. Then there are the question s of moral obligations: who should take responsibility for the problem, and to what extent? LDC countries also want to develop with ecologically unfriendly short cuts, arguing that since now-wealthy countries developed in ecologically unfriendly manners, why shouldn't they be allowed to? The question boils down to whether for regions like Africa or countries like India development trumps ecology. Furthermore, wealthy countries argue that producing in an ecologically friendly manner will raise their production costs so much so that they will be rendered uncompetitive in a global market, unless all continents join in. The last problem is the international system itself, due to multilevel problems faced by international organizations and domestic politics. Organizations like the G27, the organization of LDCs is split on climate change, as the CVF AOISIS plus bigger states like the Phillippines and Bangladesh demands a 1.5 degree C limit change, but all major industrializing states will need to reach agreement.
The most common form of greenouses gases produced are CO2 as a byproduct of burning coal and oil. Climate change skeptics dispute the magnitude of human induced environmental change. The IPCC, sponsored by the WMO and the UNEP estimates a rise of between 3.5 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Temperature changes in this range have devastating consequences for low lying areas, and little progress has been made in reducing CO2 emissions. the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, FCCC signed in 1997 and entered into force in 2005 establishes targets for reducing emissions by 7% below 1990 level for the US, 8% on EU and 6% for Canada and Japan. Canada has been forced to withdraw because of impending fines for exceeding quotas, and the US even failed to ratify the Protocol. The Copenhagen summit in 2009 intended to produce a binding summit that went further than the Kyoto Protocol, but leaders left mostly empt handed due to deadlock. Not all news is bad, however, as the treaties to reduce climate change have actually seemed to wrk. Climate change is an example of failure to achieve effective international cooperation. Another success is the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Convention signed 1979 to reduce sulfur and NO2, and was a success in reducing acid rain. 1994 region-wide convention on reducing pollution in the Danube was also successful. More citizens in developed countries are also now aware of environmental issues, and are altering their behavior accordingly. When it was first instituted, 20 million Americans celebrated earth day, and in 2010, 200 million did. Recognition, however, is not enough, as special interests block actions. In the absence of international authority, collective action problems beset the system. On matters of international cooperation with environmental issues, small groups of actors, with one power substantially larger than the others, and with iterative interactions, can work together, but distribution of costs and conflict over interests of the effects of these policies can hinder agreement. International institutions facilitate cooperation by enhancing information and verifying compliance. Good intentions are not enough, because when it comes to international cooperation, organizing all the states in the world to do something results in a free rider problem. We are operating in a Prisoners' Dilemma where everyone individually defects and thus results in a Pareto suboptimal outcome. When a small country doesn't do its bit to contribute, it isn't really felt overall, and in the absence of compliance from all small countries, especially large countries are not likely to comply, as seen with the US dropping out of the Kyoto Protocol.
Negative externalities are produced by GHG and CFC and CO2 emissions. The atmosphere is a public good, that is nonexcludable, and nonrival in consumption, because the use or consumption of it does not diminish the quantity of public goods available to others. When negative externalities are caused by use of a public good, independent decisions of independent actors lead to Pareto suboptimal results. The Kyoto Protocol serves to reduce the collective action problem resulting from the public good of the atmosphere because it effectively turns the atmosphere into no longer a global commons. By the institution of an ETS system, it effectively privatizes an otherwise public good, establishing specific targets for reducing CO2 and 5 other GHG emissions. Unfortunately, countries can simply choose not to participate, as both Canada and the US have dropped out. Europe put an ETS cap-and-trade system in place in 2005. Initial caps were set at their emissions levels from that year, so they did not have to start reducing immediately unless they wanted credits. Emissions cap levels were gradually reduced and now emissions levels are seven percent below what they were in 2005 and this may be reduced even further to twenty one percent by 2020. Nonetheless, emissions actually rose in the first 2 years of instituting cap and trade programs. Buying credits simply shifts pollution from one company to another, but buying credits from developing countries actually reduces emissions altogether. The privatization of emissions, allowing their buying and selling, allows for more efficient reallocation of resources and harnesses the profit motive in international cooperation, thus reducing the freeriding problem.
Common pool resources are those which are nonexclusive but rival in consumption, like fishing, whaling, and forestry industries. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established in 1946 with the goal of setting sustainable national quotas for the whaling industry, but due to pressure from governments, these quotas were a failure. It was not until 1982 that a complete ban on whaling was enacted Externalities create a disjuncture between individual interests and the collective welfare. Our individual actions seem to have a marginal effect, so despite the fact that we all value the environment, we free ride on the actions of others, so interactions of large numbers of people combine together to achieve a pareto suboptimal outcome.
The collective action problem can be overcome with having a smaller group, to eliminate the chance of the free-rider problem. The LRTAP was successful in dealing with acid rain, because it was a localized phenomenon occurring downwind from emissions producing coal plants. Emissions from the US fell on Canada, from England on Scandinavia, and the same problem effected countries in different regions, so the limited number of countries in each acid rain region was a factor in negotiations for the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. The LRTAP now has 51 members, and has succeeded in reducing sulfur emissions 50% from 1983. The Montreal Protocol of 1987 to reduce CFC emissions also focused only on a local problem, because the majority of emissions affected only 12 countries. GHG emissions are global, however, and so therefore very difficult to handle because not only is fossil fuel use deeply ingrained into economies of industrial countries, emissions are broadly dispersed. An alternative strategy is to use smaller country groups to fix environmental problems, relying on linkages and iterative actions. Also, joint products, where public goods are bundled with private goods for which actors are willing to pay, facilitates cooperation. For example, DuPont, a major producer of CFC chemicals in aerosols, also produced its alternatives, and was willing to participate in these actions because it benefited financially.
When actor groups vary in size or intensity, a privileged group emerges. The US bore all the costs for CFC reduction, because sa it produced thirty percent of all CFCs anyway, it was a privileged group who found it worth it to bear the costs that reduction brought. But with regard to GHG emissions, the US has been a laggard as it has not been as affected by emissions as some places, and it dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol because of what was seen as unfair cost distribution making developing countries not pay for anything.
Dirty industries do not pay the full costs of their production, as it produces negative externalities. This makes clear cutting cheaper than selective harvesting, as the logging companies do not themselves directly incur costs. Oil and auto industries oppose improvements to gas mileage because of the costs imposed by new technologies. Globalization also tightens constraints by bringing domestic producers into competition with foreign producers who may have more lax environmental regulations in their home countries and can thus produce more cheaply. A race to the bottom is hypothesized to be produced when companies attempt to undercut each other by producing more and more cheaply at the expense of the environment. The current balance of power also favors entrenched special interests, as a few highly powerful oil and gas industry groups can overcome the collective action problem and organize themselves politically to put pressure on politicians not to support policies that would damage their industries. Nascent green technology and energy companies lack this kind of clout.
The largest polluters are the developed countries, the EU and the US, who since 1950 have produced 70% of the world's emissions, and the US is the world's largest emitter of energy and user per capita. But in the future, the greatest emitters of pollutants will be developing countries, specifically China, who is heavily dependent on coal and is already leading the world in SO2 emissions and increasing its NO2 emissions. The easiest steps to reduce emissions are to do so in developing countries, rather than developed countries, as it is cheaper to do so. This is the logic behind the EU's cap and trade system, which allows EU countries to purchase emissions credits from developing countries, where it is cheaper to reduce emitting an equal amount of CO2. Similarly, it is also cheaper to maintain the current forests and biodiversity in developing countries than to reforest North America and attempt to restore damaged biodiversity in already corrupted areas. The issue then comes with the moral question of balancing quality of life versus quality of environment, and developing countries tend to value quality of life first. Environmental quality decreases with the process of industrialization, but when per capita income rises to an average of 19000 dollars, it begins to get better again. However, developed countries will not participate in international treaties unless they feel that developing countries will be forced to contribute adequately. This is behind the US's refusal to ratify the Copenhagen Treaty, because China and other developing countries were exempted from its emissions regulations, and contributed to the failure of the Copenhagen summit in 2009. The pledge of 100 billion dollars in aid to developing nations to assist in transitioning to a green economy is not likely to be honored.
The political fight over environmental regulation is about who should bear the costs. The most efficient system of ETS would be to allocate carbon credits to industries that needed the most through auction, letting governments generate interest on the sale, but at the insistence of the firms, credits were just given for free based on given emissions levels, not putting enough pressure on the firms, and moving reduction costs to the consumers. Paradoxically, the more we care about the environment, the more intense the political fight will be. Those who place more value on the future will be more likely to mobilize politically, and exert greater effort in promoting beneficial policies. Placing more value on the future leads to a delay in agreement, however, because parties will hold out in the hopes of extracting a better bargain. The result can often be stalemates, as countries will hold out because they feel they are getting a bad bargain. Also, the time horizons affect the outcomes, because since any agreement made affects actions long into the future, stakes are very high. Politicians are also concerned more with short-term actions, as they need to appeal to voters in the next elections. Furthermore, no one speaks for future generations in our political system, and we don't know what they will value more: consumption of yet more material goods, or the preservation of a scenic coastline (assuming incomes continue to rise). The clout of environmental TANs is also limited.
Governments provide the most effective arena for implementing any environmental legislative policies designed to ensure more efficient allocation of resources. The government is not a perfect solution, but a strong central government helps mitigate collective action problems. Governments can tax, legislate, and impose restrictions. Typically treaties do not describe how cuts are to be achieved; this is left to the governments themselves to work out. Unfortunately, cooperation in treaties is only voluntary, and institutions are only as strong as the interest in participation. International institutions can aid in cooperation by setting standards to which states can be held accountable and monitoring compliance. They can first establish a general framework, which can then be used by countries to negotiate more specific regulations that define unacceptable behavior and set limits. For example, the Vienna Convention in 1985 established a general framework for the protection of the ozone layer, which was then followed by more specific regulations involving progressively deeper reductions and a widening range of chemicals regulated. Ease of checking verification also results in behavior altering. This means that complete bans, which are easier to ascertain than mere reductions, are more effective than simply placing a limit on what can be used. This means that the ban on whaling from 1982 was more successful than its 1946 quotas. This was also seen in the 1954 international convention for preventing pollution of the seas, which first set out to limit dumping of crude oil by ships, which was at first entirely ignored. It was not until 1978, when regulations were put in place that all tankers must by 1985 have new, more expensive technology that entirely prevents crude oil from coming into contact with seawater, that compliance actually began, and by 1991 it was at 98%. Environmental TANs also verify compliance, as seen with Greenpeace chasing Japanese whaling ships. Environmental treaties often depend on self-reporting, which is only effective when subject to external verification.
The Vienna Convention is unusual among international treaties because it has an established set of rules for making decisions, some of which do not require national ratification, and others require a supermajority to add a new chemical to the list. The FCCC functions more like a normal climate control treaty, creating more a forum for ongoing discussion. Many agreements are frequently produced by consensus decision making and have an opt out clause for those nations which do not wish to participate. But still, initial agreements can act as a canalization mechanism for progress within the issue area, creating a forum for continuing diplomacy. Environmental TANs also act as a participant in public private partnerships, facilitating cooperations, and the Earth Summit had over 10000 accredited participants of NGOs, and FCCC institutionalizes participation of NGOs.
International agreements lack dispute mechanisms, and compliance cannot be enforced. The Kyoto Protocol is often cited as an exemplar of enforcement. It has a compliance committee with both a facilitative branch and an enforcement branch. The facilitative branch provides advice on how to comply with restrictions. The enforcement branch is incredibly limited. All it can do is request that another country make up the difference in failure to meet emissions, and that the penalized country at a later date make up 30% of what it otherwise should have done, or it can REQUEST that they suspend participation in the ETS carbon trading scheme. Both of these are merely requests, not actual enforcement. Most agreements simply refer disputing parties to mediation or the ICJ to which states are entitled under international law anyway.
Ozone depletion and climate change were discovered as problems at the same time, but the outcome of attempts to fix each has been markedly different. Clear benefits of reducing ozone depletion made people see that the gains of transitioning to other chemicals, while costing in the billions, far outweighed the costs of remaining with CFC emissions, which has saved trillions in skin cancer medical bills. Climate change, on the other hand, is much more expensive to deal with, for uncertain outcomes. Failing to curb GHG emissions is much cheaper, and it will mostly effect other countries. Fossil fuels are the lifeblood of the economies of powerful countries, and changing them is thwarted by politically motivated and powerful entrenched interests. When the prospective harm to the environment is sufficiently apparent, and clear and verifiable standards can be designed, and costs of alternative practices are small, countries can cooperate quickly and effectively, as seen with ozone depletion reduction, giving reason for cautious optimism.
The international climate regime has been created in the past 20 years, and despite the presence of the climate on the agendas of G8, UNSC, and the UNFCCC, change has still moved at a glacial pace since the Kyoto Protocol. Prime ministers and presidents attended the COPs, but treaties are easy to make and have resulted in little actual decisive action. The regime has moved backwards, and many analysts think that the international political system cannot achieve the necessary levels of cooperation. INGOs, NGOs, and TNAs have flowered in the absence of state action and have participated en masse in COPs for the UNFCCC, but only state authorities are in a position to mobilize the resources required to build capacity among less developed countries. The UN system is useful for creating norms and propagating ideas, but states governments must provide oversight to this change. Vogler emphasizes that there is no alternative to international cooperation and funding of bodies like the IPCC and research, and only cooperating governments are in a position to agree and impose such controls. States are not trapped in a global structure of capitalist accumulation, as they are capable of making changes, as seen in the Montreal Protocol restituting the stratospheric ozone layer. Within the international system, the questoin of development versus environment, or the demands for fairness that motivates developing countries, plays out in the UNFCCC and other arenas in a longterm north-south confrontation over economic development and environmental responsibility and justice. The UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol concentrate on territorial emissions, and exclude international aviation and sea transport. The fragmentation of the climate regime complex is not only due to issue framing but by the self-interested maneuvers of governments and organizational bureaucracy, in the global commons regime. As developing countries are predicted to become responsible for the majority of global emissions by the 2020s the principle of common bud differentiated responsibilities exempting G77 from making mandatory emissions reductions is under fire. The Kyoto Protocol has largely been replaced by a looser but more comprehensive and differentiated system of bottom up voluntary contributions, and in tech transfer and adaptation funding the history of the UNFCCC has tried to use development funding as a lever to promote G77 adherence to the regime, as with current adaptation measures and development of arrangements for reducing emissions.
The way the UNFCCC tries to lessen the effects of climate change and what science holds is necessary mean that it is not that effective. Climate change might in reality to Searle be a brute fact, but it is framed as what Goffman would term a social fact, that is defined in accordance with the principles of an organization which governs events, and policymaking and diplomacy are also social facts. The disjuncture between the scientific vision of anthropogenic climate change and the policy frame adopted by governments mean that this is not comparable to the situation where scientific and policy frames converged on a simple set of variables, as this is much more complex. The current frames propagated are the broadest possible, and favor solutions based on the free markets and private sector involvement. Recently, climate change has been framed in terms of security, but it should also be framed as a problem of consumption and population increase. Regimes in governing issue areas are typically intergovernmental, with closely coordinating bureaucracies. It can have some influence from NGOs, The framing of issues has been recognized by the Brundtland Commission's report in 1992 preceding the Rio Earth Summit, as it recognized the separtion of trade and environmental problems, as well as the need to accommodate architecture of IOs, have defined the issue. Unfortunately, this social definition is inconsistent with the brute scientific consensus. This makes international regimes only partial, resulting in fragmentation. The UNFCCC is a case study in fragmentation, as it has many different bodies that only see the problem partially.
1972 marked the appearance of climate change on the international agenda, with an amendment to the UNCHE or UN Conference on Human Environment proposing the establishment of a worldwide network that would monitor atmospheric trends to see if climatic change and other meteorological phenomena would result in changes. The preparatory commission seemed to recognize the problem. The Initial framing of the climate problem in the 1992 UNFCCC remained of central importance, seeing that the atmosphere should not be treated as a common hope as the sea was.
There is a clear preference in effectiveness for narrow framework agreements, such as the 1985 Vienna Convention and the followup 1987 Montreal Protocol which banned the production and trade of CFCs. Vogler says that it would have been better to phase out coal production and trade, or targeting government fuel subsidies and encouraging development of renewables rahter than targeting a range of sources of GFGs. However, this would result in a lot of money to compensate economies dependent on coal. Framing the issue as an environmental issue will not solve it, as its root causes and solution lie in the functioning of the energy market and the incentives for technological change within those markets. Burning hydrocarbons constitutes 80% of the global energy supply, and the efforts of governments to fulfill emissions reductions are harmed by factors such as the energy market fluctuations. This weakens the effectiveness of the ETS in the EU. The regime complex is also more oriented towards security of supply rather than towards sustainability. The support for renewable resource development is only in its infancy, as seen in the 2009 creation of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Association. Some attempts to foster international tech cooperation have been made, but have been presented as an alternative rather than as complementary to the Kyoto Protocol.
The UNFCCC incorporated the responsibility of developed northern countries to southern countries in the principles of CBDR-RC (common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities). The Kyoto Protocol enshrined this in its legally binding distinctions between Annex I countries and non-Annex I countries. The developed Annex I countries were required to achieve a collective 5.2% reduction against the 1990 baseline, and the CBDR-RC is still a contentious principle today, as seen in America's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol regulates GHG emissions on a territorial basis, and relies on national governments to put in place regulations and self-report. It regulates emissions of 6 GHGs, and seems to cover a significant amount of emissions, but gaps include HFCs, which by 2050 could equal the damage of the auto industry, and international aviation and shipping industry, which although only makes up a small percentage of GHG emissions is rising fast. Annex I countries were entreated to pursue reduction through the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The Kyoto Protocol includes domestic aviation emissions in its national targets, but not international. The IMO only agreed in 2012 to attempt to mitigate its emissions, and when the EU attempted to include international flights in its emissions targets because no governments in the ICAO were really taking any steps, backlash resulted. The US senate took actions to forbid US carriers from participating and China threatened Airbus. Air transport is a fuel inefficient way of transporting cargo, yet it is the fastest rising source of transport related GHG emissions. A further problem with regulating aviation that would result in a higher tax on fuel is that many developing nations depend on tourism that would decrease if plane tickets were more expensive, and many are small island nations that rely on air travel. The territorial approach to emissions is reflected in the assumptions of the sovereign state system, and governments have short run incentives to protect national interests as opposed to the future.
The environmental issues are framed as a kind of security issue. Seeing climate change as a threat multiplier is an excuse for pushing for military funding in the era of the peace dividend, and NATO has researched early warning indicators for environmental changes that might drive conflicts, such as desertification driving the conflict in Darfur. An official attempt to introduce climate change as a a security issue was made in 2007 at the UNSC. Many defense establishments linked environmental change to armed conflict, but another strain, called environmental security, supports environmental control as part fo the UNDP with a broader definition of human security. The US, Britain, France, and other developed countries have been arguing for expanding the remit of the UNSC to include climate change, under the strict interpretivist interpretation of the council's mandate relating to any threat of the peace. Russia and China and non-aligned and G77 states support that environmental security discourse was appropriate, rather than the alternative conflict perspective. Many G77 states were suspicions of the UNSC that they would use their power to evade reducing as the CBDR-RC principle required them to, and would renege on aid payments.
Human activities are altering the planet, and there is the most evident relationship between climate change and human population growth ever, as the rise of GHG curve tracks the population growth of the last 2 centuries, and the governments are conspicuously silent on questions of population, consumption, and climate change. There might be a demographic transition to protect our climate, but this might also happen. Countries with high rates of population growth suffer more than they are poor when they have climate change. Economic growth, income per capita, demographic structure changes are all significant variables in emissions. IPCC findings show that slowing population growth and reducing per capita CO2 emissions is necessary. Mentioning population stabilization and decrease is politically toxic, and as such there is no framing of it in international spheres. Garret Hardin describes lifeboat ethics: if we give aid to starving people in developing countries, we are merely compounding a population driven tragedy of the commons, and population control attempts raise human rights objects, such as sterilization programs or the one child policy which was recently repealed. Population control has thus been left out of the UN Millennium Development Goals and no framing of population is likely to emerge.
Associated patterns of consumption are more critical than population growth itself, and increasing globalization has resulted in more use of shipping and air freight, increasing emissions. Globalization results in a spatial disconnect between the location of consumption and the location of emissions at production. While the UK may report stabilized emissions, its increasing consumption contributes to the rising output of emissions in developing countries. This makes the UNFCCC and IPCC territorial division of responsibility of emissions particularly ineffective and irrational. Carbon trading, which increases energy prices, can result in carbon leakage, displacing intensive carbon industries offshore. Instead of a territorially based arrangement and fragmented architecture, we would address the sources/
Economic globalization that perpetuates this system is perpetuated by the GATT and the WTO, which are dedicated to trade expansion and economic growth and see that there is not necessarily a relationship between trade expansion and environmental degradation. The current framing of the climate problem, as seen in the 1995 Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO, holds that trade liberalization and environmental protection go hand-in-hand, which might not be the case. The UNFCCC also perpetuates this framing. At the same time, free trade can promote technology exchange, and the elimination of protectionist agricultural subsidies promotes more efficient allocation of farming, leading developing countries to be able to harness agricultural opportunities, increasing their income, and reducing their vulnerability to climate change. The WTO has tried to balance the concerns of environmental concern with its committee on Trade and Environment.
Geoengineering argues in the Promethean approach (Dryzek) that if we have caused climate change, then we can un-cause it. They have proposed CO2 removal and solar radiation management, and CCS.
The extent of institutional inertia is ingrained when we look at the attempts to maintain and adapt existing organizations rather than to innovate. The UNSC reflects the 1945 great power constellation, the G8 reflects the industrialized countries of 1976, the G20 is frozen at 1999, and the UNFCCC has crystallized CBDR-RC responsibilities that no longer reflect the capabilities of the developed and the developing countries. The emerging globalizing market and rising shipping maritime and aviation emissions have not been taken into account and updating is required. Organizational boundaries, however, can be blurred, as US and China have recently agreed to use the Montreal apparatus for HFC-GHG reductions. China and the G77 have an interest in sticking with the UNFCCC because of CBDR-RC. Attempts at alternatives to the Kyoto Protocol, such as the one proposed by the US at the APEC meeting, have formed at removes from the UNFCCC.
Both socieconomic analysis and scientific framing have remained consistent, with consensus on the anthropogenic causes of enhanced GHG emissions, and demographic change and social and economic development, and technological change, are all causes of it. However the international climate regime does not address them. The central economic and political life framing that stresses a lack of government interference and open market capitalism and the importance of rising levels of economic growth and individual consumption results in concerted action being impossible. Putting climate change on the agenda of the UN strikes LDCs as an attempt by rich countries as weaseling their way out of taking responsibility for emissions.
The UNFCCC is seen by Keohane and Victor as the core of the climate regime complex, as due to fragmentation it does not meet its standards as a central coordinating effect. The UNFCC's climate regime is part of an underlying north-south bargain first framed at Rio. The UNFCCC regime provides the legal framework for a commons regime, trying to govern spaces beyond direct sovereign jurisdiction: the global atmosphere, the oceans and deep seabed, Antarctica and outer space. The construction of a commons regime is an attempt to prevent a tragedy of the commons, protecting the ultimate public good of the integrity of the planetary atmosphere. A public authority is necessary to do this, according to Vogler, as the free market cannot do it alone and the climate problem is the greatest failure of the free market. This public authority does not exist in a decentralized system of sovereign states. Elinor Ostrom champions commons governance, individual actors voluntarily regulating a common resource, which has worked in local commons tragedies, but this may not apply at the global scale. Regimes should be used to analyze the UNFCCC, defined as "sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and decisionmaking procedures around which expectations converge in a given area of IR" according to Krasner. Regimes are said to shift when norms and principles shift, and over the past twenty years, the regime has evolved and includes a few new rules, regarding technology transfer. Questions of equity are still not resolved. The UNFCCC regime has been in dialogue with scientific findings about the resolutions of the climate regime, built on experience of the LRTAP and Vienna Convention. Scientific uncertainties remain about the role of oceans in GHG uptake and precise location and magnitude of climatic impacts.
Although the UNFCCC is attempting to attempt to adjust with new knowledge about the severity of climate change, and increase its standards proportionally, it ha not occurred. The apparent unwillingness or inability of the UNFCCC to adapt is a source of frustration in governments threatened by the climate change, and among environmental activists. The figure of 2 degrees C max rise in temperature was not formalized until the 2010 COP in Cancun, but for AOSIS, 2 degrees is too high, and they have proposed only 1.5 degrees. CBDR-RC is enshrined at the heart of this climate regime. When the UNFCCC was passed, countries were classified in ways according to CBDR-RC. OECD countries were called Annex 1, and were to take the lead in emissions reduction. Annex 1 is now an outdated classificatory category as nations like south korea, who are economic powerhouses are not included. No specific criteria for identifying developed and developing countries was passed, and developed countries were simply listed. The Convention text was finalized shortly before Rio in 1992, and when the UNFCCC took effect in 1994, the US was already complaining that developing countries should commit more. The phrase respective capabilities is often omitted, which developed countries feel entails a permanence to their obligations. The Kyoto Protocol then only mandated emissions by Annex 1 developed countries, not countries that were soon to rival the US in economic power, like China, which was a central reason why they objected to it in 2001, but it still entered into force in 2005. When the question of what to replace the Kyoto Protocol with in 2012 approached, it became obvious that developing countries would have to step up and contribute to emissions reductions for the regime to be effective as China passed the US as the leading emitter of CO2 in 2007.
Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, NAMAs, were rolled out in 2004 as part of a package deal involving a shared vision of comprehensive action in accordance with the CBDR-RC principle that acknowledged the importance of adaptation alongside nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country parties in the context of sustainable development. NAMAs were a controversial part of the Copenhagen Accord but were passed the following year at the Cancun COP. The Durban Platform, passed in 2011, recognizes the necessity to proceed towards a common outcome for all parties, but the division between developed countries, opposing CBDR mention, and G77 continuing to support it, still played out at the Doha COP in 2012. The principle of equity remains in question, as developing countries place industrialization and improving the quality of life higher than environmental regulations. In a Paris Agreement of 2015, the question of how sustainable development will be taken into account is important. The responsibility falls on developed countries to provide funds to developing countries for mitigation actions as a regime principle, and in preparation for the COP or in any deal struck for GHG emissions reduction, the obligation to provide new and additional financial resources is implicit.
The Kyoto Protocol was designed to reduce emissions overall by 5.2% against the 1990 baseline with differentiated national commitments. The Kyoto Protocol had QERLOs, Quantified Emissions Reductions/Limitations Objectives, and can thus be described as a top-down agreement with specific and binding goals for its developed annex members. It was criticized as being inadequate for GHG emissions reduction management, as it was a) only passed with an uphill struggle by the EU after the US opposed it in 2001, b) only took effect in 2005, and c) many countries simply failed to ratify it or later reneged on their commitments. It could be, however, a solid foundation upon which to build later mitigation treaties. Its architecture was groundbreaking as it provided market-based solutions for emissions regulations so that countries do not have to simply impose taxes or restrictions. Using the Kyoto system, carbon market systems have been created where parties can invest in emissions reductions in other countries and get credits. This encourages countries are already energy efficient to become even more efficient by investing elsewhere. The Kyoto market based solution is not without its flaws, however, as credits could be accrued when actual emissions are below annual targets and due to poor economic performance Russia accrued many credits. The Kyoto protocol expired without a replacement as the US would not subscribe to a topdown approach.
The Bali COP in 2007 was split into 2 tracks in order to prepare for the Copenhagen COP. One was designed to support the Kyoto Protocol, and the other track was designed to discuss other means of long-term cooperative action. The US participated in the latter. A new coalition, formed by Brazil, South Africa, China, and India, (BASIC) in conjunction with the US, favored nationally pledged reduction goals, a bottoms up approach, and wanted to establish a GCF (Global Climate Fund). The firmest action taken has been by the EU and countries that have undertaken quantified reduction commitments, or QERLOs, for a second commitment period, from 2013-20, but many original parties to the protocol no longer will continue. Non participating annex I countries have submitted pledges of varying levels of ambition which they say are non-binding. Post 2020 mitigation will be nationally determined, a bottoms up agreement rather than a Kyoto-esque top-down one, and a language of commitment should be replaced with a language of contribution. The Durban Compromise included phraseology indicating that the 2015 Paris COP should be a legal instrument, and have legal force. The emerging mechanism should bear some resemblance to the kind of pledge and review mechanism proposed by Japan.
Satisfactory Measuring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) is a prerequisite for any successful international regime. It has been developed extensively. Annex I parties submit biennial policy communications that since 2014 have been subject to international assessment, and developed countries who participate in the Kyoto protocol are subject to additional review, as well as the most rigorous and comprehensive international enforcing mechanism. This international mechanism is necessitated by the need to prevent fraud in the carbon market. Arguments between the north and the south regarding capacities and sovereignty occur over MRV, as they are afraid their sovereignty will be infringed upon. Adaptation, adjusting social, economic, and environmental systems to increasingly apparent climate change realities is increasingly recognized as important as well as mitigation, as recognized in the Bali COP 2007 when it was given equal weight to mitigation, but it will not be easy for LDCs to adapt, due to lack of resources.
It is the responsibility of developed countries to pay for any incurred costs in reporting and extra general responsibilities costs of developing countries, and developed countries need to build their capacities and transfer technologies. The responsibility for payment falls to Annex II countries, Annex I countries excluding Russia and Eastern European EIT. The World Bank initially handled funding, but was widely criticized for its lack of transparency, its limited disbursement of aid, and its targeting of mitigation over adaptation. The necessity of funding adaptation has become readily apparent, and the Cancun COP formalized 30 billion USD to begin the GCF. By 2014, 10.2 billion in funding had been acquired for the GCF, but there is no clear way it will achieve its goal of 100 billion USD by 2020, which might not even be enough anyway.
Within the UNFCCC framework a number of aid mechanisms have been established, such as technology transfer and advise committees. Developed countries could also focus on reducing emissions from deforestation and halting forest degradation. The UNFCCC forestry dimension is actually quite underdeveloped, and including forest sinks has been long discussed, but negotiation attempts were abandoned in the Kyoto Protocol. Monitoring difficulties would be encountered in ensuring forest integrity is maintained, not just preservation of carbon sinks, which could be achieved through cutting down old growth forests and planting quick growing commercial plantations. Deforestation accounts for 20% of GHG emissions, more than the transportation industry. REDD+, the UN's program for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, is designed to financially incentivize developing countries to preserve forestland and carbon sinks, and is supposed to be funded by the GCF, but this is subject to problems.
The supreme body of the UNFCCC is the COP, whose seat is at Bonn. The COP has an annual meeting that is highly politically visible and has a lot of GCS participation, attracting NGOs, activists, and commercial and scientific interests. Despite the attention the meetings themselves get, the Convention works year-round on attempting to procure new agreements. A number of significant subsidiary bodies are in existence, namely the Subsidiary body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, which use expert advice to provide tech advice.
The 2009 Copenhagen accord demonstrates limitations of the UNFCCC framework. It was only an accord because of an inability to reach consensus. Backroom dealing and exclusion of smaller members necessarily occurs, as drafting groups, informal meetings, and appointed positions have to have selective membership, and small Parties can afford to only send a handful of members and may not have experts that can contribute. However, this exclusion of smaller parties makes them less likely to want to contribute. The most egregious example of exclusion was seen in BASIC+US actions at Copenhagen COP 2009. More openness in negotiations will be necessary for smaller developing parties to be willing to contribute.
Climate gridlock results because barriers to action are too high and the public will not commit to costly issues willingly. The relatively rapid progress made after 1992 with the establishment of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol entailed an enshrinement of a north-south distinction, Annex I and non-Annex I, at the heart of the international climate regime, resulting in an inability to adapt. However, Vogel points to a shift in norms and principles since the Bali Action Plan of 2007 that indicates a regime shift. The bifurcation remains, as does the insistence of many nations that CBDR-RC should remain at the center of any potential agreement. The UNFCCC can be credited with providing a framework for an international reporting effort, and the Kyoto Protocol, while ossified, provided an innovative architecture for ETS, as well as a compliance mechanism. Other initiatives, including forestry protection and technology transfer funding mechanisms have evolved at a snail's pace. A 2020 agreement will look nothing like the Kyoto Protocol, and will have a more loose, bottoms-up approach to collective mitigations substituting contributions for commitments.
The UNFCCC is widely viewed as useless, and the gathering itself results in a lot of pollution in people flying from around the world to get to the host city. The Kyoto Protocol was drafted quickly, but took 7 years to implement, and its replacement in 2012 does not extend to any large emitters beyond the EU and Australia. INDCs are the new practice of the UNFCCC, individually nationally determined contributions, a retreat from the top-down commitments mandated by the Kyoto Protocol. Evaluating the successes and failures of the climate regime is not self evident, as countries might participate in rhetoric engagements by reaping short-term political benefits of some form of agreement, as participation's symbolic content is reputation enhancement.
In evaluating the effectiveness of a regime, we can look at environmental effectiveness, feasibility on an institutional level, distributional impacts, and aggregate economic performance. We need to consider where authority is located, and in the current system of national sovereignty, anarchy prevents internationalizing norms and rules. Underdahl's Law of the Least Ambitious Program states that because any decision requires consensus, the lowest common denominator one will be adopted. Transferring authority can be demonstrated however by international EU politics of environmental decision-making. Regimes are designed to have some effect on behavior, and continued participation in a regime can alter perceptions and government behavior to allow for institutionalized learning process.
The UNFCCC has a membership of 196 countries, and the IPCC has provided an unprecedented international research effort. The UNFCCC might not have responded to commitments, but has implemented national communications reviews successfully, and although LDCs have major capacity limitation challenges, they have gained much expertise from participation. The Kyoto Protocol's proponents argue that its real long-term significance is the establishment of novel legal and institutional arrangements, as well as providing a basis of experience and rules for creating global carbon markets, and enforcement mechanisms. The Kyoto Protocol was directly responsible for the implementation of the EU's ETS, and it says that it provides a foundation for future action, regardless of how meager its achievements have been.
The Kyoto Protocol, making use of top-down commitment and timetabling through QERLOs, will be replaced by a much looser, more voluntary bottoms-up approach of individually set contributions, as seen in the 2009 Copenhagen Accords. This has been criticized as creating a zombie regime, and is seen as a retreat away from meaningful global agreement. The dangers in pursuing a regime of climate governance in the UNFCCC is that effective rules will be traded off for comprehensive agreement. Vogel claims parties need to become more ambitious, and he says that a pledge and review mechanism needed to ensure transparency and efficacy would be seen as too intrusive. Adaptation represents huge costs for the international community. National movements have increasingly regulated GHGs, from 45% of emissions in 2007 to 67% in 2012, as well as an increase in investment in renewable sources of energy. Although positive, these changes are nowhere near what is needed to achieve stable GHG emissions levels.
Ultimately, evaluating the success of a regime comes down to whether it actually accomplishes anything in terms of solving environmental problems. The Montreal Protocol is a lead example of effectiveness, successfully stabilizing ozone layer issues by observable reductions in CFC and HCFC emissions, and it has also noticeably reduced GHG emissions, to the tune of 10 gt of CO2 per year, reductions 5 times greater than the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period. However, emissions of HFCs, replacements of CFCs in production, contribute to climate change, and threaten to undo all the benefits that the Montreal Protocol has gained. China and America made an agreement in 2013 to use the Montreal Protocol framework to reduce HFC emissions, which is beyond the remit of the UNFCCC. The emissions gap is the difference between where our emissions need to be to achieve a least-cost pathway to stabilization at a threshold of 2 degrees Celsius and our actual emissions. This gap is too large, and is only likely to get larger. The post-2020 climate regime architecture likely to be finalized at the end of 2015 is not sufficient to meet the least-cost pathway and not breach the 2 degree increase threshold, but given technological improvements and outside commitments and removing fuel subsidies, and other additional party actions, the emissions gap could still be closed.
The climate problem has been framed in a similar way to the Montreal Protocol but the key difference lies in that whereas the Montreal Protocol resulted in the implementation of bans and limitations on trading in products that emitted CFCs, no such similar ban on for example coal was enacted with the UNFCCC. The system itself, dedicated to economic expansion, makes it difficult to accomplish anything. Ultimately, climate change is defined not based on scientific consensus but on governmental acceptability, which is influenced by vested interests. The framing of the issue has also resulted in fragmentation of the issue areas, making governance or regulations difficult due to an increasingly crowded regime complex and distraction from the central UNFCCC regime targets. States also place short-term goals ahead of long-term ones, and the desire for economic expansion in developing countries outweighs the desire to legislate, and domestic politics including congressional gridlock prevent anything legitimate from being attained.
Fossil fuels provide 80% of energy and contribute 60% of GHG emissions. To obviate total climate disaster, the production and use of energy will have to totally be changed within a generation. Oil in particular, and other resources, are concentrated in unfriendly areas, and energy security will require changes. Energy efficiency needs to be increased, and governments and energy planners must figure out a resolution between climate security and energy security concerns. Supply-side solutions will only work if supplemented by increased energy efficiency.
Natural gas would be a cheap substitute for coal that would significantly cut emissions but it would introduce an import dependency, raising security concerns. If a small price on carbon emissions is imposed, then a switch from coal to natural gas will be seen, as in Europe under the ETS. The high percentage of natural gas Europe has to import, 44%, makes it dependent on its sources, Russia and Algeria. Russia can exert considerable leverage on Europe because of the inflexible pipelines and Europe's need for their gas, which constrains EU's decision-making, but Russia's dependency on Europe for natural gas revenue also constrains how far it can threaten them. The US only imports 20% of its natural gas, and new technology has made extraction of natural gas from shale economically feasible and has allayed security concerns due to a revision upwards of the US's natural gas supply, whereas previously the US was wary of relying on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) because it was highly concentrated and the markets are not as liquid as the gas. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) would reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles, but its benefits are questionable because if it leaked it would emit methane, and adjustment costs at filling stations are quite high.
Nuclear power is the only near-zero-carbon source of electricity deployed on a large scale apart from hydroelectric power, and business-as-usual predictions see its percentage of electricity produced rising. It poses a security risk, however, because of the potential for developing a nuclear arsenal, and its potential as a target for terrorist attacks or taking materials to make their own devices. Sabotage of the nuclear power plants themselves poses a much smaller risk, however, than the pools where nuclear fuel is left to cool for years before being transferred elsewhere for storage. Nuclear power can be substituted for natural gas, which would provide a security benefit to Europe. Almost all commercial reactors however rely on a nonrenewable element, uranium, as fuel, and supplies of uranium would only last about 80 years, less if production is ramped up, so nuclear power does not provide adequate energy security. If a new model of generator were implemented that could use plutonium to exploit a larger fraction of the uranium, this would allay energy security concerns but increase state security concerns, because a proliferation of processing techniques heightens the risk of nuclear weapons due to the spread of separated plutonium.
The use of renewable energy resources is free from fuel supply constraints and produces little to no GHG emissions, as well as being useful in all energy-related sectors: heating, transportation, electricity, and industry. Bettering of technology is also driving its costs down. However, an intermittent supply could degrade the quality of energy, and a successful switching to renewables would require a rapid diffusion of technology and a development of new infrastructure, which comes with its own concerns. Just as fuel dependencies are geographical, technology dependencies could arise where one specific region produces a needed piece of equipment or material. Infrastructure related security concerns are also possible, as the necessary structures needed to get solar power to Europe from North Africa could be vulnerable to attack. Biofuels are problematic from a vantage of both energy security and climate security, because it requires large quantities of natural gas, and their high prices make them not economically efficient. Their production also emits a lot of CO2 and the land that is used to produce them massively overwhelms any benefit their production raises. The shift in land use also displaces food production, which could lead to widespread suffering in the developing world due to higher food prices. 2nd generation biofuels, made of waste matter or crops grown on marginal land, have not been proven on a large scale but could reduce the need for energy in biofuel production and remove the indirect emissions and food vs fuel problem. Electrifying the transport industry may help to an extent but will not work for heavy transport vehicles, like boats and aircrafts, which are integral to the shipping industry.
Coal currently produces 28% of all GHG emissions, but it is cheap and widely accessible, particularly in developing countries like China and India, where expanding industry and demand for fuel sources has led to a predicted rise in coal consumption. Carbon capture and storage, if correctly implemented, could reduce by 80-90% CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants. The gas would be stored in aquifers or other geological formations. Technology necessary to implement this on a large scale is unfortunately a long way off, and costs of implementation are quite high, but the IPCC says that it is likely to decrease. CCS power plats would use more energy than a plant of the same capacity without CCS, raising the price of energy, and decrease attractiveness of CCS in countries concerned about supply. CCS is not necessarily an energy-efficient process.
Conventional oil resources may go underexploited due to uncertainty over prices and reduce demand for oil, but demand growth is not a problem. However, the IEA reports that output of oil is declining at an increasing rate. Continuing to invest in oil has its drawbacks, however, as if all conventional oil reserves were used, we would be well over the 70 gt of CO2 that could be emitted by 2100 for us to have a 50-50 chance of not exceeding the 2 degrees C temperature increase. Unconventional fuels like oil sands and oil shale, as well as CTL (Coal to Liquids) appear to offer energy security. All, however, generate more GHG emissions than conventional oil, and are energy intensive to produce. Exploiting oil sands would not be economically efficient until oil was priced at 60-70 dollars a barrel, and oil shale resources are also expensive to extract. CTL potential is limited by water availability and the high up front capital needed for a production facility. To compare the effects of oil sands, oil shale, and CTL, we can use a well-to-wheels basis. Oil sands produce about 20% more emissions than conventional oil, but CTL is roughly twice. Oil shale emissions are much harder to predict, but are likely between the two.
Some say that internalizing externalities through carbon and gas pricing will balance energy and climate security as the market will then sort out which activities were still worthwhile. Market mechanisms, however, cannot solve the decisions policy makers must make on a day-to-day basis of the approval of energy facilities or investment in R&D. Security concerns cannot be internalized through pricing schemes, as taxing uranium would not really internalize the security consequences of nuclear proliferation. In most countries, both developing and developed, security of energy supply trumps security of climate, because of short-term focuses of politics and development goals. The growth in global demand cannot be met sustainably from exploiting conventional and unconventional resources, so a global effort to cut emissions is necessary, but there is no simple formula for accomplishing this. Energy and security concerns need to be coordinated in both national and international politics, so the European Commission's bifurcated structure with separate committees for energy and environment does not seem to be the smartest way to handle this. In my opinion, Europe is leading the way in climate change policies, though, and this is despite the fact that America is apparently coordinating better.
We knew that climate change was occurring in the 1950s, and yet didn't become concerned enough about it until the 1980s. The framework we have in place began with the efforts to solve the ozone layer problem in the 1970s, and it is not applicable to the widespread and complex nature of the climate change problem. The nature of climate change is that CO2 has a long atmospheric life, mingles around the world, and thus requires a lot of international coordination. Global warming is not an environmental, but an economic problem, and the environmental diplomacy is not sufficient for coordinating economic policy. The engineer's myth optimistically places too much emphasis on inventing new technology, believing that if people just new about options they would implement them. This ignores the reality of policy and the delay between invention and implementation.
Since the 19th century, it has been known how tiny quantities of GHG can alter the climate. These gases are transparent to sunlight, letting it pass through the atmosphere to warm the planet. The planet then radiates back infared radiation, which is trapped by the GHGs in what is known as the greenhouse effect. When there are more GHGs, more IR is trapped, so the planet gets warmer. Global warming is the result, but the effects of this process also include changed crop growing seasons, rain, and current troubles. It is difficult to settle on terminology that is compact and accurate. The most common of the warming gases is CO2, and it is so small that each individual molecule doesn't do much. Other GHGs that people emit, dangerous industrial gases, cause barely half the warming that CO2 does.
It wasn't until a century after GHG physics was worked out that we realized that human emissions might change the global climate. The first calculation in the 1930s did not take into account the compounded effect from industrial emissions, and scientists in the 1950s assumed that all the extra CO2 emissions would just be stored safely in the oceans, a reliable carbon sink. The monitoring equipment on ships and the censors were costly to build and operate. The government after the 2nd world war was now much more involved in sponsoring scientific research, and after the end of the war, the scientists continued to procure funding to research water, heat and chemical global cycles actually functioned, which required a large fleet of shis and airplanes that only the government could afford to provide. Nations with an interest in preserving open ocean and arctic access were the ones providing the funding for this. The IGY, International Geophysical Year, involved a Russia-US partnership from 1957-8, luckily coinciding with peak solar activity, and provided ships and planes to scan oceans and atmospheres The IGY was the first scientific program intended to use satellites. The governmental interests in funding this research were not just scientific but coincided with interests over who could control outer space.
The IGY began the longest continuous monitoring of CO2 emissions and was the first systematic measurement of GHG emissions. The Revelle factor, measuring how much CO2 is taken up by the oceans, was proved by the Keeling Curve that more went into the atmosphere than was previously thought, and it became apparent that human emissions of CO2 were causing atmospheric warming through burning fossil fuels. Governments were concerned about how nuclear waste and fallout would move in the atmosphere and oceans, and by the end of the 1950s, concerns about radiation in breast milk were coupled with a ban on atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, the first sign of atmosphere legislation. The 1960s and 1970s saw a publication of new environmental studies, and DDT was banned in the 1960s due to worries about bird population. In 1970s, fears over fleets of new supersonic jet contrails leading to cooling led to the first integrated climate impact study that looked at everything in the chain of cause and effect from demand down to emissions, known as the CIAP, the Climate Impact Assessment Program. The chief pollutants we look at, GHGs all have in common a long life cycle, meaning that emissions processes are slow to reverse, and they are widely dispersed. The precautionary principle incorporated in environmental law is in practice useless, because it doesn't advise how much caution should be taken, or take into account what each society values.
In 1974, a paper by Rowland and Molina accidentally discovered that CFCs used in spray cans were depleting the ozone layer. CFCs were stable and so safe when used around humans, but their stability meant that they would linger a long time in the atmosphere, and when they drifted up to the upper atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation would finally break them apart and a nasty chain reaction would occur depleting the ozone layer. The ozone layer depletion was a first test of a global atmospheric policy. People were initially worried about whether GHG emissions would result in warming or cooling, as sulfur emissions would form reflective clouds, preventing sun's light from getting in and making it cooler, but in 1987 Hansen definitively proved things were getting warmer and people stopped worrying about global cooling.
CO2 is very difficult to regulate because it has a long lifetime, around a century, and its removal processes can take thousands of years. In order to stop and reverse the CO2 buildup, we would need to have deep emissions cuts: 50% by 2050 and even deeper in decades beyond. These cuts might not be feasible in an economy powered by fossil fuels, and would require high costs as well as an expensive and slow-to-implement change in energy infrastructure. Inconsistencies in time horizons between costs and benefits also make emissions regulations difficult to implement. Costs of doing so are immediate, but benefits are uncertain, due to the difficulty of predicting effects and the never before observed rate of change, and a long way off. Politics favors implementations with immediate short-term benefits and shifting costs to the future, so regulations are the exact opposite of easily enacted politics. Because CO2 diffuses if it lingers in the air for more than 1 or 2 years, it can be regulated anywhere, which provides an opportunity for finding the cheapest place for regulation, but opens this up into the collective action problem. Global climate change requires coordination between countries with radically different interests and is the hardest problem we will try to solve--nuclear issues have immediate, predictable consequences, unlike emissions.
Searching for a scientific consensus based on the belief that regulations will follow a unanimously-agree-upon limit is a waste of investment, as policy does not require or even listen to consensus. Ozone regulation was enacted without scientific consensus, and although it was not very expensive, it made a significant dent in emissions. The hole over the Antarctic came as a surprise in 1985, because, and especially at the onset of spring, it should've had the highest levels of ozone, and satellites were programmed to reject low readings. When the Montreal Protocol was passed in 1987, scientific dissensus was widest over the potential causes, and planes did not start flying into the hole to unravel the mystery until after the passage of the Protocol. And even the safe limit proposed by scientists was ignored because it was inconvenient. The 50% reduction mandated by the Montreal Protocol was dictated by underlying interests and capabilities, and even then only passed because of industrial support and the relatively costless adjustment procedures. International coordination in this case worked because it aligned with national interests, and industrialized countries created a fund that paid for essentially all costs faced by developing countries in regulating ozone policies. Thus, a consensus on whether or not global warming is anthropogenic is not needed to regulate climate change. The insistence on 2 degrees as a threshold was not even put in at the UNFCCC, lowering max emissions levels from 550 ppm to 450 ppm, and now some have proposed that 350 ppm is needed, but we have already passed into the low 400s, implying that that line may have been breached. The setting of long-term regulatory goals has consumed a lot of attention, and the EU has put the 350 ppm, or 1.5 degrees Celsius increase, at the center of its policies.
A divorce in climate regulation between how the problem is framed, as a scientific one, does not reflect how regulations are actually implemented. Scientific goals are not adapted into policies that work backwards into changing human behavior. In each country, varied perceptions about climate change as well as high costs to implementing regulations make achieving a consensus highly unlikely. Real management will reflect tradeoffs between emissions control and investing in adaptation. Ozone regulation had little heated debate around implementation, because it was cheap, and perceptions were not so varied, making it not a good framework for managing the climate problem. The IPCC stresses the need for scientific consensus in evaluating impacts of climate change, but every report it has put out on the effects of global warming, a term in use since 1975, even in predicting effects in Antarctic warming, mass extinctions, and sudden current shifts, is plagued by uncertainty inherent in these risks. Independent expert calculation will not guide policy implementation. Instead, it must come from what countries are willing and able to implement.
Climate change has detectable impacts in absolutely every region of the world, and we may face godlike questions about which ecosystem or species we choose to preserve. But framing climate change as an environmental problem does not give us the adequate toolkit needed to address it. Environmental problems are usually handled through relatively simple regulatory policies and technological shifts, which are usually handled in agencies peripheral to where climate change needs to be addressed, the energy sector. Obtaining and using energy will have to be radically transformed in a slow, costly, and difficult process that cannot be handled through environmental framing.
Universalism also hinders international treaties, as it holds that fairness is important in that agreements should include all players so they are thus more representative and fair. Victor claims that fairness is not required for policies to be effective. While being unfair might come at the price of legitimacy, the more voices are included, the more prone the agreement is to gridlock so exclusion is necessary, and more effective institutions exclude people automatically, like the UNSC, the G8, GATT, and the IMF. Environmental diplomacy's insistence on universalism results in inaction, because it includes leaders and laggards and gives a voice to those who could directly oppose emissions regulations. Although universalism helps avoid leakage, whereby tight regulations on industrial emissions in one area result in industry moving to areas with lower regulations for cheaper costs, forcing every country in a race to the bottom to reduce regulations and production costs, fears of leakage appear to be overblown. As regulations get more demanding, each country will bring to the table its own specific interests and capacities, so the more voices there are, the more specifics one has to take into account. Thus international environmental diplomacy does not seem to be the correct framework for dealing with climate change. Rather, international economic policy coordination is recommended by Victor.
The engineers' myth is based on the unfounded optimism that imaginative new technologies will quickly be able to solve the CO2 problem, but innovation does not lead directly to implementation. Engineering of new technology is incredibly important to solutions, and the new working together of scientists, engineers, economists, and politicians to draft politically sustainable schemes shows that governments are getting serious about climate change, but engineering optimism is naive about how long it actually takes for technology to be tested and implemented. In the past, simple technological solutions were used to regulate the environment, such as a straightforward ban on coal fireplaces in the 1950s to clean the city of coal. In the 1970s, industrialized nations' regulations of air pollution relied on technological mandates, but this was because pollution sources were easy to identify and technological mandates did not alter underlying industrial technology, so prompt results were possible. For example, catalytic converters were forced to be installed, forcing the removal of lead from gas, but these took about a decade to diffuse into the market. The self-reinforcing process of diffusion and improvement and decreasing prices of a newly imagined technology is wrong, and invention and forced use do not set the pace for technology change. The difficulty lies in deployment, which requires viable business models and a slow subtle process of profound social change in economic development. This requires unprecedented cooperation between firms and policy makers across multiple industries, which is why massive technological transformations mostly fail, as seen in Google's failed investments in renewable energy due to the idea that if innovations in RE were bold enough global warming would just disappear forever, but the R&D process was stopped prematurely in 2011. The engineer's myth relies on the learning curve theory, a seductive idea that if governments or corporations simply pour money into R&D of RE and guarantee extant markets, then diffusion will become a self-perpetuating process accompanied by lowering costs of technology. This, however, is based on a biased historical record that is written by the winners keen to celebrate successes of important technologies.
Policy making will need to contend with the mistake in focus on scientific consensus, the mistake in framing climate change as an environmental rather than an economic problem, and the engineers' myth that innovation will bring with it successful implementation.
Normal risk management is not sufficient in dealing with the interdependencies that come with climate change. Climate change, responding to pressures instituted by industrialization, globalization, and changing patterns of human settlement, as well as the non-linear nature of projected climate change, is difficult to manage. Interdependencies between people and states, as well as producers and consumers, are exacerbated by the resource crunch.
The Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth", published in 1972, is a neo-Malthusian book communicating the message that indefinite expansion of the economy is not possible given limited resource. The Club of Rome is a group of scientists politicians and businessmen to come up with multi-disciplinary research that can catalyze global action. Viewing environmental and resource factors as security concerns has only recently been adopted at the end of the Cold War. Neo-Malthusian assumptions are criticized as overly deterministic, discounting human potential to adapt to changes. Environmental scarcity is likely to increase risk of violent conflict, and structural scarcity is exacerbated when groups have systematically unequal access to resources. At a policy level, an increased recognition of security threats posed by climate change, by causing political instability, terrorism, refugee crises, and conflicts over access to resource, as the US National Intelligence council completed a classified assessment that explores how climate change could threaten US security in the next 20 years, as well as the Australian defense forces concluding that climate change is one of the biggest threats to security in the pacific. These are issues which require interlocking management and challenging existing assumptions, as well as contending with uncertainties and long term time horizons.
Population is mostly growing in developing countries, which is accompanied by growing prosperity and a growing middle class and growing consumption, putting further strain on resources. Per capita meat consumption has increased, which uses more water and shifts farmland to growing food for cows when it could grow food for people, demonstrating cascading impacts. China's growth has changed global food patterns, and as much of its own farmland is polluted it relies on imports to survive, and by 2030 it will need to export twice as much as 2008's entire grain yield. Water usage has also increased, and by 2050, 75% of people may be facing water shortages. 70% of fresh water goes to agriculture, so agriculture may suffer the most. Water pressure has already resulted in some Gulf States making deals with emerging economies to procure farm land overseas. Industry and power, hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal, will also feel the pressure of a water shortage. Environmental consequences will be unevenly distributed across the globe. People in coastal areas and low-lying floodplains will have to move, sea level rises will reduce access to safe drinking water, and glacier meltwater will eventually disappear, despite over 1 billion people relying on it. Feedback effects as changes in absorption of CO2 and methane release from Siberian tundra could result in a sudden positive feedback mechanism of a rapid increase of 5-7 degrees Celsius. Global fisheries will also be threatened by more intense oceanic storms, rainfall patterns, increasing water temperatures, as already 80% of fish stocks are over or fully exploited. Climate change induced migration could effect up to 1 billion people depending on which IPCC mechanism comes to pass, and energy and resource prices will increase. Developing countries will be hardest hit by all of these changes.
The need for comprehensive management is apparent. Energy security discussion goes on at the highest levels of governments and has resulted in political challenges and civil unrest. Reliance on a few key producers who have unstable political systems makes oil dangerous, and increased demand from developing countries has been met with a less elastic supply side who has dwindling oil reserves. Aging infrastructure, as well as fear of attack from radical groups, makes energy security a difficult policy. Demand keeps rising but there is underinvestment in this supply infrastructure, and an oil supply crunch is predicted. Although views differ on the specifics of just how much oil is left, or if production has already peaked, as fossil fuels become more scarce, we will be naturally forced towards lower carbon alternatives. On the downside, previously unexploited and questionable resources like the Canadian tar sands, which emit considerably more CO2 per barrel than conventional oil, and CTL and coal. The IEA says that our current energy trajectory is doomed to failure. Uncertainty about the future of oil reserves makes a difficult risk management problem-if we invest in other sources too early, we risk leaving exploitable resources idle unnecessarily, and if we invest too late, then that results in too high costs and risks in a scramble to adjust. Transforming the energy sector is caught up with global economic politics, as the energy security realm is dominated by short-term political interests concerned with volatile fuel sources, rather than the systemic and normative dimensions of it.
The necessity of switching to a low carbon economy is being recognized world-wide. Lee points to the Copenhagen Accord of 2009 as one of the most comprehensive set of interrelated global negotiations in diplomatic history, and that extensive diplomatic efforts to reach a global agreement culminated in the Copenhagen Accords--she does not acknowledge the failure of it. She also relies on scientific consensus as having helped bring about this agreement, which is refuted by Victor 2011. To minimize the probability of a 2 degrees C rise in temperatures above the preindustrial levels and not to pass global tipping points, we will need to reduce emissions by 50%, or 80%, before 2050. Lee says that this means that developed countries will have to put in place a next to zero emissions policy by 2050, and that within the next 20 years all major emitting countries regardless of development level will have to radically decarbonize. CBDR-RC must be abandoned, and carbon-intensive development cannot be locked in, yet equity cannot be abandoned.
Effective action to transition to a low carbon development trajectory is likened to preparing for another world war or industrial revolution, and will require according to the IEA another 1 trillion invested per year until 2050. The low carbon and climate change sector is likely to see an increasing market share, and in 2008, the turnover of the climate change sector exceeded that of the aerospace and defense sector.
Lee says that the fear of loss of competitiveness dominates the global climate policy discussions and prevents a coordinated national and global policy to manage transition. The fears of loss of competitiveness are mistaken in an interconnected world with this kind of technology transfer Lee claims. China and India have accused the US of 'green protectionism' because like other countries with stricter environmental legislation, the US enacted border tariffs on exports from developing countries not taking comparative actions to limit GHG emissions, due to fear of carbon leakage.
Another mismatch exists in the time it takes for technology to be innovated, diffused, and have a successful return on investments, and the urgency of climate change the IPCC stresses. This is furthered by intellectual property law disputes, which prevent diffusion. A debate exists between those who want to preserve or strengthen intellectual property laws to incentivize innovation, and those who want to allow for more flexibility in international property laws to promote diffusion of technology in developing countries. The related border measures and technology sharing show the difficulties that will be faced in managing the political economy of transition.
Geopolitical relations will change. Borders will likely shift, especially sea borders and island states, and could occasionally result in a complete loss of sovereignty. Critical energy infrastructure like pipelines is likely to be affected by glaciers melting, and land borders, too, may change as people migrate and crop patterns shift. In attempting to have multilateral policies that address food, energy, and climate concerns, a policy may help one and harm another, such as biofuels, which undermine food security. Multiple public goods need to be generated from the same production systems or sectors, so an energy system needs to deliver both energy security and climate security. Energy security before the global downturn shaped investment decisions, meaning that the world had not deviated very far from business as usual emissions level, that will result in resource nationalism and heightened import dependencies.
Climate security and energy security will need to be achieved through international cooperation and agreement. The three largest challenges to success are collective inaction, perceived injustice, and indifference. Increased skepticism about the world's ability to come to an effective agreement on huge undertakings like tackling climate change and managing the geopolitics of power transition are widespread. Lee calls on developed countries to take the lead in reducing emissions 20-40% by 2020, as well as commiting to credible financing mechanisms for mitigation and adaptation in poor countries. No single subset of countries can deal with the problem on its own, and without dealing with this problem through international cooperation, national welfare will not be able to be maintained
Giddens' approach is grounded in realism and calls for a change in political thinking, while working within the state system and current institutions, and still respecting democracy. Giddens's paradox is that since climate change does not pose tangible dangers in day-to-day life, people tend to do nothing about it, but by the time dangers are apparent through disasters clearly the result of climate change, it will be too late to do anything about it. Future discounting accentuates Giddens's paradox because people find it difficult to give a concrete reality to the future, as they would prefer a smaller reward in the present to the promise of a larger one further away. In recent years, a threshold has been crossed and climate change now at least shows up on the agenda and is recognized by most leaders as a problem with which we have to contend, but being on the agenda is only the first step. All the meetings that have taken place have resulted in very little in the way of concrete action.
There is no way to force states to sign up to policies, and even if they do agree, regulation implementation is a national decision. Thus, the most revolutionary actions will not be top-down, but will come from individual and GCS actions, according to Giddens. Giddens also sees a further role for the market than in just emissions trading. ETS puts a price on a public good to drive competition to make efficiency increase. Giddens criticizes the traditional green movement for defining itself in opposition to traditional politics. He says conservation isn't necessary, and that the goal should not be saving the planet, but preserving a decent means of human life.
Difficulties with the democratic system result from administrations that change, and day-to-day issues diverting attention from continuous climate change actions. Giddens calls on governments to subsidize renewable resources to make them competitive with fossil fuels. 90% of goods shipped use oil in one way or another, but we don't know when oil production is peaking. Giddens then says that a shift in the developing world has occurred where the leaders of emerging economies are saying less often that taking action in emissions reduction should solely be the job of developed countries. Now, leaders of emerging economies are recognizing the key roles they will have to play.
Tyndall discovered the particular GHGs that are responsible for the greenhouse effect after Fourier speculated that CO2 trapped heat and caused increased surface temperatures. CO2 is the most important GHG in terms of volume, and anthropogenic GHG emissions has exacerbated the warming regime, causing positive feedback loops. Climate change models typically assume that forests and oceans will act as carbon sinks, but warming is actually higher over land than over water, and the ocean is warming up several times faster than previously thought, as well as becoming increasingly acidic. The CO2 content of the air is higher than it ever has been in 650,000 years, and the amount of carbon ppms was 389 in 2010 (it has recently crossed 400 ppms) and was always before at 290 ppms. The Antarctic ice cover is also melting faster than models predicted. The IPCC has played an enormous part in shaping thinking about climate change, and its stated goal is to gather together as much evidence as possible, review it, and reach a scientific consensus. Its consequences range from worrying to disastrous.
Giddens disagrees with the belief that democracies are too overrun by sectional interests and materialism to be successful in solving the climate problem. He says that totalitarian states are worse for the environment, restrict the growth of GCS, and lag behind in all technological advancement other than military. Democracies allow for open development of GCS and the flourishing of innovative scientific ideas. The top five environmentally friendly countries are Scandinavian (Sweden, Norway, Finland), Switzerland, and Costa Rica.
After the OPEC oil embargo in 1973, Sweden took steps to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and wants to be the first oil free economy by 2020. It has reduced its consumption of oil by over 50% since the 1970s and only 35% of the energy it burns comes from fossil fuels. Despite its diminishing use of oil, its economy has actually grown. It uses alternative methods of fuel, including nuclear power, biomass, biofuels, and also is one of six EU states to have a carbon tax. It also slashed income taxes by 50% when it instituted the carbon tax to neutralize the fiscal effects, and the carbon tax has reduced industrial emissions by a third.
Germany is the world's largest user of windpower and the largest domestic market for PV cells, as well as the biggest producer. Scheer's government provided 20 year subsidies to anyone who installed a renewable energy source on their property. Germany faces limitations in building on its early successes, however, because of its reliance on coal for over half of its electricity, so it is pinning its hopes on the development of CCS. It is phasing out nuclear power by 2022 after the Fukushima disaster, and yet it aims to have by 2050 60% of its energy come from renewable sources.
Denmark was heavily dependent on foreign oil, so after the 1973 crash, it introduced taxes on natural gas and petrol to stimulate market efficiency, and also began exploiting oilfields in the North Sea. It began subsidizing renewables in the early 1990s, and in 2009 wind power made up 18% of its electricity usage. Fossil fuels in 2010 however still made up 80% of its total power consumption, yet by 2050 the country aims to have achieved a zero carbon economy through heavy in vestment in renewables.
Spain and Portugal demonstrate that energy transformation can be achieved rapidly, as within a decade Spain went from having 2% of its electricity produced by renewables to 20%, and some autonomous regions want 100% renewables in the near future. The Portuguese government privatized its energy production center and had its power grid go public, and raised energy costs for the consumer. Both countries relied on a partial restructuring of the energy system, and used tax incentives. Although they were affected by the international financial crisis, their renewables sectors are each one of the few areas in which their companies are internationally competitive. An increase in the use of renewable energy does not entail however a corresponding reduction in GHG emissions, as in both Portugal and Spain emissions have actually risen due to activities in other areas of the market, such as construction in Portugal causing a 30% rise in GHG emissions.
The UK is on target to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments, and has switched from mainly coal-burning power plants to natural gas burning plants, and it has cheap, easily available gas supplies in the North Sea. The Climate Change Bill, introduced in 2008 and later becoming the Climate Change Act, mandates that GHGs will be reduced by 80% by 2050 over a 1990 baseline. It also establishes banking and borrowing principles as well as a five year review. Borrowing lets companies emit a bit more, limited to 1%, per budget period, against future emissions reductions, and banking lets companies store emissions it didn't emit, designed to incentivize increased efficiency. The ETS passes costs for power generators onto consumers, which is recognized, but they are not supposed to be too large for individual households, and noticeable costs should incentivize decreased energy consumption. At the same time as passing the Climate Change Bill, England also passed the Energy Bill, recognizing the connection between climate and energy, and creating a new Department for Energy and Climate Change. The stocks of the North Sea oil that supply most of the UK's energy needs since the 1980s are declining, and although the UK is committed to reaching its EU goals of having 15% of its energy needs come from renewables by 2020, in order to do this, 40% of its electricity would have to come from renewables, which is 800% over the current level. Many of UK's nuclear plants are due to expire in 2020, so the Energy Bill calls for building a new generation of reactors, as well as for investment in CCS, solar, wind, and tidal power. The authoritative report in 2009 was released, setting out a pathway to deep decarbonization by 2030, which it concluded was difficult but manageable. Due to its decreased dependency on coal, Giddens concludes England may be in a better place than Germany, as it has the most strong and comprehensive framework for reducing carbon emissions in the world. It is however near the bottom of the EU rankings for use of renewable energy. The Climate Action Network puts out a list evaluating the effectiveness of climate change policies, and although Sweden tops the list, the CAN says no country is doing enough to reach the goal of only having a 2 degree Celsius increase above preindustrial levels.
The US is a laggard in climate change policy. It consumes 25% of the world's energy and emits 20% of its GHGs, and despite the Clinton administration playing a key role in the negotiating of the Kyoto Protocol and carbon trading markets initiating in America, neither of these initiatives took hold here. The Bush administration merely proposed emissions reductions in line with the decarbonizing trend America was going through at the time of his election, and small subsidies given to renewables were largely for energy security purposes, not climate change purposes. The Obama administration was defeated in its attempts to institute widespread support for CCS and a cap-and-trade scheme. Division in the house and senate and bipartisanship mean that environmental legislation is not likely to get passed, and splits over other issues, like healthcare, further divide any likelihood of Republican-Democrat climate consensus. The split powers between Congress and President mean that he has to negotiate for any legislation, and the large amount of spending on elections puts candidates in the hands of special interests and lobbyists, who exert quite a large pull on candidates.
In principle, it is possible to quickly create a renewables sector by drawing on past experience and instituting necessary taxes. Carbon taxes often hit the poor the hardest, however, fluctuations in the prices of fossil fuels call for a stable base of subsidies for renewable power. Left-of-center governments are more effective when it comes to climate policies, and as Scandinavian governments have a history of being left-of-center, they are better placed to have a longer tradition of climate regulation. Climate change policy must be holistic and incorporate energy security, efficiency, and clean technology. Nuclear power will need to be utilized, although it is not without its risks. Inertia built into the current ways of doing things is very large, and must be overcome. It must also be kept in mind that manufacturing has decreased in developed countries in the past 20 years, and they have become more reliant on developing countries, especially China, for manufacturing, shifting emissions eastwards.
Climate change has effects everywhere, but policies to deal with it must be regional, such as the Water Framework Directive which provides the EU a program for water management, among other directives to deal with common problems developed by the EC. The EU is also providing aid to developing countries and is looking into sharing its knowledge and experience with them through a global alliance. This sounds good, but whether or not it will be implemented and implemented effectively remains to be seen. Risks associated with climate change are very uncertain, but catastrophe models are in the works with the aim of reducing uncertainty, and catastrophe bonds have been introduced that provide protection payments for natural disasters. NGOS are looking into providing these in developing nations.
Global governance, defined by DB, is the set of institutions, legal regimes, traditions, and processes through which authority is exercised and decisions taken and implemented on a global level. It falls short of measures necessary to solve the climate change problem, in worst-case scenarios and in particular in risk governance, which is split into identification, management, and implementation. Asymmetries of power result in risk being unequally distributed on a global scale.
Sustainable development is only possible through consensus between stakeholders, scientists, policy-makers, and regulators, and requires recognition of interlocking issue areas in social and economic realms. Intersections make this issue very complex, as not all questions are questions of climate issues. Governments must work to consider matters of agriculture, political borders, migration, and public health. Improvements in one area often bring challenges in another, as seen in the biomass as food or fuel debate, and in tradeoffs between climate and energy security. Fear and uncertainty spur individuals to protect themselves against risks, and uncertainty is the name of the game when it comes to attempting to predict climate change's effects.
Modernization entails increased manufactured risks, like pollution and new diseases. Giddens terms risk societies as those increasingly preoccupied with the future and with safety, generating the notion of risks. Resource use can exacerbate risks. Different kinds of risks include simple risks, those which basic actions can be taken to address, complex risks, those which identifying causal links is hard, uncertain risks, where data is lacking, ambiguous risks, where perspectives differ on values and threats, and systemic risks are those that are embedded in a wider network of social and economic effects and are not limited by a national border.
Risk identification and assessment, management, and crisis response combine to make up risk governance. Discounting the future occurs due to long time horizons, good news tales being preferred over those of impending doom, and difficulty in securing sustained responses. Governmental akrasia is politically expedient. Technical and political deficits exist in terms of risk management. Technical complexity, a lack of adequate information and monitoring and early warning systems, and incomplete analysis make identification challenging and frustrates public understanding. Public mistrust of regulators, perception distortion through fact misrepresentation or focussing more on high-profile but less-likely incidents instead of more low-profile but more-likely incidents are some political difficulties. People might also mistrust science because of interference from the private sector. The framing of risk assessment can affect the perception of urgency. Risk governance needs to put less emphasis on scientific results, and more on consultation and deliberative processes with participation from a lot of stakeholders.
Risk management requires effective coordination between early warning systems, information and technology sharing, and action mobilization at appropriate levels with relevant partners. Leaders must make decisions facing time and special interest pressures, as well as incomplete information, regarding how to handle risks. Simple risks are often solvable with a law or a regulation, whereas complex risks require consultation from different stakeholders and scientific expertise. Uncertain risks require principles such as sustainable use or the precautionary principle. Addressing ambiguous risks is challenging but would require creating dialogues to enhance mutual understanding. Asymmetric vulnerability, mitigation cost and responsibility distribution marks systemic risks, and tradeoffs must be judged, but this often results in governing deficits from a failure to move from business-as-usual practices to action, and diverging national perceptions and priorities with regard to issues and fairness. Regulatory capture can also occur when interest groups block the implementation of policies that would be globally beneficial.
Global governance performance has been mixed at best, and while some successes, like the Montreal Protocol, have been passed, it is much better at adopting new agreements than adapting old ones or fulfilling requirements. The world first agreed in 1992 that climate change required action, and yet it was still arguing about commitments in 2009, 17 years later. Global governance's performance has been weakest in addressing issues of equity and securing coordination necessary to identify and assess complex intersections among issues. The biggest challenge is a result of the commons and is a failure of international coordination. The north-south divide over who pays for what and how much is exacerbated by CBDR and intellectual property concerns with transfer of technology. Governments have struggled to promote change within the IO community to ensure the legal regimes and treaties evolve appropriately. Collaboration gaps between the variety of national and international regimes, where responsibility for management of issues is distributed unevenly among a variety of national and international bodies and agencies, results in some overlapping, turf wars, and duplication that frustrates effective risk management. Especially in economic and environmental governance, bridging gaps between policy makers has proved difficult, given the intersections in a variety of realms. National governments thus lack unified action on a domestic front, which translates into further disunity on the international front and prevents coherence. Negotiations are very slow and formulaic, and relevant stakeholders remain unable to participate in a lot of them, as well as developing countries being underrepresented. Often, even when agreement is achieved, it takes a while for this to translate into effective action on the ground within IOs. In some situations, however, IOs are capable of quick responses, such as in the WFP's provision of emergency food aid during famines, or the UNHCR's actions in refugee situations. Institutional design that encourages conservatism even in the face of pressing danger, as well as competing interests of member parties, make IOs unresponsive to many threats. Rules of organizations that prevent independent action of the secretariat further this inactivity. Some IOs have learned to use areas of discretion to act as leaders, not followers, for and of their member states, but others suffer from regulatory capture. Crises may trigger adaptation, but they could also result in consolidation of the old ways. Capacity gaps, including in knowledge, personnel, and industrial capacity, ability to consult with relevant stakeholders, disperse information, compensating losers from damages caused by risk mitigation, and regulatory gaps, such as differing perceptions of the value of science, differing management and regulatory traditions, and differing propensities to discount the future and make tradeoffs, all cause difficulties in coordinating internationally.
Global governance is not static, as the G20 has evolved, and new institutions can be created, such as UNAIDS, to respond to emerging needs. National regulatory agencies are increasingly interacting more, and alternative governance methods are evolving. Many remain interstate but have greater stakeholder participation, such as interactions that have emerged out of the 2004 WSSD (World Summit on Sustainable Development), allowing for cooperation between NGOs, businesses, academics, and states or groups of states to better implement policies. Nongovernment initiatives serve to help broker policies through creating discussion spaces and enforcing monitoring and accountability of government actions. The private sector, as well, can engage in helpful partnerships through voluntary benchmarks, disclosures, technology transfer, labeling initiatives, carbon trading markets, and sustainability targets. Collaboration helps in identifying problems, generating recognition, engaging, monitoring, and identifying commitment goals. Public-private partnerships are especially important in cases where challenge resolution requires actions taken by other companies and stakeholders. Nonstate efforts, as well as public-private partnerships, still remain under scrutiny for just how effective they actually are, and if the partnerships generated ever translate into action.
Long standing challenges to governance arise from imbalances of power. International cooperation calls for allocating responsibilities and cost burdens while taking into account equity and justice and ensuring least advantaged countries have voices heard. Areas where performance has been the weakest include information sharing, monitoring, coordination on burden allocation, and ensuring that relevant stakeholders have a voice in proceedings, as well as swift coordination.
The Brundtland Commission's report "Our Common Future" publishes in 1987 defined sustainable development, as meeting the needs of current generations while not compromising the needs of later generations to do so and preserving the integrity and beauty of the earth. Sustainable development faces the challenge of reducing poverty while managing potential environmental catastrophe. Redistribution of resources is difficult when the amount of resources is dwindling in the first place. The asymmetry between rich and poor countries is seen in the statistic that around 80% of natural resources are consumed by 20% of the world's population. Doomsday scenarios such as Silent Spring, The Club of Rome's 1974 report "The Limits to Growth", and the population bomb, all present worst-case scenarios with an image of the planet in catastrophe and increasing numbers of poor people, and SD frames the issue in a way that makes it relevant to everyone, combining economics, equity, and environment.
No one is opposed to SD, but moving from theory to practice takes a very long time. Chang, Matthew, and Hammill call on GCS and increased demands and participation from people to result in innovation and leadership restoring at all levels of societies. For the bottom 20%, little progress has been made in their development. Most people born today are born into developing countries, but they are often trapped in cycles of violence due to incompetent and corrupt government officials, lootable natural resources, and unstable neighbors. Since the 1970s, life expectancy has improved only 4 months for those in Sub-Saharan Africa. The "bottom billion" are falling apart and behind. Many negative forms of environmental damage are linked to consumption of wealthy countries, but the costs are shifted onto future generations or onto poor countries immediately. The gap between the rich and poor nations persists, and environmental crises will only exacerbate it.
Those who derive benefits from the status quo, such as bureaucrats and leaders, are loathe to change it. A "better the devil you know" attitude also results in inaction, because uncertain consequences of policies make people afraid to enact change. Despite increasing globalization, the global governance architecture has not kept pace with the more interconnected world. It was designed in the 1940s to establish the UN, promote democracy, decolonization, free trade, and establish human rights barriers to international warfare. On these fronts it has been largely successful, but in the field of SD no leadership has emerged. This could potentially be because there are too many actors with sophisticated knowledge, and thus too many opportunities to disrupt GG. Perceptions are divided over what SD means.
Population difficulties mean that although the percentage of desperately poor people has declined in the world from 40% in 1981 to 21% in 2001, due to population increases, the actual number of people lifted out of abject poverty is only 400 million, which could numerically be accounted for just by China's development alone. Some places have even seen increases in desperate poverty, such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Many environmental problems will have adverse effects on the poorest of the poor, who increasingly live in urban situations and will thus require treatments not for rural, so solutions will need to adapt due to urbanization. The average age of OECD countries is in the mid-40s, and so urbanization+increasing population+increasing average age of OECD countries means that SD is hard to achieve due to costs and distribution. Technology is a double-edged sword. It facilitates connectedness and allows goods to be sent anywhere quickly, but at the same time it also increases awareness of unfairness and allows for easy shift of pollution costs to developing countries, furthering exploitation of the poor.
Climate change explanations are increasingly sophisticated, and the IPCC issues consensus reports about origins of anthropogenic GHG emissions. Realms of uncertainty still exist, however, in predicting how things will effect local weather patterns, if gases will be released from local permafrost, what will happen to cloud cover, and what could result from crossing thresholds, such as microbial explosions. Any benefits that may be accrued from warming, such as longer growing seasons and easier access to resources under ice, are dwarfed by potential effects, such as migration to marginal or hostile lands, famine, pandemics, and pushing fragile states towards failure. Uncertainty and unequal distribution of costs, capabilities, and effects make global warming particularly hard to deal with. Despite this uncertainty, scientists still urge all states to take immediate and aggressive action to handle climate change, as even in the best case scenarios scientists think that it is too late to avoid warming the planet by at least 1 more degree, and if we continue on a business-as-usual path of dirty industries, consumption, and increased population, then the temperature could rise by as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius by 2100. Climate conflict constellations over fresh water, increase in storms and flooding disasters, drought resulting in poor growing season, and climatically-induced migration into cities or marginal areas occur most in already poor and vulnerable countries, only increasing the cycle of vulnerability and making sustainable development even harder. The CAN (Climate Action Network)'s military advisory board made up of retired generals says that climate change has the potential to destabilize nations and cause conflicts, resulting in communities being pushed into difficult-to-escape cycles of disaster and humanitarian relief. Some thinkers argue that climate change produces innovation, but if this is the case, the implementation of the innovation is not occurring fast enough for sustainable development to be effective.
The two goals of SD, reducing poverty and avoiding environmental catastrophe, are still relevant since the Brundtland Report Our Common Future in 1987. Chang, Matthew, and Hammill say that sustainable development needs to integrate climate risk through implementing development activities that reduct vulnerability of individuals to a broad range of threats, improving response capacity, and integrating climate science into development policies.
The problem she addresses is how to limit the use of natural resources so as to preserve them for the long-run. The tragedy of the commons suggests that privatization of the resources will limit their exploitation, but neither the free hand of the market nor state control, she believes, are adequate to handle the task.
Garret Hardin's 1968 article about the "Tragedy of the Commons" lays out a scenario where a scarce resource is degraded due to exploitation and neglect by many users. It is a formulation of the prisoner's game, a non-cooperative situation where it is assumed all players have perfect knowledge and communication is not allowed or is irrelevant. Game theory can result in an optimal outcome when two individuals share the same interests and both want to cooperate. When individual rationality, however, results in collective irrationality, occurs when one individual in an attempt to maximize their own gains, defects on agreements and both end up defecting, so a Pareto sub-optimal outcome occurs.
Mancur Olson specifies in the logic of collective action that the rosy view taken by the prisoners' dilemma that if actors have aligned goals they will work together to achieve them is false. In situations regarding a public good, individuals are likely to sit back and not contribute, because nothing can stop them from benefiting even if they do not do anything, known as the free rider problem. The idea that rational self-interested actors would see that cooperation is necessary and work to achieve that goal is not correct, unless there is a relatively small number of actors or a coercive mechanism binds them to obeying their commitments.
The tragedy of the commons, collective action failure, and the prisoners' dilemma all summon images of individuals caught in an inexorable process of regimes that force them to destroy their own resources. Ostrom believes this is far too pessimistic, and that common pool resource management can provide another option besides the Leviathan. A centralized agency that could impose sanctions and enforce agreements is potentially harmful, because it could suffer from incomplete information due to its massive size. Privatization of the commons is not necessarily the solution, because inequalities of distribution would inherently be built into this system, and some resources, such as fisheries and others lacking fixed locations, cannot be privatized.
Ostrom believes that institutions with a mix of public and private solutions will be necessary, and that there is no single or catch-all solution to this problem. These institutions will be difficult to implement and monitor and will vary in efficacy from place to place. She supports a self-financed self-enforced contract game, where actors themselves make a binding contract to commit themselves to a cooperative strategy. They can rely then on incomplete information and if they do not like a decision can reject making a contract themselves. They can hire a private enforcer to make sure then that they comply with their agreements, a kind of private arbitrator. This arbitrator is not putting in place outside solutions, but is rather merely enforcing rules that the parties themselves made, as the parties in Ostrom's view likely have better knowledge about their own resources than in any other situation. The central authority with the power to make regulations and then enforce those often makes mistakes due to lack of information, and improperly sanctions those who do not deserve it. The self-financed contract enforcement is not presented as a panacea, as it too can suffer from imperfect information, or over or underestimating particular issues, but it is a way for actors to extricate themselves from the commons tragedy. Those groups that are able to break out of the commons dilemma, such as fishermen in Alanya Turkey, who self-enforce their own contract about when and where they can fish, were able to break out because of internal factors. In situations where actors cannot communicate or where powerful interests are able to block cooperation, some form of external cooperative mechanism may be useful. Privatizing some industries may be more efficient than having government control, like airlines or electricity, but at the same time, CPRs (Common Property Resources) might not be best managed through being privatized. Asserting that a central institution is necessary says nothing about the nature of that institution, and saying that goods should be privatized does not account for how they will be divided up or how other actors will be excluded.
Ostrom believes that missing from the theoretical toolkit is a model of self-organized actors on a voluntary basis who restrain their residuals. She says that law firms provide a good example of this, arranging internally their costs and rules, so a theory og organized people that are self-governed and self-restraining. The assumption that an external body always needs to make policy is inaccurate. Ostrom assumes rationality of her actors, but also that they are suffering from systemic problems of lack of information and trust issues. She claims to be an institutionalist but seems like a realist. She believes that already extant institutions can be transformed into self-restraining collective action CPR groups.
O'Neill believes that traditional methods of theories are of little use when dealing with the complexity of global climate change. The state-centric focus of traditional IR is not enough, and there are different modes and sites of an evolving global environmental governance (GEG). She sites state and government led environmental cooperation and the creation of multilateral environmental cooperation, non-state governance initiatives, global economic governance, trade, and development aid and imports. GEG to her started as a discipline in the 1970s, and she quotes George Kennan, the architect of the Post-WWIII economic order, saying that the ecology of the planet is not arranged in a national order, and that damage in one place affects the whole system. He proposed that 10 or so leading industrial nations form an international energy agency, which became the IEA, and that these leading nations should include communist nations. This proposed groups would be formed with states as its basis, and require its support for its continuation, but would not be a region of governmental cooperation but rather collaboration by equals. Kennan was writing to advise the participants of 114 governments in the Stockholm UNCHE (UN Conference on Humans and the Environment) in 1972. Kennan advised for a regime of impartial expertise, but what has evolved, is much more decentralized and politicized.
The UNCHE established the UN Environmental Programme at Stockholm, which facilitates coordination on an issue-by-issue basis, relying much more on negotiation and international treaties than was initially intended. This is not a technocracy, but rather a regime of international diplomacy. Multilateral Environmental Agreements are formed by states, and 140 have been made since the 1920s, with over half being made since 1973. The issue with these agreements and their protocols constantly being updated is that it seems like there is a lot of talk and not very much concrete action. The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997, but only came into effect in 2005, and the US withdrew. Environmental activists further criticize it for not being strong enough anyway. It is an example of the largely failed practice of MEAs. They suffer from summit fatigue due to constant meetings and talk and little action, as well as a seemingly intractable north vs south divide. For many southern countries, economic regimes trump environmental equivalence. Since 1972, environmental diplomacy has essentially stalled. If, however, we broaden our scope of what we include in the analysis, there has been a wider democratic participation, including Transnational Advocacy Networks (TANs), MNCs, activists, community groups, NGOs, and international organizations, whose activities cross state boundaries.
O'Neill lays out three modes of action: state led global governance, which is also international cooperation, non-state, which includes certification schemes and civil society, and economic governance. Non-state governance refers to a range of governance activities done by civil society, NGOs, and the private sector, who may or may not work in partnership, bypassing international cooperation, and going beyond governments. Trade decisions are increasingly significant, especially when the rate of globalization is taken into account. Post-war considerations of international environmental politics is interested in whether or not through international cooperation, a group of sovereign states can overcome the fragmented nature to make a successful GEG regime, and whether or not it is possible to overcome anarchy through global practices.
Realists see GCS and NGOs as purely peripheral. In an anarchic system, states will act to pursue relative gains, and will only cooperate if there exists a hegemon to enforce agreements. This is a Waltzian position. Neo-liberal institutionalists, like Ostrom, see states as much more interdependent than realists, but agree that the primary condition of the international scheme is anarchy. This anarchy makes it very easy to cheat on our agreements. States, from a liberal institutionalist point of view, can recognize that they will be better off pursuing joint or absolute gains and working in concert with other states. NGOs and civil society groups can help make sure states hold their agreements through monitoring and aiding in transparency, like the UN. International law is useful for creating an international community to overcome the free-riding that often results due to collective action. Constructivists, or cognitivists, unlike neoliberal institutionalists and realists, do not see states as entering into negotiations with preferences previously fixed by domestic situations. Instead, they see states shifting in response to socialization and internalizing new international norms. Non-state actors in NGOs and GCS play a large part in carrying these norms. 1 level sees interests changing how states calculate costs and benefits, and another sees how norms can change perceptions, for example, in the abolishment of slavery.
Although military power is a poor predictor of cooperative outcomes, control over resources, as well as strength of leadership and leverage does show how power politics can affect international environmental cooperation. Neo liberal institutionalist ideas are the most influential in international environmental politics, stressing how international institutions play a key role in raising international concern through reducing transaction costs and monitoring and enforcing. Constructivist ideas such as the epistemic communities of Peter Haas show how transnational communities of scientists sharing knowledge and technologies with representatives of the government can influence outcomes, as well as sharing norms of international development.
Regimes are basic rules, organizations, norms, and principles involved in governing individual issue areas. Regimes include treaties, organizations set up to govern treaties, and decision making processes, as well as norms of understanding acceptable behaviors. Regime formation includes interests, bargaining leverage, domestic and transnational non-state actors. Regimes overlap, as seen in the WTO with the Basel Convention on hazardous waste treatment. the North-South wealth dispute sees that southern countries make normative claims against the north, and have used this to gain more bargaining power. The south remains important to the international environmental regime because much of the world's natural resources are located in the south, and crucial biodiversity sites are there, so southern participation is necessary. The south also turns its attention away from merely environmental goals towards sustainable development as a main underlying norm in negotiations. Environmental aid and technology transfer is included in agreements due to southern pressure.
But although states have sole implementation powers, non-state actors still have a voice, and can often construct their own governance regimes. Knowledge can shape environmental responses, specifically scientific. Local community incorporation of those holding specialist knowledge occurs especially in those areas like biodiversity, deforestation, and desertification. The definition of security is often now expanded to include environmental impacts.
Critical theories do not see anarchy as the underlying condition, but instead see global capital making an international hierarchical system. Wallerstein's World Systems model is an example of this, where powerful states at the core have the ability to make decisions and the periphery of southern states have little influence in international organizations designed to secure the base influence of world powers. Interests that are purely those of the state are to critical theorists subservient to those of global capital and capitalists, including MNCs. The global hegemony of wealthy and powerful states results in social and environmental forces forming powerful opposition actors. GCS is a democratizing force in international politics with profound implications. The WTO, IMF, and World Bank are to critical theorists signs that neo-liberal globalization forces have supplanted sovereign states as the main actors in international politics through a control of financial and knowledge resources. Globalization theorists are concerned with environmental problems driven by the forces of globalization and global capital at whatever level they occur. More traditional international relations theories see environmental issues as collective action problems resulting from an anarchic system, whereas critical theorists, or globalization theorists, see these problems driven by forces of globalization and deeply embedded global capitalism. Each frame sees different sites of power as the best places to enact global governance, asking if we should rely on inter-state diplomacy, or if we should instead address actions of international economic institutions, and at a global or local level. Framing the situation as a problem of anarchy results in the main focus being in creating institutions and cooperative mechanisms that overcome incentives to cheat and free ride and create incentives for states to participate in international agreements and preserve sovereignty over resources while still making some concrete progress. Global capital theories see environmental problems rooted since the 1950s in a system of global capitalism and leading states are implicated in this systems' development, but to have some degree, these states have given their control to agents of global capital, so solutions merely relying on international cooperation will be ineffective. Global capital theories stress decentralizing global governance and building regimes from the ground up, harnessing transnational activism and global civil society, and constructing private governance regimes. Despite the differences between traditional international relations theories and global political critical theories, these perspectives are not mutually exclusive. They both focus attention on global institutions and on understanding the dynamics of underlying power relations.
More participatory modes of governance are stressed: the transnational protest movement puts tactics of climate change, issues of social legitimacy, accountability, and participation front and centre, and parallel conferences of NGOs and civil society groups around world environmental summits at the world social forum, a meeting of social groups formed counter to the World Economic Forum. Civil society targets MNCs by working with their desire to be seen as good guys, creating non-state governance schemes, such as forest or chemical certification. Individual behavioral changes, such as purchasing carbon offsets to ameliorate the impact of personal air travel, are seen, showing a technocratic and behavioralist approach to global governance despite a highly skeptical scientific community. Global governance is hybridized, and it is hard to predict when or how the international system will settle into the primary mode of global governance. O'Neill agrees with Vogler in saying that a network of regimes and national government international organizations are essential, because they provide a potential to unify and ground different components of global environmental governance.
The north and south divide comes as a results of only sovereign governments having the authority to make regulations. Goals, whether relative gains for themselves against others, can be influenced through a cooperation and socialization processes and norm internalization in accordance with constructivist theories. States are not, however, unitary actors, and multiple agencies with different visions of how to proceed and are subject to pressure from interest groups. The US is a laggard, and Scandinavian states are in the lead. The EU does fairly well, and the global south is seen as taking on a bigger role. Although the north-south distinction obscures the role of newly industrializing economies and highly indebted poorer countries, which are largely in Africa and are moving backwards, not forwards. Despite these differences in environmental negotiations, southern countries have adopted a collective identity, wanting to be seen as a bloc and including diverse places like Tanzania, China, India, Brazil, Chad, and Somalia. This bloc has its roots in the Non-Aligned Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, where India and Indonesia lead the way in forming a path neutral to either capitalist or communist forces, not getting involved in Cold War politics. The states in the 1960s formed the Group of 77 as a way to enhance negotiating powers in the UN and promote their economic interests, but the G77 now includes over 130 members and has its own organizational identity. Since post UN Conference on Human and the Environment in 1972, the G77 has argued southern interests, taking the lead in linking environmental protection and economic development under the rubric of sustainable development (SD) and stressing environmental degradation caused by poverty. Southern countries argue that the frames and international priorities focus on issues that affect the north more, like climate change and ozone depletion, as opposed to access to fresh water and desertification, which has influenced funding in recent decades. Southern leaders are able to take a stand against Northern dominance in environmental relations because these are more inclusive than economic relations, and operate more under one member one vote procedures. More than half of the population lives in the developing world, and most industrial growth will happen there, so this gives them leverage in that their participation is crucial. They can exert material leadership in issues like biodiversity and moral leverage, in issues like the trade of toxic waste.
States, however, are not the only relevant actors in international environmental politics. Some see their relevance as declining, and that non-state actors, subs-state actors, the private sector, civil society, and local governments are becoming more influential. Global capitalism is also targeted as a cite by NSAs. The state provides law and order, experience, legitimacy, finance, and policy. States set up IGOs to manage international problems, allocate funds, and implement policy, including the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, GATT, all IGOs set up post-WWII. The WTO is the organizational body of the GATT from 1995, and the EU NAFTA and ASEAN are all IGOs. IGOs tread the boundary line between state and non-state. and can sometimes set their own agendas independent of state goals. They have a small budgets, staffs and office space typically, and gain legitimacy through their mission, their on-the-ground influence, and standing granted by member states. The UN plays the largest direct role in IEP, sponsoring global summits, setting the policy agenda, and providing a forum for negotiation. The WHO, World Bank, IMF, and FAO are all autonomous agencies, but are linked through agreements to the UN and are known as "specialized agencies" of the UN. The UNEP is based in Kenya, and oversees the development of agreements and initiatives, funding, monitoring, and it gathers information for and on states' environmental contributions. This is what is known as an anchor institution for the global environment. It began in 1972 with developed countries not really liking the idea of it and developing countries suspicious of what t would entail. It has been the target of a lot of reform, and secretariats within it manage different treaties are growing in autonomy. In concert with the UNDP and the World Bank, it manages the primary institution designed to fund projects related to economic problems, the Global Environment Facility or GEF.
The World Bank, WTO, and IMF are also important actors in global environmental politics. The World Bank's chief mission is to provide loans to developing countries, but it has funded projects like dams and roads without regard for environmental or social costs. Protests forced it to withdraw from funding the Narmada dam in India in the 1980s and since then it has made efforts to make its approach more green, establishing environmental unity and implementing impact assessment procedures, but critics say these are either window dressing or just serve to reinforce the status quo. The WTO was established in 1995 to help manage increasingly dense GATT agreements. The GATTT formed in 1948 and wanted to liberalize international trade by removing tariffs, and wanted to encourage economic growth. It now has 140 members with a one member-one vote policy. All member states are committed to a wide-reaching set of rules aimed at further trade liberalization. But critics say that GDP growth and constant economic expansion through trade encourages overuse of resources.
NGOs and activist groups concerned with the human role in the environment are part of civil society, made up of voluntary non-commercial actors independent from and counterbalancing what is seen increasingly as overweening stat power. Some actors are explicitly global, like Greenpeace, CAN, WWF, Third World Network, and have tackled problems such as whaling, the international waste trade and use protest actions to garner media attention. Others act primarily as sources of information, such as the World Resources Institute, based in DC, that produces regular reports on human environmental impacts. These NSAs have an active presence at summits, with creative protests like dressing as penguins or climbing a tall building to launch banners to publicize the progress of summits. They also hold parallel summits, and lobby state negotiators, and provide draft language for treaties. For example, the Convention on Biological Diversity was drafted by the International union for Conservation of Nature, but its influence remains direct. NGOs play an important monitoring role, acting as whistleblowers when states ball behind on commitments, and aid in implementation by being recipients and focal points of international aid. Transboundary Advocacy Networks and GCS emergence is very important, marking a democratization of global governance through increasing participation and representation at international forums and through generating alternative governance systems. TANS are advocacy networks linked across boundaries by shared values taking part in a dense information exchange and common discourse. These can be loosely coordinated groups for particular purposes or tighter networks or movements who coordinate strategies and mobilize in several different jurisdiction at once, in a horizontal linkage where partners are equal, or vertical where they are in a hierarchy. GCS is responsible for increased democratization of global governance processes, connoting a fundamental shift which suggests that territorial nation states are in decline as the primary mode of organization of the international system. GCS exists above the individual level, but below states, and across borders and we experience the sociality. The Climate Action Network, or CAN, is an example of a TAN body, made up of many different environmental NGOs and collectively represents their interests. Local activists use TANs to target publicize and change government behavior. For example, countries affected by WTO policies have little recourse at the domestic level given that projects are initiated and supported by their own governments and so they align with groups in other countries who have a large share of votes in the world bank. These foreign groups can then pressure their own governments to change World Bank actions. Given pressure, the world bank has been forced to become more environmentally conscious. Still, however, power dynamics occur within GCS and TANs, as northern groups are often seen as dominating. Protest actions are a key part of their repertoire. 1990s protests around global justice issues shows abilities to mobilize a broad coalition of activists, such as when 30,000 protesters turned out to protest a WTO Summit in Seattle in 1999. These performative actions help focus international attention on equity and justice areas around globalization, connecting human rights agendas with environmental degradation, and local concerns with abstract global governance. They have also constructed the World Social forum, an annual meeting of alternative globalization movements, providing a discussion forum. NGOs can work with companies to help them develop sustainable practices and policies without profit sacrifice. Corporations are often blamed for the world's environmental degradation and are thus controversial participants, but some are trying to prove they can be engines of the environment. MNCs and extraction industries are key sites or targets for GCS bodies. Individual corporations conglomerate their interests within trade organizations or industry BGOs to provide a vehicle to action. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has over 170 members and was founded before the UNCHE, in 1991. Lobbying and attending conferences is new for businesses. Uniform standards desired by the corporate sector internationally could incentivize participation, as seen in 1986 when Dupont facing strict domestic restructuring of its CFC production, changed its position to favor international regulation of ozone depleting substances, leveling the international playing field for its products as it also manufactured competitor products. Several key environmental areas such as climate change, ozone, and biodiversity may have negotiations at an international level that companies are afraid to ignore, and some even participate, like EU oil companies. The industry partners with civil society regimes around voluntary labeling and certification schemes, as seen in forestry, fishing, chemicals, and coffee. Firms voluntarily agree to show that they adhere to certain labor or environmental standards by receiving these certifications, but some say these lack legitimacy.
Knowledge also plays an important role as seen in the IPCC, a group of scientists who were awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace prize with Al Gore. this is a transnational organization of 3000 scientists who gather, assess and communicate scientific findings about causes and impacts of global climate change and helps push towards consensus. Uncertainties and complexities make people put emphasis on science to establish policies. Boundaries between the expert and lay person are blurring, as just what constitutes good science is debatable, including indigenous peoples as experts and others who live in the area is democratizing but perhaps overly expands the categories of experts. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the human dimensions of global climate change were researched first in connection to atmospheric spheres. The International Council of Scientific Unions or (ICSU) sponsored the International Geophysical Year from 1957-58, which instituted serious research on climate damage. Science and policy held that science remained separate from policy, fueling debate but not shaped by politics. The other end of the spectrum sees all science as political, in that its funding and its goals are determined by who funds it. Advocacy science and pure science are hard to combine. If science justifies policy making them the dominant groups of those with particular accreditations, the pool of expertise is large. A wide variety of experts, under Peter Haas's epistemic communities model, identifies trans-national groups of experts who can work together to influence governments trying to come up with environmental agreements. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice of the CBD is a formal panel associated with international environmental agreements. Giving scientists and experts credit has over credited natural scientists and under credited social scientists, and its influential groups are over-dominated by scientists trained or working in the north. Expert as a concept is becoming murkier because of incorporation of local expertise. The CBD and the Convention to Combat Desertification have processes for incorporating local knowledge perspectives into several international negotiating processes, expanding the category of science into a broader one of knowledge. Indigenous peoples, locals, lay people, are now included in the category of expert, broadening participation but raising concerns for over incorporating lay folks.
The broader public is naturally distanced from global governance, excluding the EU there is no democratic election. Elites decide how and who manage GEG, and it seems to have very little impact on peoples' lives, and value changes are called for. Public support found to be growing for behaviors that support sustainable development and such values, but how this translates into action is not certain. There could be a normative shift taking place where aggregate behavior shifts to make the economy more sustainable but fewer people actually bother to take action. There are direct connections between GEG and public opinion, but public opinion can still sway actions, as seen with the 2007 Australian election of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd hinging on his promise to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.