Conclusions

The argument of the book has traversed a series of debates. I suggested how, within a neorealist-liberal institutionalist debate, institutionalism provides a significantly more adequate account of interstate cooperation over global warming. Neither realist analyses based purely on power, or those based on anarchy, are adequate as an explanation for outcomes. While the assumption of anarchy yields a useful basic assumption about why cooperation may be difficult, liberal institutionalists also...

Northsouth Politics

Historical materialism also emphasises that the process of capital accumulation necessarily reproduces and intensifies inequalities. This process, as capitalism has become progressively more global in scope, has meant that those inequalities have increasingly been played out across state borders. While, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, inequalities within countries were much greater than those between countries, increasingly from the late nineteenth century onwards that picture...

Questions Of Political Economy

The above discussion suggests that a neoliberal institutionalist account of the politics of global warming is more adequate than a neorealist one. However, a major weakness is its conceptualisation of the relationship between politics and economics. Liberals tend to assume that politics and economics are largely autonomous spheres of human activity, and that this separation both is and should be preserved in order that trade and human welfare can be maximised. They would tend to suggest that...

Deeper Problems

The deep assumption made by neorealists is that states can be treated as units with given interests generated by their position within the international structure. This is misleading when looking at environmental issues such as global warming. First, as outlined in the section above on hegemonic stability theory, since the 'distribution of capabilities' with respect to global warming must be regarded as fundamentally ambiguous, analysing outcomes at the international level purely by reference...

Conclusion

The categories outlined above help us to explain much behind the different groups which emerged during the negotiations. In the North, we can identify two broad groups, with the US ranged against virtually everybody else. The position of the US was based primarily on a historical abundance of cheap fossil energy which made its perception of the costs of action very high, and on a wealth which made its perception of the costs of the impacts of global warming (to itself) low. By contrast, other...

Positions On The Major Conflicts The Intra North conflict

As was emphasised during the discussion of the negotiations, one of the most prominent issues debated was the question of what commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions industrialised states would be prepared to undertake.2 There was never any question that developing countries would be bound by such commitments there was general recognition that their emissions would necessarily grow as they developed (although the US and Australia began to question this after Rio). The only question...

Introduction

Essentially, the climate negotiations can be seen as involving two great conflicts. One is between the United States and almost everybody else (but predominantly the other industrialised countries), over the commitments to be undertaken on limiting emissions. And the other is the perennial North-South conflict. This chapter examines more systematically what lay behind the different states' positions, and looks at the general factors which help explain the groupings of countries which influenced...

The Adequacy Of Commitments

During February 7-18 1994, a month before the convention came into force on 21 March, the INC again met and started to produce concrete proposals on many of the technical issues it had been discussing, for example by adopting the IPCC's draft guidelines on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories as its methodology for inventories (INC, 15 February 1994 2). However, it also began to think seriously about whether the commitments on limiting emissions in the convention were adequate to meeting the...

Detail Of Implementation

The convention provided for the INC to continue meeting before the convention itself came into force, and this decision was ratified by the UN General Assembly (UN General Assembly, 1992). The purpose of this was both to prepare for the first Conference of the Parties (COP1), and to prepare possible amendments to the convention, or protocols to it. The INC met twice a year from the signing of the convention until the first Conference of the Parties met in Berlin between 28 March and 7 April...

The Framework Convention

Commentaries on the Climate Convention abound.21 The general assessment has been that while, from an environmental point of view, it is clearly inadequate, it is possibly as good a political compromise as could be reached given the constraints. These constraints were various, some structural procedural, and some merely dependent on the position of one state, the United States of America. By the structural constraints, I mean here the constraints imposed by what realists term the structure of...

Finalising The Convention Session Five New York

By the beginning of the New York Session in February 1992, considerable frustration had developed among many delegations about the inability of the countries collectively to move forward. However, there was a general perception that a treaty would be ready for signing by UNCED inJune. On the one hand, the process was now a laborious one of removing the square brackets from each piece of text, solving the problems some states may have had with those bits of text by negotiation or rewording. On...

Substantive Negotiations Start Session Three Nairobi

The negotiations began to develop significantly during the Third Session in Nairobi in September 1991. It was here that the most salient issues began to crystallise and find themselves presented in texts which dominated not just the informal debate, but also the formal work of the Working Group. By the end of this session the negotiators were left with something approaching a single text on which it was agreed that they were all negotiating prior to that there was great disagreement, within...

The Ipcc

While global warming developed into a contentious political issue during this period, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was also established in 1988, by UNEP and WMO. Nitze and Bodansky both suggest it was at the instigation of the United States government (Nitze, 1989 44 Bodansky, 1993 464).16 The IPCC was established in order to make the fullest assessment of the state of scientific knowledge Table 2.1 Status of commitments of OECD countries on global climate change. Table...

The historical development of climate on the international agenda

It is not difficult to understand that the problem of transforming the climate on a world or regional base scale is, by its very nature, an international one, requiring the united efforts and the coordination of the activities of all countries. (Chief of USSR Hydrometeorological Service, 1967, quoted in Weiss, Oh Mother Earth, ocean-girdled and mountain-breasted, pardon me for trampling on you. (Frontispiece, Study of Man's Impact on the Climate Matthews et al., 1971 , quoted in Victor and...

Politics

More important for the purposes of this discussion is a consideration of the political characteristics of global warming, in terms of how these flow from the causes of global warming, and therefore how responsibility can be allocated (or fought over). One politically extremely important question is how it may in the future affect various communities, countries and states differently through the impacts of global warming. I will not deal with this aspect, except in so far as it has clearly...

Question Of Questions

This book tries to go some way to filling these silences. It attempts to do two things. The first is to explain the international politics of global warming, leading up to the First Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention, which took place in March and April 1995. There are two basic questions involved in such an investigation, corresponding to two distinct processes which have been involved. First, huge scientific uncertainties remained about the timing, extent and likelihood of...

Policy Debates

To illustrate the lack of sustained explanations of climate politics, consider the following policy debates. One good example would be the debate over tradeable permits. This scheme would involve states being allocated permits to emit a particular quantity of CO2 (and possibly other greenhouse gases ghgs ) per year which would then be tradeable. The number of total permits distributed could decline over time to achieve overall global abatement targets. The point of the scheme would be that (for...

Global Warming Becomes Politicised

As scientific knowledge increased concerning the likelihood of global warming, the types of gas involved and their anthropogenic sources, and about the severity of the possible changes, the activities of the scientists involved in the WCP and in national programmes became inherently more political because of the implications of the responses they envisaged. As early as 1978, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), WMO, UNEP and ICSU's Scientific Committee On Problems...

The Emergence Of A Scientific Consensus On Global Warming

During this period there was a broad discursive shift in the general understanding of climate as a problem. There was a rather rapid change from the mid-late 1960s, when climate research was viewed as a precursor to humans consciously changing climate to make it more favourable, towards research into how humans may be changing climate inadvertently. The quote from Federov, Chief of the USSR Hydrometeorological Service in 1967, at the beginning of this chapter is one example. US President...

The Politics Behind The Conflicts

The different positions of the US and the other countries were not purely arbitrary. Taking those positions as given, without explaining how they arise, is inadequate. All this would allow us to say would be that, since each country had different declared interests, either the negotiations arrive at some lowest common denominator outcome, or mechanisms such as side-payments are used to induce some states to accept outcomes they would not otherwise agree to. However, this tells us only a small...

Second Silence

Alongside the lack of a sustained attempt to explain the politics of global warming, there has been a similar paucity of efforts within International Relations to provide convincing and well developed explanations of the global environmental politics which emerged in the 1980s. The 1980s and the 1990s have seen a great amount of activity within International Relations theory. There have been (for the purposes of this discussion, at least) three major developments of concern here. First,...

Acknowledgements

As do many first books, this book began life as a PhD thesis. There are, therefore, a great many people to whom I am indebted. Mike Clarke and Patrick Salmon in particular, at Newcastle University, gave me encouragement and the confidence to do a PhD in the first place. I am greatly indebted to my supervisor Hugh Ward, and to Rachel Walker who also supervised me for a year. Both were very enthusiastic about the project, and were always willing to give time and attention. Their contributions...

Alternatives To The Model

While perhaps more sophisticated than more general accounts of science and politics in international environmental politics (e.g. Andresen and Ostreng, 1989), the epistemic communities approach still suffers, in that as Karen Litfin points out it both treats science as being outside politics, and sees international cooperation as necessarily requiring (and often also being a product of) epistemic consensus (1994 4).17 As Litfin says, 'epistemic community approaches downplay almost to the point...

Anarchy the state and power

Now the building of more coal-fired power stations or chopping down rain forests, even if on the other side of the world, is a destructive blow at our nations, an act of aggression as much as sending warships to shell New Orleans, or Miami or Harwich. They (politicians) might say that we would have to instruct certain countries to limit their carbon emissions and that if they refuse we should defend ourselves by bombing their power stations, and, yes, sending in troops to protect rain forests....

Contemporary Transformations And Global Warming

In addition to explaining the background features behind states' negotiating positions and climate strategies, focusing on political economy allows us to locate the emergence of climate politics historically in contemporary transformations within the world political economy. Three related transformations can be identified the shift from Fordism to post-Fordism or flexible accumulation the processes of globalisation and the move towards neoliberalism as the hegemonic project of transnational...

Cooperation and institutions

The purpose of this chapter is to outline and analyse neoliberal institutionalist theories of IR in the light of the experience of global warming.1 While these accounts vary in some respects, they hold certain common positions which differ in significant respects from neorealist positions, and serve as a basis for discussion. Within the debate on global warming (and global environmental change generally), this line of thought is very important, since it provides the basis of many prescriptions...

Global Warming and Global Politics

Global warming has become established as the major environmental issue on the international political agenda. It is also commonly understood to be the most difficult problem to solve politically. The entrenched interests of powerful parts of industry as well as those of many states are threatened by attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Global Warming and Global Politics is the first systematic study of the politics of global warming. Matthew Paterson looks closely at the major theories...

Impacts

The implications of the IPCC's findings were then, and remain now, beset with uncertainties. They made projections of the likely rate of warming, and the implications of this, but the relevant point here is simply that the implications were sufficient to generate some action from the world's governments. Michael Grubb summarises the salient point well 'all that can be usefully said is that the less the rate of atmospheric change, the less the risks and costs are likely to be' (Grubb, 1990 12)....

Institutions as organisations

To evaluate the claim that the various international organisations which have been involved in the development of the politics of global warming have been important in influencing outcomes is a relatively straightforward task. The principal organisations involved have been WMO and UNEP (and their joint organisation, the IPCC), ICSU (an INGO), then, later, the broader UN system through the INC (with a secretariat housed in UNCTAD), and finally the convention bodies the interim and then permanent...

List of Abbreviations

AGGG Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (WMO) AOSIS Alliance of Small Island States CEQ Council on Environmental Quality (US) COP1 First Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change CPR Common property resource ECOSOC United Nations Economic and Social Council EPA Environmental Protection Agency (US) GARP Global Atmospheric Research Programme (WMO) GEF Global Environmental Facility (World Bank, UNEP and GISS Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA)...

Neorealist Theory

The basic premises of Waltz's theory are as follows. First, his is a systemic theory. That is to say, it takes as its basic level of analysis the international system, and seeks to explain outcomes in terms of the structure of that system. Hence the alternative appellation, coined by Keohane (1989d), of 'structural realism'. This is not to say that unit-level factors, such as ideology, economics, or the personality of leaders, are unimportant, but that theories which focus on these factors are,...

Postscript An Introduction To Global Warming

This section is provided mainly for those unfamiliar with some of the main features of climate change. For those who are familiar with those features, this section will be unnecessary. It does however emphasise how dealing with global warming is primarily a question of energy use, and how both the impacts of global warming, and the responses to mitigate it, have very significant distributional consequences, making it susceptible to high levels of political conflict. However, this introduction...

Science

Despite objections from some climate scientists, the most authoritative and widely accepted general viewpoint on global warming remains the report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990.9 The IPCC, a body of the world's leading climatologists which was set up in 1988, felt able to state in that report that they were certain that some global warming would occur due to human activities, should existing emissions trends continue (Houghton et al, 1990 xi). The...

Series editors preface

While concern for the human habitat and ideologies affirming the vital link between mother earth and the humans species have had a long history and a constant appeal, the past three decades have witnessed a surge in an awareness that humanity is inflicting on itself permanent and possibly irretrievable environmental damage. This series of books on the politics of the environment aims to provide the information and the perspective needed for an understanding of this predicament, of the anxieties...

The Politics of Sustainable Development

Edited by Susan Baker, Maria Kousis, Dick Richardson and Stephen C.Young This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2003. Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001 1996 Matthew Paterson All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any...

The State Capital And Hegemony

Historical materialism treats capitalist societies as unstable, due to their basic contradictions. Consequently, the reproduction of those societies is something which has to be consciously sought. Harvey (1990 180) gives three basic conditions for capitalist reproduction. First, capitalism requires economic growth to reproduce itself. This is a corollary of the need for firms continually to maximise profits. Second, the making of a profit necessarily involves paying workers for less than the...

Neorealism Cooperation And Global Warming

For neorealists, therefore, outcomes in international politics will be conditioned by the fact of anarchy in the international arena, the fact that consequently outcomes will be produced by power struggles, and the fact that the most powerful states will in general be able to get their own way. Because of the basic assumption that the primary feature of international relations is the anarchic nature of the system, the problematic question for transnational issues such as global warming is about...

The History Of The Science And Of International Meteorological Cooperation

Baron Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier is generally recognised to have been the first person to have made an argument about the greenhouse-like properties of the atmosphere, and to suggest that the atmosphere was important in determining the temperature of the earth's surface.1 He made this assertion in 1827, while studying the flow of heat as an application of his mathematical theorem. He called the effect the 'hothouse effect', through a mistaken analogy with how heat is trapped in a greenhouse...

Epistemic Communities

Largely in response to the increasing number of international environmental agreements which have been signed since the beginning of the 1970s, several analysts have highlighted the role of transnational scientific and technical groups in international politics. Given that these analyses were developed to explain environmental politics, we might expect them to have something to say about the emergence of a regime on global warming. There are some notable features which distinguish this approach...

A political economy of global warming

This chapter explores the explanations which might be offered to account for the international politics of global warming by arguments from within historical materialism. It suggests that, at least as a starting point, this provides a significantly more convincing interpretation of the empirical material covered in the book, than do the positions covered in the last three chapters Three arguments drawn from the literature of historical materialism will be used. The examination of the...

Neoliberal Institutionalism

Neoliberal institutionalism centres on the work of Robert Keohane, although others involved would include writers such as Oran Young. Perhaps a good way to start is to look at its intellectual origins. It is a product of the development of thought about international law going back at least to Grotius, and the line of international thought which went, through Kant, to the Idealists at the time of the creation of the League of Nations. The perceived failure of much of this thinking to produce a...

Procedural Wrangling Session One Chantilly

The US Government hosted the first session of the negotiations, at the Westfields International Conference Center in Chantilly near Washington DC, in February 1991, as they had previously offered to do Jaeger and Ferguson, 1991 . It became clear from the first meeting in Chantilly that the negotiations were going to be highly conflictual. Despite the publication of its 'Climate Change An Action Agenda', the perception by environmental non-governmental organisations NGOs and other states, that...

Fordism and flexible accumulation

The first of these shifts is the transition from 'Fordism' to 'post-Fordism' or 'flexible accumulation'. This terminology comes from what is usually known as the 'regulation school' Aglietta, 1979 . The focus of this school is on the mechanisms by which capitalist society is reproduced. They identify two areas in which this operates the regime of accumulation, and the mode of regulation. The first of these refers to the way in which, over the long term, a parallel development is achieved...

Evaporation of liquid fuels and solvents Fossil fuel and biomass burning

Durst Low Migration Inks

Source Michael Grubb 1989 The Greenhouse Effect Negotiating Targets, London Royal Institute of International Affairs, 6. activity, we note that many of the other gases involved also come from activities whose central pollutant product is CO2. Thus, focusing on CO2 will also reduce emissions of other ghgs. Table 1.1 illustrates this point from Grubb, 1989 6 . The sources of some of the methane, some of the nitrous oxide, and most of the ozone precursors, all come from fossil fuel burning which...