Negotiationbargaining

Power Efficiency Guide

Ultimate Guide to Power Efficiency

Get Instant Access

For Haas, international negotiations form part of a continuing process of reducing uncertainty, where leaders defer to experts over the issue in question (Haas 1990b:350). Scientists who sit on negotiating delegations are able to provide on-the-spot advice as the negotiations proceed, providing 'specific bits of advice regarding the scope of collective arrangements under consideration' (Haas 1990a:56). In precise terms, this can take the form of helping to draft documents (ibid.:225). If members of the same epistemic community belong to a range of negotiating delegations, policy convergence among the different parties may ensue. In more general terms, Haas argues that 'Meetings at which an epistemic community is well represented would be more constructive than those in which it is not' (ibid.:56).

In order to influence a range of delegations, the IPCC has to be viewed as truly transnational in terms of its representation. This helps to avoid situations where scientific results produced by institutions in one country involved in the political

19 As Adler and Haas (1992:381) note, 'the decision-makers primary goal of soliciting advice from an epi-stemic community may be the political goal ofbuilding domestic or international coalitions in support oftheir policies'.

process are not recognised as valid by other countries (Bergesen 1989:124).20 The need, for example, for North-South cooperative scientific research is particularly pronounced in the case of global warming as borne out by the existence of the Special Committee on the Participation of Developing Countries, which was created in 1989 to enhance the involvement of scientists from less developed states (Rowlands 1995).21 There have also been attempts to appoint a developing country scientist as one of the lead authors for each chapter of the IPCC reports, as well as to provide financial support to assist their involvement. Transnational representation enables the community to be regarded as authoritative and less coloured by the perspective of any one group of countries, by a greater number of parties to the convention and therefore to extend the breadth of its influence.

WG1 cannot claim to be genuinely geographically inclusive however, because the expertise it tends to value is not evenly distributed globally (Shackley 1997:78). It remains the case that out of the twenty-eight authors of the technical summary of the Second Assessment Report, only three were from less developed countries (one from Brazil and two from Kenya) and all convening lead authors of chapters in the 1995 assessment were from OECD countries.

Bearing all this in mind, this section traces the empirical history of the interaction between the advice of the scientific community and its impact upon global climate policy at the negotiating stage of the policy process.

The input of WG1 during the negotiating stage of the policy process was marginalised by the creation of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Climate Change (INC) to manage the negotiations on climate change from February 1991 onwards. This was thought to deliver 'the policy debate fully into the hands of diplomats' (Boehmer-Christiansen 1994b:191). Part of the reason for the replacement of the AGGG by the IPCC in the first place was pressure from the US State Department, with the support of the Department of Energy (channelled through the executive committee of the WMO), to keep the scientific assessment in government hands. The move was a reaction to the political pace that had been set for the issue by the AGGG's organisation of both the Toronto conference and the Second World Climate Conference (SWCC) (Boehmer-Christiansen 1996).22 The creation of both the INC and the IPCC can be argued, therefore, to represent attempts by government officials to take charge of the direction of policy as the political implications of action became clearer (see Section 3.5).

20 Most of the process by which scientists have generated and developed their knowledge has been transnational, despite the predominance of input by Western scientists (Rowlands 1995). Boehmer-Christiansen (1994a) notes, moreover, how most of the reviewers for WG1 had personal ties with global programmes such as the WCRP (World Climate Research Programme), the IGBP (International Geo-Biosphere Programme) and UNESCO's (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Oceanic Commission.

Cain (1983) also notes how the ICSU (International Council of Scientific Unions) has played an important part in supporting multigovernmental climate-related efforts.

Boehmer-Christiansen (1994b: 187) notes that 'the AGGG proposals and claims had come from institutions which, to the US government, represented a lobby it deeply distrusted'.

It is also clear that the conception of what constitutes an epistemic community broadens at the negotiating stage. Vogler (1995:204) notes how like-minded politicians and officials can be considered part of the epistemic community in the negotiations.23 This broader conception of an epistemic community, which includes government officials and scientists who share common objectives, can be witnessed in the aftermath of the Villach conference of 1985, when the Environment Ministries of Canada, Sweden, the UK, Austria and the Netherlands helped to disseminate the findings of the scientists' conference (Boehmer-Christiansen 1994b).

The function of WG1 in the negotiations was to set the goal 'from which should be derived the necessary social, economic and other policies for survival' (Wynne 1994:171). Scientists had been pre-eminent between 1985 and 1988 in laying out what they considered to be an appropriate regime for handling climate change at the international level. At the Toronto conference on the changing atmosphere in 1988 and the Villach-Bellagio workshops before that (1985 and 1987), emphasis was laid by the attending scientists upon North-South asymmetries in terms of emissions and historical responsibility, the need for a framework convention and for the convention to have as a preliminary goal the stabilisation of concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth's climate system. Clear emphasis was also laid upon the need for international cooperation in the management and monitoring of research on global climate change. These dimensions of the issue emerged as key pillars of the draft conventions that were circulated in the regime's earliest stages.

Yet it is difficult to assess how far the fact that debate centred on the need for a framework convention was a response to expert advice, or prompted by a desire to pursue the issue along similar lines to the ozone question, especially given the perceived success of the ozone negotiations (Benedick 1991a). Similarly it is difficult to attribute the emphasis in the FCCC upon information exchange and the need for further research directly to the recommendations made by elements of the scientific community back in 1988 (Boyle and Ardill 1989), given that these sorts of recommendation underlie many conventions on environmental issues. The emphasis upon the differentiated obligations of the countries of North and South, reflected in the statement 'industrialised countries must implement reductions even greater than those required on average, for the globe as a whole', is also adopted in the convention. However, as Paterson (1996) argues, little influence can be directly attributed to the epistemic community for this, given that differences in emissions are so apparent as to require acknowledgement, irrespective of the guidance of WG1 per se.

The alarmist tone of the scientific advice propagated at the Toronto Conference on the Changing Atmosphere in 1985 was soon lost in the emerging policy discourse on the issue. The Toronto declaration, drawn up for the large part by scientists, spoke of an 'uncontrolled globally pervasive experiment' with consequences 'second only to a global nuclear war' (Boyle and Ardill 1989:Appendix 2). The predictive

23 Haas (1992b) also includes the negotiator Richard Benedick in the epistemic community that he sees as existing on the issue of ozone depletion.

tone of the statement is assured: 'Far-reaching impacts will be caused by global warming' (ibid., emphasis added). The conference was clear in its call for a world atmosphere fund, financed by a levy on fossil fuel consumption, for energy growth in the South to be compensated by reductions in the North, the need for a 50 percent reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases in order to achieve climate stabilisation, and for an interim target of a 20 percent reduction of the 1988 levels of CO2 emissions by the year 2005. The vague reference to 'common but differentiated responsibility' in the convention illustrates a significant watering down of scientists' recommendations with respect to the ways in which North—South differences might be handled and the sorts of policy that might be appropriate to redress these imbalances.

Several years later, and despite the advanced understanding of climate change demonstrated in WG1's first report, leading greenhouse emitters were 'teaching the rest of the world how to orchestrate delay' at the SWCC in 1990, according to some observers (ECO, issue 1, Geneva 1990). The scientists' report to the SWCC went further than WG1's first report (1990) in calling for countries to take 'immediate action' to reduce the risks of climate change, arguing that 'remaining uncertainties must not be the basis for deferring societal responses to these risks' (Jaeger and Ferguson 1991) and setting in train a precautionary norm. The report is explicit in its call that 'nations should now take steps towards reducing sources and increasing sinks of greenhouse gases', and points clearly to the goal of halting the 'build-up of greenhouse gases at a level that minimises risks to society and natural ecosystems' (ibid.). Moreover twice as many scientists contributed to this report as to the first one.

To the dismay of US scientists in the IPCC, President Bush's response to the report was 'My scientists are telling me something different to that' (ECO, issue 7, Geneva 1990). One senior official from an OECD country commented that the president could only have been talking about one scientist; White House Chief of Staff and greenhouse sceptic, John Sununu (ibid.). Sununu was responsible for the fact that the 'sceptical' view on the state of greenhouse science gained far more salience in White House deliberations than the predominant IPCC view. Hempel (1993) describes this as a 'tyranny' of a small group of scientists who had been supporting and legitimising White House policy. Bill Hare, then of the Australian Conservation Foundation, put it the following way: 'When science provided what sounded like convenient uncertainties, Mr. Bush and his camp followers demanded more science. Now science is just being ignored' (Hare 1990).

As ECO commented at the time, 'before the ink was dry on the science report we witnessed the unedifying spectacle of negotiators ignoring the science and preparing to do nothing by gutting the draft ministerial declaration to remove talk of targets and dates' (ECO, issue 7, Geneva 1990). The draft ministerial statement makes no reference whatsoever to the scientific statement of the conference, leaving civil servants to work in a 'scientific vacuum' (ECO, issue 8, Geneva 1990). The fact that the scientific statement implied that greenhouse gas reductions were needed in order to stabilise concentrations ('a continuous world-wide reduction of net CO2

emissions by 1% per year starting now would be required') (ECO, issue 9, Geneva 1990) was overlooked in the initial policy response, which mentioned the stabilisation of emissions and not concentrations of emissions (Moss 1995). Greenhouse gases can be stabilised while the build-up in concentrations continues. For many, then, the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva in November 1990 effectively marked the demise of the IPCC's earlier influence, and the handover of the issue from scientists to politicians (ECO, issue 1, Geneva 1990). The malleable nature of the advice of the scientific community to justify all manner of political positions on the issue became apparent. The interests and positions of states were becoming increasingly inflexible to the advice of the community.

In February 1991 negotiations began towards a Framework Convention on Climate Change. For some, the fact that the negotiations became necessary at all is attributable to the efforts of WG1 in emphasising the need for political action. Brenton argues that 'It is difficult to overstate the achievement of IPCC WG1 in forcing governments to focus on the climate change issue and participate seriously in the negotiations' (Brenton 1994:193, emphasis added). Likewise Jaeger and O'Riordan (1996:15) argue that 'On the basis of the strong statements made by IPCC WG1 ... negotiations for the climate convention began.'

The overall objective of the convention was to some extent determined by WG1, inasmuch as the treaty has as its aim the 'stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system' (UNFCCC 1992:Article 2). This is a scientifically determined goal and the extent to which action achieves this goal will, on one level at least, be scientifically determined. As Boehmer-Christiansen (1996:189) notes in support of her argument that the IPCC has acted primarily as a lobby for its own research interests, 'The very objective of the FCCC depends on further scientific evidence.' On this basic level, then, the convention reflects the causal beliefs of the community.

Consensus on the importance of stabilising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was 'rooted in the scientific evidence available at the time' (Moss 1995:3). The increasing emphasis, from 1990 onwards, on not awaiting greater scientific certainty before acting (Jaeger and Ferguson 1991) can be argued to have contributed to the establishment of a 'discursive norm in favour of precautionary action' (Litfin 1994:194), so that the entrenchment of the precautionary principle in the convention may be a further indication of WG1's influence. The consensus among the community in respect of this goal had been developing for some time. The Scientific and Technical Declaration made at the SWCC in 1990 stated, for example, that 'The long-term goal should be to halt the build-up of greenhouse gases at a level that minimises risks to society and natural ecosystems' (SWCC 1990:para 2; Jaeger and Ferguson 1991).

WG1 had also suggested that the convention should 'recognise climate change as a common concern of mankind and, at a minimum, contain general principles and obligations' (IPCC 1990:5). This too seems to have had a bearing on the convention in that the preamble emphasises the threat to humanity posed by climate change

(UNFCCC 1992:preamble). Although it is difficult to tell how many of these provisions would have been included in the convention in the absence ofWG1's interventions, it is clear from Boehmer-Christiansen and Skea's (1994) work that WG1 is believed to have had a large impact on the convention, particularly among government representatives.24 Brenton (1994:194) suggests that in the absence of WG1's forceful first report, it would be 'very difficult to see any substantive convention having emerged at all'. Pearce (1995b) similarly asserts without reservation that 'Scientists made the Climate Convention.'

These general observations aside, it is possible to argue that it was issues ofpoliti-cal expediency that forced the pace of the negotiations towards a convention and help to account for its content. Examples include the high public expectation that a convention would be ready for signature at United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), US election year politics, the resignation of White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, the accommodating UK position on binding targets, and a whole series of other political and economic factors that converged to quicken the pace and create intense pressure for an agreement. Indeed the process leading up to the convention's creation and final adoption was largely not driven by the advice of WG1. As Paterson (1993a: 178) notes in relation to the ongoing negotiation process, 'scientific developments . . . are now not particularly important because the importance of scientists was dependent [on the] relatively low level of politicisation of the issue' in the early stages of the regime. Hence despite the insertion of wording in the convention emphasising concerns voiced by WG1, political trade-offs and institutional factors seem to offer more by way of explanation at this stage of the policy process.

There also appears to be a great divergence between the recommendations of WG1 on the one hand, and what was actually included in the final FCCC (or has subsequently been discussed by way of obligations) on the other. Litfin (1994:193) notes that 'Despite the apparent existence of a powerful epistemic community of scientists, environmentalists and political leaders in favour of regulatory measures, such measures have yet to be adopted.' The IPCC has repeatedly stated that more radical measures are needed than have been proposed to date (Greene and Salt 1994:2). IPCC Chairman Bert Bolin reiterated at INC9 in February 1994 that the commitments in the convention did not go far enough (Rowlands 1995). In a Greenpeace International survey of the IPCC (all working groups), 62 percent of climate scientists expressed their dissatisfaction with progress in the climate negotiations.25

24 More than halfofthe government representatives in the survey stated that the impact ofthe IPCC had been high (56 percent). Interestingly, the number of IPCC report writers who felt their influence to be great was considerably lower (38 percent) (Boehmer-Christiansen and Skea 1994).

25 Eleven percent of IPCC respondents said the process was 'far too slow' and 51 percent said it was 'too slow'. Similarly 42 percent of respondents believed the work of the IPCC had not been taken seriously enough (Greenpeace International 1991b).

Moreover the Toronto declaration of 1988 had called for a 20 percent reduction in the 1988 levels of the CO2 emissions of industrialised countries by 2005. The SWCC Scientific and Technical Declaration in 1990 made clear that such reductions were possible, and in 1990 the IPCC went on to 'calculate with confidence' that CO2 reductions in the region of more than 60 percent would be required to stabilise the current concentrations of greenhouse gases. The caveat-peppered FCCC - free of binding obligations, reduction targets and timetables - that resulted, indicates the limits of the direct influence of WG1 upon climate policy. Even the Kyoto Protocol, which requires binding emission reductions from a number of governments and aims to achieve an overall cut in all greenhouse gases of 5.2 percent over the period 2008-12, is a far cry from what WG1 deems to be necessary.

According to the epistemic community hypothesis, the entrenchment of scientists in Environment Ministries enables them to influence the course of international negotiations. Delegations that included scientists during the global warming negotiations were mainly from developing states (Paterson 1994:237). Haas's expectation that there will be a linear relationship between a country's willingness to cooperate with the regime and the active participation of an epistemic community within its administration can be challenged with reference to the political dynamics of global warming.26 Despite the greater representation of scientists in developing country delegations than in developed country delegations, for example, it is notable that the equity and economic issues central to the position of many Southern states had been articulated before the scientific consensus on global warming had been firmed up by the First Assessment Report (IPCC 1990). As Paterson (1994:240) argues, 'At best, the epistemic community provided the South with an extra intellectual basis on which to argue its case, but since the disparities in emissions . . . are so obvious, no great importance can be attributed to the epistemic community on this.' Moreover, industrialised country delegations began to be dominated by Foreign Ministries, and more immediate state interests were subsequently placed above the recommendations of the scientific community. Paterson (1994:237) partly attributes this to the lack of political entrenchment of the epistemic community and therefore the ease with which it could be displaced. This shift in bureaucratic, interdepartmental power relations meant that the more influential Departments of Trade and Commerce were increasingly able to use their political weight to delay action on the issue, and to override epistemic voices.

Most of the world's leading climatologists are based in the industrialised countries of the northern hemisphere. They make up by far the largest part of the epistemic

26 Paterson (1994) notes that at the 5th Session of the INC in New York in February 1992 approximately 45 percent of industrialised country delegations were from Foreign Offices and only 34 percent were from Environment or Meteorology Departments, while 22 percent of the heads of delegations from developing countries were from Foreign Offices and 47 percent were from Environment or Meteorology Departments. Although there are differences, it is not clear that this disparity is sufficient to explain the vast divergences in the negotiating stances adopted.

community represented in WG1,27 and yet have been resolutely unable to nurture change in the policy positions oftheir respective governments, or encourage the realisation of new interests. As Litfin (1994:192) notes, 'scientific proficiency does not correlate with political leadership' on global warming. Governments with strong atmospheric science and climatological research capacities include the US, Canada and Australia (Boehmer-Christiansen 1996), all of which are broadly considered to be 'laggards' in the negotiations.28

A further factor affecting the influence of WG1 at the negotiation-bargaining stage was the presence of what might be termed policy entrepreneurs, or 'science communicators' (Susskind 1994), who enhanced the impact of the scientific conclusions of the IPCC and helped to deliver its conclusions with force. Professor Bert Bolin (chair of the IPCC), Sir John Houghton29 (chair of WG1), Bob Watson (chief scientist of the US IPCC delegation) and Roger Revelle are examples of such individuals who significantly contributed to the emergence of scientific consensus on the issue, and played a large part in forcefully projecting the IPCC's advice. It is felt, for example, that US Vice-President Al Gore's call for emissions reductions was strongly influenced by Roger Revelle (Easterbrook 1992:24). Similarly Boehmer-Christiansen (1994b) states that the British diplomat and climate scientist Sir Crispin Tickell was a key individual in influencing the position of UK Prime Minister Thatcher on the climate change issue. David Fiske, chief scientist at the Department of the Environment in the UK is also credited with some influence upon UK climate policy, as head of delegation. However the influence that one individual can have upon the overall direction of policy should not be overestimated, and the examples (above) illustrate the limits of having a representative from an epistemic community on a negotiating delegation that is not interested in pursuing further action.

In many ways it would appear that the impact of the scientific community upon the international negotiations is, to some extent, conditional on 'the perception of the possibility of joint gains by the parties in question' (Andresen 1989:49). Initially (at the agenda-setting stage) negotiating positions are not refined and joint gains are possible. As interests become more apparent, however, that perception wanes as a sense of what is politically realistic conditions the receptiveness of policy-makers to

27 Of the thirty-four lead authors involved in WG1's First Assessment Report, twenty-one came from the US and UK. Of the 300 contributing authors, just over half came from the US and UK. Similarly, groups capable of running GCMs are based in centres such as the UK Met Office, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado and the Max-Planck Institute in Hamburg (Boehmer-Christiansen and Skea 1994).

28 The US in particular is described as being 'the best informed on the status of climate science' (Boehmer-Christiansen 1996:177). The US played a large part in initiating the IPCC process and a large proportion of US participants came from state bodies such as the EPA and NASA.

Sir John Houghton is considered to be particularly responsible for the widespread perception that the WG1 had advocated immediate reductions in CO2 emissions of over 60 percent in order to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases, and more generally for emphasising the degree of certainty that exists in relation to the science (Boehmer-Christiansen 1994b).

advice. It is possible to argue, moreover, that the receptiveness of governments to scientific advice is in the process of formation before scientific advice is sought, and certainly therefore, before negotiations commence. This point is illustrated by an official White House 'Talking Points' brief, distributed to US diplomats, but obtained by NGOs at the Bergen Conference in 1990. The brief included a section entitled 'Debates to avoid', which urged delegates to advance the argument that it would not be 'beneficial to discuss whether there is or is not warming, or how much or how little warming. . . . A better approach is to raise the many uncertainties that need to be better understood on this issue' (reproduced in ECO, issue 7, Geneva 1990).

The experience of climate policy in the EU also highlights this process. From 1986 EC energy policy emphasised energy efficiency and other 'no-regrets' measures, which went on to provide the interpretive framework for the advice of climate scientists (Liberatore 1994). In these cases, scientific advice is used to support and legitimise policies and goals that are already in place; to reinforce what is 'politically and economically palatable' (ibid.:198). These frames of interpretation are of course continually contested by new inputs of advice, but it is reasonable to argue that government positions are not as open to definition by experts as epistemic community accounts imply. What latitude does exist at this stage of the policy process may not be subject to the persuasions of scientists from WG1. The influence of WG1 with particular governments is at least partly a factor of the degree of 'negotiating space' available to states. As ECO stated bluntly, 'All the computer models in the world will not make a Swiss Franc of difference to governments who simply want to sell all the oil the world can be persuaded to buy' (ECO, issue 7, Geneva 1990). Conversely, states that benefit from the findings ofWG1 are keen to project its findings in policy debates. Amelia Dulce Supertran of the Environment Ministry in the Philippines, argues that 'The work of the IPCC has a great deal of influence upon Philippino climate policy . . . we are pushing very strongly for the use of the IPCC reports because we are experiencing some of the impacts [of climate change] now.'30

'Laggard' states (Porter and Brown 1991) in the climate change debate have drawn upon the opinions of dissenting scientists outside WG1. In other words, the work of WG1 has not formed the key source of advice for many states. The Bush administration in particular was singled out for criticism in this respect (Hempel 1993; Rowlands 1995). As Hempel (1993:214) notes in relation to US climate politics, 'a small but influential group of scientists, all greenhouse sceptics, repeatedly advised policy-makers to deter action on the climate issue'. The availability of external challenges to WG1's interpretation ofclimate science, and the ability ofscientists who do not subscribe to the WG1 consensus to highlight gaps and uncertainties, has made it easier for governments to cite reports that bolster policy positions that go against the recommendations of Working Group 1.

A further limitation on the influence ofWG1 at this stage of the policy process is that its advice fails to map out definite ways forward in terms of policy direction,

30 Interview with Supertran, Geneva, 16 July 1996.

apart from vague recommendations about sensitivity to North—South asymmetries and the need for a global instrument to tackle climate change. As noted above, WG1 has not been as proactive as the AGGG or other scientific groups were in the mid-1980s in calling for specific targets or courses of action. Indeed, as argued above, some of its influence derives from its ability to offer advice that appeals to the broadest possible constituency, achieved by making only very general recommendations. Whilst WG1 may be able to advise on the science of climate change, it is not able to inform decisions about how much global warming is socially acceptable. To return to the question of what constitutes a 'dangerous' level of climate change, Moss (1995:3) observes that 'scientists can assist in helping to identify exposure-effect relationships. . . . But determination of ''dangerous'' is not solely a scientific process: it involves judgements about what attributes of ecosystems and human activities are most highly valued and what level of change can be considered critical.' These more overtly political questions, which the negotiations are designed to address, are beyond the scope of WG1's mandate.

This section has provided a snapshot of the influence of WG1. The advice of WG1 is continually (re)setting the agenda, as borne out by the impact of its Second Assessment Report (IPCC 1995). The added pressure generated by the report, which was understood to imply that the existing commitments were inadequate, may have prompted the adoption of the Geneva Declaration at COP2 (the Second Conference of the Parties to the Convention), which called for further measures in the form of a protocol 'or other legal instrument' (Newell and Paterson 1996). It may also have provided an extra impetus to the negotiations towards the Kyoto Protocol. As argued earlier, demands for particular types of advice change over time with the shifting perceptions and needs of policy-makers.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

Always wanted to get a better deal but didn't have the needed negotiation skills? Here are some of the best negotiation theories. The ability to negotiate is a skill which everyone should have. With the ability to negotiate you can take charge of your life, your finances and your destiny. If you feel that others are simply born with the skill to negotiate, you should know that everyone can learn this wonderful skill.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment