This section briefly discusses a number of positional factors that affect the ability of environmental groups to define the international agenda on global warming. The assets that groups may be said to possess and the restraints on their ability to exercise influence are discussed here at a high level of generality. Specific contexts are explored in more detail in the subsequent sections.
One factor that militates against environmental groups is the ineffectiveness of the institutions set up to coordinate international environmental action, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which is both under-resourced and relatively powerless in the overall structure of the United Nations machinery (Conca 1993,1995; McCormick 1993). Given also that the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) process encouraged groups to formulate common positions and suppress differences of opinion (Chatterjee and Finger 1994), the different perspectives that the diverse groups campaigning on the climate issue bring to bear at international meetings do not necessarily filter through to policy-makers.
Despite the fact that there has been close coordination ofthe efforts ofall the major groups campaigning on the issue of climate change,11 accommodating the perspectives of so many groups and coordinating effective campaigns amid this diversity is ridden with problems that impinge on the overall influence of a coalition. One way in which CAN has coped with this has been to create regional climate networks.12 This is particularly important for Weir, who notes that 'global warming is too large an issue for campaigning to be effective unless there is simultaneous pressure at all levels'.13 Regional and international coalitions have been able to strengthen the position of NGOs campaigning primarily at the national level (Hawkins 1993; Porter and Brown 1991).14 The breadth of concerns captured by such a coalition can also be regarded as a positive asset. CAN contains a wealth of diverse expertise: World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) climate change campaign has focused on the negative effects on biodiversity (Markham 1994; WWF 1996); Greenpeace has sought to emphasise the human impacts of climate change (1994a); and the EDF's global
10 Questionnaire from Weir (1996).
11 Questionnaires from Sharma (1996), Leggett (1996), Weir (1996), Kinrade (1996), Spencer (1996), Stanford (1996), Huq (1996).
12 For example CANLA (Latin America) CNA (Africa) CANSA (South Asia) CANSEA (South-East Asia) and CNE (Climate Network Europe).
13 Questionnaire from Weir (1996).
14 For an overview of the needs, forms and problems of cross-national cooperation among environmental groups see Rucht (1993).
atmospheric programme boasts the largest assemblage of scientists, economists and lawyers of any national NGO working on climate change.15
Unlike its industry counterparts such as the World Coal Institute and the Global Climate Coalition, the CAN network does not have a permanent institutional base. The CAN coordinator is an appointed member of one of the member groups with the resources and back-up to perform the function. Moreover there are very few groups campaigning exclusively on climate change, and those that do exist are poorly resourced (for example the Global Commons Institute). CAN enjoys a collective global membership of twenty million people (ECO, issue 6, August 1994). This forms the basis of CAN's claim to speak for a constituency beyond its own organisation alone, to represent the public interest to a greater degree than other non-state actors.
In the sections below, the political impact of environmental NGOs is considered at different stages of the policy process, from agenda-setting through to implementation.
Was this article helpful?
Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.