Shifting Powers and International Climate Norms Dr Rowena Maguire
Background on Climate Change Regime Mitigation Adaptation • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992 • Kyoto Protocol 1997 • Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions of Developing Countries 2009. • Bali Action Plan 2007 • Cancun Adaptation Framework 2010
Challenges in Climate Change Regime • Mitigation • Prevent warming beyond 2 degrees objective: Cancun Agreement. • Report by UNEP: The Emissions Gap Report: 2.5 – 5 degree warming expected if Copenhagen objectives implemented. • Adaptation • Scaled up new and additional funding to assist in responding to climate change. • Fund should meet the full cost of adaptation and should be flexible enough to take into account the interest of participating countries.
Ethical considerations • Getting the balance right: Who should bear the responsibility /liability for costs of mitigation/adapting climate change? Factors to consider • Historical emissions or current emissions; • Capacity and Technology to implement; • Most pragmatic way forward.
Climate Change and Justice Climate change is chiefly an issue of (in)justice, since it has been caused by rich nations and poses risks upon the poor, who are the least responsible and the most vulnerable to the damages and risk associated with it.
Climate Justice Arguments • The disconnection between those responsible for climate change and those who will feel the impacts of climate change. • The capacity of those likely to feel the impact of climate change and their lack of resources to respond to such change. • The rights to development seen as necessary by developing countries to ensure economic growth in their regions and the emissions associated with industrial forms of economic growth. • The nature of climate change requires cooperative pragmatic action by all States; such cooperation will require solutions that are perceived as being just in nature by major players.
Shifting Powers and Climate Change • Number of economies in transition: Brazil, South Africa, India and China. • With economic growth comes increase in global GHG emission contributions.
China Economic Growth • Predicted that China will see a 30 fold increase in GDP/capita between 2000 and 2050. • China will be world’s largest economy by 2025: :Asian Development Bank Prediction Emission Growth • China responsible for 58% in increase of carbon emission worldwide between 2000 – 2006. • Estimated that by 2030 – China will contribute 25% of global GHG emission contributions.
India Economic Growth • Average rate of 6% growth over the past decade. • National poverty rate has halved from 36% to 18% - however higher consumption having serious impact on India’s natural resources. Emission Growth • Accounted for 3% of global emissions in 1994. • Likely to see increase in emissions due to economic growth – though India has range of sustainable development which should result in benign GHG growth rate.
International Climate Norm • The concept of common but differentiated responsibility adopts a substantive approach to justice by recognising that different groups before the law require different rights and responsibilities. As such, the principle recognises: • The common responsibility of countries to protect the environment; • The differing contributions of countries to climate change; and • The differing abilities of countries to prevent, reduce and control the threat of climate change.
CBDR – Current Climate Instruments • UNFCCC: Article 3(1) • The parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof. • Kyoto Protocol: • Article 3 and 4 : Provisions that make emission reduction commitments binding – only apply to Annex I parties. • Article 10: CBDR – creates cooperation obligations for all parties, but not specific obligations for non-Annex 1 parties.
Political Shifts – Mitigation Pledges • Political negotiations: • Copenhagen and Cancun COP: saw shift to “bottom up” policy development which can be contrasted from “top down” approach taken under Kyoto Protocol. • Specific Mitigation pledges from 80 countries (including all the world’s major emitters). • Stockholm Environment Institute: developing countries are pledging to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by more than their developed country counterparts.
CBDR – Future Climate Instruments • Legal meaning of CBDR contentious: • Common responsibility – all countries must play a role. • Defining this role for developing countries – what takes higher priority: • Poverty abatement • Emission mitigation • My view: “differentiated responsibility” is important • Evidence that shift is already occurring so that all countries contribute to GHG emission abatement. • Differentiated responsibility – recognises ethical, equitable and justice considerations of climate change.
Institutional Change:2012 and Beyond Regime Durban Negotiations • Future Operation of the regime – the “Kyoto Gap” • Current targets under Kyoto run out without new commitments agreed to their place. • Legal status of Kyoto Protocol in this situation: • Components of agreement may continue (even in absence of new emission reduction targets). • Some parts may not operate • Countries may agree to temporary arrangements (extending operation period).
Future Climate Instrument • Majority of countries agree that a legally binding instrument is required. • New legally binding agreement under the UNFCCC; • Amendments to Kyoto Protocol Non- Legally Binding Option • Political agreement to extend Kyoto for limited time while negotiations are finalised.
Economic Shift – Funding • UNFCCC and KP • Clean Development Mechanism : drove investment in China and India for emission reduction activities. • Economies in transition were recipients of climate investment and aid donor funds. Post 2012 Regime • least developed countries – priority for funding (Africa and small island developing states) • Adaptation Funding: see previous recipients of donor money, now making contributions.
Conclusions • Growing global population both in number and wealth leading to significant increase of GHG emissions. • Re-interpretation of climate obligations /norms • End of first commitment period of 2012 • Climate mitigation and adaption obligations • Climate Justice Movement: ethical and pragmatic action required. • Economies in transition: obligations for these countries • Politically acceptable to all parties.