Individual Research Paper: Global Climate Talks
Key Issues in Global Climate Talks
In the midst of 19th century, the realization began to stem up that the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has led to the creation of the greenhouse effect. This greenhouse effect piloted an overall increase in the temperature of the planet. In the middle of the 20th century, it became clear that due to the human activity, there is a significant increase the production of these games and the "global warming" has become an accelerated process. If this situation is not handled properly it can have devastating consequences. As of today, almost all scientists agree that there should be an effort to stop and reverse this. This effort to achieve this mission has already begun, but, there is still a long way to go forward (Clark, 2012).
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After the Rio Earth Summit in mind of 1992, Climate Change Framework Convention of the United Nations (UNFCCC) was established with an aim to steady the green gas concentration. UNFCCC has almost 195 member countries or signatories. However, the major flaw in UNCFCCC was that it not only lacked enforcement methods, but also had no limits set for countries (Schaefer, 2010).
After rigorous efforts and negotiations, the climate champions led to the Kyoto protocol. This requires its member nations to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by an average of 5.2% below 1990 level till 2012. A total of 37 industrialized states and European community signed this protocol. As a result of that it became an international law in 2005. However, this protocol focused mainly on the industrialized states, while the other countries agreed to achieve efficiency and reduce deforestation. US did sign that treaty, but it was not approved from the US senate. Infect, senate passed a bill not to enter into that treaty, since it can hurt economic growth of the country. Serious efforts were made to make US agree to it, but still not material (Cohen, 2013).
The United Nations Climate Change Conference at Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009 was a part of effort to bring countries, especially, US to agree. This was one of high-flying conferences, since Obama participated and he had committed in the election campaign that US might be a leader in climate change. This conference discussed the deforestation, climate adaption, etc. However, it again was a failure; since, it also had no binding clauses. They hyped Obama promised a reduction of greenhouse gases by 17%, the lowest among nations, till 2020 (United Nation, 2014).
In 2012, the United Nations Climate Change Conference Doha, Qatar, all parties agreed to continue with the Kyoto protocol till 2020. This conference was also a failure, since no progress was made (United Nation, 2014).
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio 20+ held in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro was not more than a reminder to 20 years old earth summit (1992). The result of this conference was no more than a non-binding document. There were some European states which have reduced emissions. On the other hand, some analysis says that this reduction was because of economic crisis rather than actual efforts (Harvey, 2013).
Realist and Liberal Institutionalism Views of International Institutions
Warsaw pact in 2013 can also be regarded as one of the conferences promoting protection of climate change. This gave the country time to publish their plan until the first quarter of 2015. This conference is also filled up with many promises, but one hopes that it materializes (Harvey, 2013).
As per the realist school of thought, the countries use these international organizations for their own interest (Smit, 2011). One found this quite evident from the conferences held and promises made. The US did approve the Kyoto protocol, but it was not enforced to reduce emissions. USA is largest donor to UN, when US senate passed the bill against the US to reduce emissions as it would impede the economic growth (Schaefer, 2010). UN was not able to pressurize. There is barely any intuitional interference in enforcing it. Moreover, though these conferences have many promises, yet, it had no enforcing clause, this was one of failures of these efforts. It can primarily be because; the reduction in emission can be against economic growth. EU though agreed to a reduction in greenhouse gases. Again it was not able to endorse; few states showed reduction in emission, but critics regard this reduction as a result of economic crisis. In whole, these intuitions are revolving around country’s interest. Usually these intuitions are made to serve the group interest in world politics and these are controlled by one or two big states. These states are powerful and handle whole intuitions; if there is something that is against the interest of these states, that accord is not successful For instance, UN provides its 5 permanent members with use Veto power. Critics argue that the use of the veto is against democracy and serving self interest; since, if all 192 states agree and one permanent member veto, the resolution is not accepted (Wong, 2012).
The liberal school of thought relates to the function of these international organizations to achieve international cooperation through achievement of collective gain. In the case of a reduction in the greenhouse gases and success of the talks, this school of thought appears to be taking idealistic approach. Though international organizations like UN and EU are playing an important part in bringing the states on the same page; but, they fail to make them agree. It means these states are working n principle of self-interest. If this organization was to be working in the principle of the liberal school of thought they would have any enforcing and binding laws. Within these conferences, the predominant conferences, ended up without having any binding and enforcing laws (European Commission, 2013). The European Union brought all the European states on same plate form; it can be related as a success. However, it was not able to enforce the states to follow the treaty and reduce those emissions. United States, one of the largest contributor to eh global warming, did sign the protocol but, United Nations were not able to force to reduce the carbon emission (Clark, 2012). Addition to the weaknesses of organizations, the protocols also seems to be not powerful enough to enforce countries. These protocols also didn’t have any clause to bind its members, and almost every conference ended up being on paper actions and promises.
Clark, D. (2012, July). Which Nations Are Most Responsible For Climate Change? The Guardian , 1-4.
Cohen, S. (2013, Summer). The Irrelevance of Global Climate Talks. Americas Quarterly , 1-6.
European Commission. (2013, November 23). Press Release Database. Retrieved April 10, 2014, from http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-1044_en.htm
Harvey, F. (2013, November). Warsaw climate talks set 2015 target for plans to curb emissions. The Guardian , 1-5.
Schaefer, B. D. (2010, August). U.S. Funding of the United Nations Reaches All-Time High. The Heritage Foundation , 1-3.
Smit, J. (2011). Review: Andrew Heywood, Global Politics. New York, USA: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011. Academia , 1-5.
United Nation. (2014). Global Issues . Retrieved April 10, 2014, from https://www.un.org/en/globalissues/climatechange/
Wong, N. (2012, july). China’s Veto On Syria: What Interests Are at Play? Open Democracy , 1-3.
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