WATERLOO, Canada — December 18, 2013 — The United Nations climate change negotiation process is in need of “a radical re-think,” to avoid future generations paying a heavy price for failure and inaction, according to a new policy brief from the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
In Climate Change, a Dead Horse and Realpolitik, CIGI Senior Fellow Barry Carin writes that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiation process on climate finance “has become the dead horse that climate negotiators will not stop flogging. Twenty years of effort has brought very limited action.”
Carin proposes a new incremental approach that is more congruent with national self-interest. He writes: “Substantive results on dealing with the climate change problem could be achieved if the focus was on issues for which cooperation and collective action are possible.”
Carin’s other recommendations on the UNFCCC process include the following feasibility criteria:
- A global climate agreement will be impossible to achieve if developing countries insist on unconditional financial transfers from rich countries
- Negotiators must seek synergies, where initiatives satisfy other national priorities at the same time that they provide emission reductions as co-benefits
- Substantive agreement is as unlikely in the G20 as it is in the UNFCCC; the way forward is through a “bottom-up” approach that combines regional or bilateral deals between major nations
- A “clever” approach to compliance is required: “Perhaps the best hope will be a China-US agreement on standards, exploiting World Trade Organization auspices to authorize border tax adjustments based on national treatment.”
For more information on Climate Change, a Dead Horse and Realpolitik, including a free PDF download, visit: http://www.cigionline.org/publications/2013/12/climate-change-dead-horse-and-realpolitik.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Barry Carin has served in a number of senior official positions in the Government of Canada and played an instrumental role in developing the initial arguments for the G20 and a leader’s level G20. A senior fellow at CIGI, Barry brings institutional knowledge and experience to his research on the G20, international development, energy and climate change.
Declan Kelly, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7356, Email: [email protected]
The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.