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Climate Capitalism Pages Newell, Peter et al. When South Africa hosted the Conference of Parties in , its refrain of "an open, transparent, inclusive and party-driven process" was a mantra that actually seemed to drive procedures. In fact, corridor complaints more often focused on the lack of smaller group negotiations that could move negotiations faster than the full group could.
After the Copenhagen meeting, the BASIC countries also took pains to insist that they planned to remain part of the G as it negotiated within multilateral meetings, given open breaks in the G in Copenhagen and since, they have also reiterated their desire to strengthen the coalition.
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The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the unity of the G and China as the common voice of developing countries in the climate change negotiations. The declining prominence of the G in negotiations can be seen in a recent set of surveys of participants in the climate negotiations between and The continued alliance of the G countries is something of a puzzle. There is no question that various groups within the G have different concrete interests with respect to climate change. The comparatively industrialized countries of BASIC are major current contributors to greenhouse gases although still less historically than the developed countries and worry about the economic impacts of climate action.
The G countries had remained remarkably unified despite these differences Barnett ; Depledge , but the Copenhagen conference saw the first open splits among them, as some of the most vulnerable countries began to challenge the BASIC countries to do more to reduce emissions.
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Most observers agree that the G members have a larger negotiation role with the BASIC countries among them than they would otherwise, while the larger BASIC countries have increased leverage from their position as leaders of the developing world Williams , 55; Hallding et al. In both of their meetings, they have repeated that point: "Ministers emphasized that BASIC countries, as part of the G and China, continue to work to maintain and strengthen the unity of the group. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the unity of the G and China as the common voice of developing countries in the climate change negotiations" Joint Statement of the 11 th Meeting of Ministers, July The right to develop: financial resources and transfer of technology.
The Southern countries of the G have historically seen international negotiations as a place where they can pressure for assistance in their national development, and even evaluate environmental negotiations on these grounds Najam , On the theme of financial assistance for development, the BASIC countries and the G often share the same preferences in climate negotiations. Consequently, the greater power and visibility of the BASIC coalition generally supports G proposals in the negotiations where they might otherwise be overwhelmed by the much stronger economic forces of Northern countries.
Once funds of various kinds are set up, however, the interests of the two groups diverge, especially when private actors are involved. The BASIC countries are aware of these problems and have made some efforts to address them in the negotiations. Several of them have also begun to play a modest, but novel, role as donors of technical and financial assistance to poorer Southern countries.
As discussed above, the origin of the G lies in its members' common aspirations for national development and their conviction that multilateral negotiations should further that aim.
Exploring how responsing to climate change can build peace and security in South Asia
Yet any climate action or inaction clashes with how some parts of the G define their development prospects. Reducing emissions is a challenge to the interests of OPEC and other fossil fuel producers, which have insisted that some of the adaptation funds come to it to help in its diversification from fossil fuel extraction. LDCs' agricultural economies and the very physical existence of small island states depend on climate action Barnett Despite this conflict of interest, all members of the G including the BASIC countries have been able to articulate some common interests in maintaining the right to develop and seeking financial and technological support from the North for that development.
In the climate arena in particular, these general agreements have led to a strong, shared focus on states having an equal right to develop. The BASIC countries have framed their demands in terms of a global carbon budget, where quotas of carbon emissions must be distributed in ways that allow all countries the space for development. In their view, this requires a serious and prior effort by developed countries to reduce their own emissions so that developing countries may emit the greenhouse gases that accompany their own development.
This demand has been made in all of their Joint Statements from the Ministerial meetings, and continues to be a non-negotiable starting point.
After Cancún - Climate Governance or Climate Conflicts | Elmar Altvater | Springer
They have so far granted less open attention to the arguments of others that suggest their own emissions need to be curtailed for the development aspirations of others e. The BASIC countries have consistently articulated and supported the G's permanent demands for more financial and technological assistance from the North, saying that Southern mitigation and adaptation activities depend on it. Here, the BASIC countries have tended to articulate very similar preferences to those of the G as a whole, including "opposing donor dominance in international financial mechanisms and preferring rights-based claims to resource transfers, rather than traditional 'assistance'" Vihma, Mulugetta, and Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen , They have insisted that climate finance include new and additional funds rather than displacing current development assistance, and supported the G preference for public, rather than private, sources of funds that follow national recipient preferences.
Figuring out whether funds are in fact "new and additional" will require quite complicated calculations Stadelmann, Roberts, and Michaelowa Starting with their October meeting and repeatedly since, the BASIC Ministers have moved to ever stronger language insisting that the money must come, showing steadily more impatience with the North's slowness in acting on its "obligation" to fund Southern action, especially for adaptation.
The Green Climate Board is meeting for the first time in August In addition, they have repeatedly stressed that the reporting mechanisms must be standardized and transparent. In some ways, the interests of the G have been strengthened by this support from the economically more powerful BASIC countries. Especially in contrast to Northern countries, they share similar ideas about how the funding should take place. The BASIC countries also can put more pressure on the North by conditioning their own mitigation action on this financing, a situation that some read as blackmail Harris At the same time, the presence of quickly-developing countries like the BASIC countries in the G may complicate the situation.
In Timmons Roberts' view, the intertwining of the climate issue with US fears that it is losing its hegemonic status to China will prevent any easy resolution to questions like a just distribution of carbon space Roberts Whatever the long-term structural and geopolitical implications of the rise of the BASIC countries, more prosaic conflicts of interest are already apparent between the BASIC countries and the rest of the G The most important source of funding for climate action to this point is the Clean Development Mechanism CDM , created through the Kyoto Protocol to allow developed countries to meet some of their climate mitigation targets through financing mitigation efforts in developing countries Lecocq and Ambrosi Along with South Africa's 0.
A similar situation has emerged with technology and technology transfer, another key demand of the G in the climate negotiations. Extensions of that technology outside of the major technology powers go disproportionately to the BASIC countries.
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Despite all the calls for licensing of such technology to developing countries, there is still very little of it in the climate area, although it is not rarer than in other industries. Investors reported that they made such licensing agreements with countries that had significant infrastructure and human capital, presented favorable market conditions and investment climates, and protected intellectual property rights UNEP, European Patent Office, and ICTSD , 7.
Thus it is the BASIC countries and some similar ones that are also the main actors from the developing world in the realm of technology and patents, while many members of the G fall short. The BASIC countries are beginning to play larger roles as donors to other countries, obviously a new departure for countries that were and are still recipients of development assistance themselves Draher and Nunnenkamp ; Kragelund ; Woods Here I describe the varying positions of each on development assistance and climate action and briefly examine their collective action.
South Africa is among the most ready of the BASIC countries to make binding commitments to mitigate its climate emissions and has been expressing willingness to move in that direction since the mids Vihma, Mulugetta, and Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen , President Zuma made the commitment publicly in Copenhagen, pledging an ambitious target for action that his negotiating team thought would be his final, not first, offer. Its usual development assistance has been oriented to its region, but has been truncated in the wake of recent weak economic growth instead of expanding to cover climate Kragelund , Speaking to a hostile Indian parliament, he told parliamentarians why he had not insisted India receive priority for climate funding: "Green technology is an area where India can be a world leader [ A country like India should be able to stand on its own feet and say we will do what we have to do on our own" Dubash , Indian negotiators at Durban, however, had backed away from such arguments and now strongly stated that their poor country could not be expected to take on the economic development costs of solving the climate change problem.
Despite these stances, India does offer development assistance, with a special focus on its neighbors and technical assistance. Other initiatives, especially in Africa, aim to promote trade and investment Kragelund , Of the four, China and Brazil are the most interesting transitional cases. In climate negotiations, the Chinese are reluctant to publicly accept a "responsible power" role that they adopt more enthusiastically in other settings Scott Actual Chinese development assistance is difficult to sort out, not least because Chinese accounting is quite different from the OECD's.
Funds distributed through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation since it began in have mostly fallen into categories that the OECD would not count as official development aid. The aid has not been analyzed for its relationship to climate change mitigation or adaptation, but much of it falls in the category of "infrastructure projects including roads, power plants and telecommunications" Kragelund , Of the four BASIC countries, Brazil has made the most explicit statements promising climate assistance, during the Copenhagen meetings.
Lula came to the high-level segment of the meeting with a Brazilian pledge to take action to mitigate its climate emissions, and said that Brazil would not need the world's resources to do so. He went beyond this statement in an informal plenary the next day apparently without pre-approval from the Ministry of External Relations , offering that Brazil would give climate assistance to others if that offer would help to break the diplomatic logjam. As with the other BASIC countries, it is difficult to put a dollar figure on total Brazilian development assistance, much less climate assistance.
Brazilian climate-related assistance is most apparent in the technical cooperation agreements that form a significant part of this assistance.
A branch of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Embrapa in Panama studies biofuels, and Brazil also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States to disseminate biofuels technology. Some scientists and activists have maintained that sugarcane-based biofuels actually contribute to the stocks of greenhouse gases once the full life cycle of the fuel and associated land-use change are considered Dauvergne and Neville ; Fargione, Hill, Tilman, Polasky, and Hawthorne ; Scharlemann and Laurance Beyond their individual efforts, there are even more incipient collective initiatives from the same countries in their other formations.
These fund small-scale projects in the poorest countries, and have not touched on climate issues White Very basic questions like who will be eligible for loans from this bank are still under discussion.
The member countries have used their own national development banks quite differently, so it is likely to take some time for the bank to operate effectively. The G has been an important negotiating coalition for developing countries for almost 50 years, and has coordinated their positions on climate change for 20 years.
High legalization also strengthens compliance and lowers transaction costs. However, high legalization comes with costs to sovereignty — states are unwilling to accept international authority in areas of high national importance, such as security or migration policies, as they lose control over regulation Abbott and Snidal, ; Kahler, : Further, states often opt for less binding commitments because they value flexibility to deal with changing circumstances, and high legalization makes future changes in policy more costly Guzman, : In a similar vein, Kratochwil : , notes the increasing tendency of states to generate soft law as it allows states to shorten negotiation time, retain control of implementation and mitigate domestic dissent.
In short, there is a constant trade-off between making strong, precise, credible commitments and having discretion to deal with future uncertainty and limit sovereignty costs. Meanwhile, others have argued that there are general and particularistic affecting some states more than others uncertainties, which result in diverse forms of flexibility Thompson, In summary, there are many potential ways that obligation, precision, uncertainty, flexibility and sovereignty costs could interact.
The scholarship has not yet found a firm response to key relationships; from the literature, we derive the following:. Proposition 1: High uncertainty and low sovereignty costs lead to low precision and high obligation. The distribution of preferences among states over an issue and the ease of reaching an agreement is another critical dimension Hafner-Burton et al. When state preferences are highly asymmetric, we are less likely to have an international agreement with high precision and obligation Kahler, : These issues will also be influenced by the number of Parties to an agreement and the preferences for legalization of the most powerful states Kahler, : High legalization occurs if the most powerful state s is in favour of it.