An Observer Role is Not A Staring Role

n

Although the COP20 was a couple months ago, one moment of clear inequity will be an indelible memory in my mind. In our climate change governance course, we learned that indigenous peoples had an observer’s status at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences. However, there’s always a difference between reading about something and actually seeing the thing you read about. Six of my classmates and I were fortunate enough to attend the COP20 as observers for the first week. I didn’t realize just how fortunate we were until I was interviewing an Amazonian indigenous chief. He discussed how difficult it was for him to gain access to the COP and how he was the only one representing his entire community. I looked down at my tag and then looked at his, I felt extremely guilty and wanted to tear the blue lanyard from my neck and hand it over to him. This chief, who’s highly respected amongst his peers and was fighting for his rights, had the same role as me. An observer.

He was at the COP to create awareness and  protect his lands from being further threatened by REDD+, land claims and deforestation. While, I was at the conference for an undergraduate research project to gather information about his situation. This situation felt so unfair. In negotiations, delegates and members of the World Bank would discuss the future of the Amazon territory, while Amazonian indigenous peoples could only observe the discussion about the lands they inhabit. In addition, when the room was full or the negotiators did not want to answer any questions, all the observers were asked to leave the room, meaning they couldn’t even observe negotiations. Indigenous peoples are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change since they often depend on the environment for their livelihood. Hence, I believe that indigenous peoples should have full participation in negotiations to express their concerns and situation.

Although, this video below is a little off topic, I thought it’s message was really interesting!

The Life of a Climate Change Groupie

n

My week at the COP20 in Lima was a completely different experience than I had ever imagined. I am normally a relatively shy person when it comes to approaching strangers, but in order to succeed in getting interviews, I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. So the first question I faced was how on earth do I get these intelligent, busy and experienced people to talk to me?  From my time at the COP, I found several successful ways to score an interview. The first approach was stopping at any information booth that had to do with our topics. We began asking the booth operators what their organization was and from there we evaluated whether interviewing them could help us further our research. Most of our potential interviewees informed us that they “weren’t the person to interview” and handed us a business card of “someone that could help us with our research”. However later we learned the chances of the mysterious business card person e-mailing us back was a fifty, fifty chance. We were lucky with some of our booth-approach interviews for we were able to talk with the Head of Climate Alliance, a Peruvian indigenous chief, a scientist who worked on the REDD+ monitoring technology and other NGOS.

Another interview approach is something I call the after-side-event-creep.  The technique consists of attending specific side events and waiting until the speakers have finished talking. Then you approach them (often more awkwardly than I participated) and then say “Hi I really loved your talk! Is there anyway I could ask you a few questions for my undergraduate research”. This mechanism I found to be more successful, but it does allow for the occasional embarrassing interview strike out. With this approach, I learned several lessons to be a successful climate change groupie- One: you must be fast. The speaker often has a line of fellow climate change groupies that that tend to shoot you death glares if you take too much time in your interview. Also there is a press for time because the room is often booked for another event directly afterwards, so the speakers leave the room quickly before you have time to chat with them. Two: you must pick your interviewee wisely. Often you want to chat with all the panelists, but usually there is only time to interview one person. So it’s important to evaluate which panelist could provide you with the most vital information and which panelist most likely to agree to an interview. Three:  have your equipment ready. For the first couple interviews, our equipment was all over the place, creating obstacles for everyone around us. We learned to have tripod ready with the camera attached, so again the interview did not take too much time. This approach was the most groupie-like, but by the end of the week I felt like we had almost perfected the process.

Lastly is the luck-of-the-draw approach. A great deal of the strongest connections I made occurred randomly without the help of my detailed schedule. Due to circumstance and timing, I was able to chat with people who provided me with valuable input on my research. The first day at the COP sat next to a man on the bus who worked on REDD+ projects in Indonesia, which provided me with information on how Indonesia differs from the Amazon.  Another interview only occurred because I dropped a pamphlet and the man sitting next to me picked it up and then began discussing the event. He use was a key member of Leave It In the Group and I had a 30 minute long interview with him.  My classmate and I also met an undergraduate from Northeastern who we later met up with an discussed our concerns about REDD+ and Indigenous communities.

From taking undercover selfies with Christiana Figures to following a man who resembled the past President of Peru to memorizing the faces of delegates from photos on the Internet to trying to strike up conversations at the printer, the Week 1 team were successful climate change groupies.

Sustainable Development Reborn From The Ashes of Climate Change

sustainable development and natural resources blog rahul

From the predicted heat waves lasting for 100 years to the Arctic Ice melting by 2080 to islands in Pacific being completely submerged, climate change’s projected future outcomes seem dire. The pressing issues generated from climate change poses serious threats for millions around the globe. However, the projected gloomy future could further the development in sustainability. Sustainable energy is often seen as alternative energy source, but in order to counteract climate change, a transition away from a fossil fuel based energy system is needed. Although climate change is inherently destructive, the dangers from climate change have furthered development in for sustainability and depending on future negotiations, the prospects for sustainable development should be accelerated due to an increased demand for alternative energy.

First of all, if climate change did not result in significant risks or simply did not exist, there would be not necessarily be a need to develop sustainable energy. Unfortunately, the human-induced green house gas emissions result in an imbalance in Earth’s climate systems.  This imbalance has called for reform in many different sanctions in climate change negotiations. As policies become more restrictive with CO2 emissions, the demand for alternative energy sources should increase because there will be a need to utilize less carbon intensive energy sources. In areas where the current global energy system is lacking, renewable energy is well suited. For example, sustainable energy’s benefits range from: providing energy to some of the poorest regions to improving human health to creating new jobs. In particular, the major benefit is that it avoids adding more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which will have long-term benefits in counteracting climate change. The wide array of benefits from sustainable energy and the increase in demand for sustainable energy to achieve climate goals has resulted in climate change furthering development in sustainability.

Although the energy demand is currently concentrated on carbon emitting sources, the risks from climate changes have already resulted in a shift towards renewables and projected outcomes indicate advancement in renewables. Specifically, a trend towards renewables has already begun for renewable shares have “jumped from 5% in 2003 to 23% in 2008” (Sawin and Moomaw 2009). In addition, areas ranging in size and location are implementing sustainable developments by increasing energy efficiency and utilizing renewables. The current increasing trends are projected to extend seen in the global energy scenarios that show “a gradual shift to renewables” and hypothetically, “a transformation or step-change in how the world produces and uses energy” (Sawin and Moomaw 2009). In order to meet the suggested climate change emissions targets in the IPCC, a need for renewable energy may increase.

It is key to note that climate change will negatively impact various aspects, which includes the development of sustainability.  The threats from climate change are and will cause economic, social and political strain. Due to finances, some developed nations will be less vulnerable and have the funds to further sustainability. Whereas, some developing nations do not have the funds to invest in expensive sustainable resources and need to focus available funds to alleviate climate change damage, limiting sustainable development.  Fortunately, there are several strategies that can help solve the issues around implementing sustainability. One strategy is implementing a carbon tax, which would raise fuel prices and encourage the transition to alternative energy.  Another possible strategy is for developed nations to provide finances for sustainable development in developing regions. An additional strategy is ratifying more aggressive short and long-term policies that will help eliminate the support for fossil fuels. Overall, sustainability has is weaknesses, but it is necessary in transitioning away from fossil fuel emissions.

The need for sustainable development would not be as pressing if our current fossil fuel energy system did not have lasting and negative impacts on the planet. Climate change could undermine economic and social goals, but if negotiations are successful there could be a development in sustainability.  As conditions worsen, there will hopefully be more stringent carbon emission reductions. Hence, if future negotiations are progressive there could be a movement towards further developing suitability and moving away from carbon-emitting energy sources.

Work Cited

Sawin & Moomaw, Renewable revolution: low-carbon energy by 2030, Worldwatch Institute, 2009.

 

DC Trip – A Wide Array of Climate Change

n
Last week the members of Dickinson’s Climate Change Mosaic was lucky enough to engage in valuable discussions with a wide range of climate change related actors, including: Tom Lovejoy, Bill Breed, John Holdren, Jacob Scherr, Mike MacCraken, Mike MacCracken, Dallas Butraw and many other highly regarded individuals. Although these private, public and governmental actors had careers focused in differentiated climate-related fields, their talks involved a common expected theme.  This theme was the how to approach future issues surrounding with climate change and it’s governance.
1656360_10152745632697180_7820822687734819034_n
In which, Lovejoy’s solution was to restore vegetation, allowing for carbon sequestration through natural processes. Lovejoy explained that if restoration is implemented at a large scale, global temperatures could decrease by 0.6 degrees.  One of his recommended mechanism was for everyone to plant a tree, allowing for carbon sequestration.  Whereas Daniel Reifsnyder’s solutions consisted of closing the divide between developed and developing countries in the Paris’s agreement by requiring global participation with the right commitments.  Jacob Sherr highlighted the importance of addressing the climate change crisis with “new architecture”. The “new architecture” consisted of having a mixed-track approach towards climate change governance due the need to engage multiple players around the globe.   MacCraken focused on the benefits from completely cutting out long-term greenhouse gases, such as methane and black carbon.  These gases stay in the atmosphere longer than CO2 and IPCC currently does not deal with the effects from black carbon. Keya Chatterjee encouraged the switch to solar energy for it was cheaper than diesel (in some areas of the world).  She also discussed the need to engage the public through music and other sources of media to create global involvement. Overall, each speaker had influential ideas and thoughts on the varying issues surrounding climate change. It was evident that in order to approach climate change, actors from various fields need to come together to tackle the differentiating issues.

Climate Change’s Link to Decreasing Honey Bee Populations

d i

Honey bee populations have decreased from “5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million in 2014 in the United States” ( USDA) .  Human-induced CO2 emissions could have affected the honey bee populations. Honey bees are major pollinators for plants, hence they are vital for our agricultural system. An example of this dependence is Californian farmers bringing in colonies of bees to keep crops alive through pollination. Plants and bees have co-evolved together, so bees know when to pollinate flowering plants.  The major issue is that scientists do not know the environmental and genetic triggers that cue plant and pollinators to have synchronicity. Meaning temperatures have increased due to global warming, warmer temperatures have caused plants to flower earlier in the season than bees have been ready for.

.bee_pollen

Another outcome from global warming’s increased temperatures is that it has changes in migration patterns, which results in native plant’s lacking pollination. Another issue is that bees have been laying their eggs earlier in the season because of increased temperatures from climate change. Bees lay their eggs when temperatures are warm enough outside and require a constant temperature of 93 degrees for their eggs to survive. However, since they are laying their eggs earlier in the season there is a greater chance for cold days.  These cold snaps have resulted in all the eggs in a nest dying, causing the future populations of bees to be stunted. (Earth Observatory). For example, bee keepers have seen a 30-90% population decline in winter. These cold snaps have resulted in all the eggs in a nest dying, causing the future populations of bees to be stunted.  The decline of bee populations can be observed in weighing the nests. The nests indicate the bee’s health and their health has declined seen from the decreased weight.  Although the effect of climate change on honey bee populations is still relatively speculatively, these points have shown that changing climate could have negative consequences on bee populations.   Fortunately the United States has set up an $8 million fund for the preservation of honey bees.

Perfect Chair: Goldilocks; as the Mixed Track Approach: COP20

goldilocks

Global Climate Change is a multi-faceted problem resulting in 20 years of relatively stagnant climate change negotiations. The past negotiations have failed to ratify a climate change agreement that involves all the nation- state actors. The involvement of all nation-states is necessary to achieve the goal of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which is closing the gap between the countries’ emission pledges and the actuality of countries ability to reach the global average temperature to be below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.  Hence to achieve global involvement and to attain the necessary mitigation goals, alternative negotiations from the “top-bottom” approach may offer a better solution. The “mixed-track” approach is the most effective method of achieving the post-2020 goals of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action for it incorporates successful aspects of the “top-bottom” and “bottom-up” approaches, but also resolves the issues that both approaches pose.

Neither the “top-down” nor the “bottom-up” approaches allow for completely successful climate change negotiations. One issue with the “top-down” approach is that it has led to a division between developed and developing nation-states, which has made negotiations tense.  This divide has become a wall due to most climate policy’s constant incorporation of the CBDR principle (Kallbekken 2014).  The CBDR policy and changed dynamics between the developed and developing countries should be altered because these nation-states situations have changed and climate change’s current state requires global participation. Another reason why the “top-down” approach has failed in the past is because nation-state’s participation is voluntary and also there is  “no enforcement machinery” despite being “under international law” (Bodansky 2012).  The Kyoto Protocol operated under these standards and its “failure” was highlighted due to the withdrawals of the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan. Although the Kyoto Protocol had its disadvantages, it was a major milestone for it provided a framework that was accepted around the globe.  If the future negotiations can generate this same global participation, it could lead to the achievement of the Ad Hoc’s goals for 2020.

Similar to the “bottom-up” approach, the “top-down” approach has its strengths and weaknesses. Compared to the “top-down” approach, it has improved international relations for it acts across boarders and has found commonality among nation-states basis.  Since private and public transnational networks play such a large role in the negotiations, they should be integrated into the decision-making process.  Another strength is that it allows for flexibility and inclusivity for it does not require a protocol or international legal agreement (Bondansky 2012). An example of the “bottom-up” approach was the Copenhagen Accord and Cancún Agreements, which operate at a national level and are only partially committed, not legally binded. The flexibility of the agreement generates greater public approval of an agreement, since it does not necessarily have negative effects if the nation-state deviates from the agreement.  However, this flexibility is also the downfall of this approach for it gives states too much freedom in which they could lessen their responsibilities towards climate change.

The “mixed track” approach adds upon “top-down”’ approach’s successful aspect, but also incorporates the “bottom-up”’ approach’s alternative mechanisms. The “mixed track” approach gives a role to both international and national regime, since they both have been effective in different mechanisms. The “mixed track” positive aspects consist of: legal agreement with some binding and non binding component, variable structure incorporating national and international regimes, multiple types of commitments and mixed mitigation process (Bodansky 2012). Hopefully, the “mixed track” approach would encourage the necessary qualities in decision making , which are “tringency, participation and compliance” .

 

Bodansky, D., 2012. The Durban Platform: Issues and Options for a 2015 Agreement.
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). Analysis of President Bush’s Climate Change Plan. February, 2002.

Transnational governance’s role in the Advancement of COICA’s Objectives

xingu

International regimes function at a nation-state level in which geography and the divide of advanced vs. non-advanced states has intermittently led to limited global governance. An alternative approach to climate change governance is transnational networks for they are based on broad range of actors across boarders that act to address climate change issues (Bulkeley and Newell 2010).  A transnational network that has been effective in advancing its objectives in governing climate change is the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA 2014).

COICA’s objective is to protect the Amazon through the indigenous people’s involvement in the development of strategies to counteract the deterioration of their biosphere (Mato 2004). COICA’s alliance between Indigenous and global organizations called for: the protection of indigenous people’s social rights and territorial rights to the Amazon, the implementation of management and conservation programs and need for international assistance in the implementation process (COICA 2014).  The COICA transnational network has been successful in climate change governance due to the utilization of transnational governance mechanisms: information-sharing, regulation and implementation and capacity building (Bulkeley and Newell 2010).

COICA’s establishment of set objectives advanced the network in climate change governance for it unified indigenous groups and global organizations that shared the common interest of protecting the Amazon.  This information-sharing mechanism caused Indigenous groups from Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Surinam and Guyana and European Greens to create a formalized alliance in 1983 because of their shared agenda (Mato 2004).  The Indigenous communities wanted to be involved in climate change governance to voice their concerns about the Amazon. Rather than 1000 indigenous groups expressing their concerns about climate change, COICA was implemented to create a collective identity of indigenous concerns.  COICA’s effective voice advanced these objectives and it gave their concerns a unified voice that could easily be heard and shared (Mato 2004). This information-sharing mechanism resulted COICA’s ideas to spread and to gain affinity around the globe.

COICA’s regulation governance mechanism resulted in the continuous participation and the increase in membership in the network.  There is no juristic level in transnational networks, meaning that none of the agreements are binding (Bulkeley and Newell 2010).  However, COICA’s standards and benefits from the group dynamitic were able to maintain members from around the globe to participate in COICA.  According to theredddesk.org, the regulation governance of COICA is effective for it is able to keep thousands of indigenous communities existing in 9 countries involved in the alliance. This broad scope of people’s needs are consistent with COICA’s standards, consisting of: social movements, human rights institutions and climate negotiations.  The successful regulation mechanism has led to members of COICA to consist of voluntary public and private actors.

From the involvement of private and public actors, the implementation+ capacity-building mechanism allowed for diverse expertise in advancing COICA’s objectives.  The Indigenous people’s role was to generate the public’s interest and attention about the deterioration of the Amazon through information-sharing mechanism (Mato 2004). Whereas, the public actors were to be aware of the indigenous people’s rights in decision-making and speak on their behalf (Mato 2004).  For example, COICA and AIDSEP got the Peruvian government to agree to “facilitate indigenous people’s participation in COP20”.  According to International Work Group of Indigenous Affairs, an indigenous preparatory conference between the COICA and the Peruvian government will take place November 28th– 30th. Due to utilization of different governance resources COICA was able to generate change in the governance negotiations.  Although REDD+ is not actually supported by COICA, the fact that an agreement exists indicates that the idea of preserving the amazon had infiltrated climate change negotiations.  Instead of REDD+, COICA has created the Indigenous REDD+ Alternative, which is directed towards the preservation of indigenous territories and the incorporation of forest services. The implementation and capacity-building mechanism has led to large advancements in the front against the amazon’s deterioration.

Compared to International Regimes, transnational networks play and have played a distinctive role in governing climate change. COICA’s involvement with indigenous groups and global agents promoted the advancement of its objectives towards protecting the amazon and its indigenous inhabitants.  The role in which information-sharing, regulation and implementation and building-capacity mechanisms have contributed to the success of COICA in climate governance is clearly evident.

Sources

“Coordination of Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin (COICA).” The REDD Desk. Global Canopy, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.

Mato, Daniel. “Transnational networks of global and local production of representations of ideas of civil society actors.” Policy citizenship and civil society in times of globalization (2004): 67-93.

“UNFCCC: The Road towards COP 20 in Lima.” International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). IWGIA, 26 June 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.

Bulkeley, Harriet, and Peter Newell. Governing Climate Change. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.

A Week of James Balog

n

Sunday: I spent the evening snuggled up in bed watching James Balog’s documentary Chasing Ice  on Netflix. Before watching, my expectation for the documentary was that it was going to be one of those “facts-down-your-throat” documentaries, but I was pleasantly surprised. First of all, the film was highly artistic due to the stunning way the film captured ice.  Equally as gripping was the storyline behind the Extreme Ice Project in which Balog deals with camera issues, family pressures, knee surgeries and life-risking ice photos. The photos powerfully depict the story of the individual glaciers demise and the diagrams interjected into the film highlight why these melted glaciers indicate climate change. These photos that Balog (at times) risked his life to photograph are effective mechanisms of documenting climate change.

James Balog

Monday: James Balog came to my Introduction to Soil’s class where my five classmates and I were able to openly ask him questions.  The class began with my professor, Ben Edwards, a volcanologist, presenting his current research to Baloag. He is researching the interactions between lava and ice which he demonstrated in his youtube video of lava being poured on ice. This captivated Balog due to his love of ice and wanted to learn more.

 

We then continued to bombard Balog with questions, ranging from: What school did you go to? – Why did you decide to be a photographer? – What job advice can you give us? I wanted to ask him a question of my own so I asked him if he ever took photos of indigenous groups and the changes to their society. He said he focused on glaciers and the people affected by glaciers were outside his realm of expertise. Although, lava and ice don’t exactly fall under the soil class’s syllabus, it was really interesting to spend the class talking with Balog.

James Balog in Introduction to Soil's Course

 

Tuesday: This time Balog came to a more appropriate class, our sustainability mosaic course. Interestingly enough the questions and conversation were very different from the previous day. Although there were questions about his personal life, the conversation was directed towards climate change and his film.  One overall message that I will remember was when Balog said something along the lines of: he cannot tell us what to do about climate change, but he can encourage each of us to find a voice and way of expressing our concerns. After a group photo and a selfie, we waved Balog good-bye with a lingering awe.

At 7pm, we attended his two- hour lecture that was focused on science and art components. I found the science part highly interesting for he presented interesting figures and evidence concerning climate change. In the art section of the lecture, he used poetry, music and photos he created a voice regarding climate change’s effect on glaciers that had never been done before.

 

Wednesday – Friday : After his presence at Dickinson College, there was a mull of student discussion about his unique talk and breath-taking documentary.  Whenever I was in the Library, I would get captivated by his glacier photo display and I would convince anyone who would listen to watch Chasing Ice. I was impacted by the multiple meetings with James Balog throughout the week and I was really glad that Dickinson was able to create this opportunity.

Chasing-Ice

Climate Change’s Super Hero Power is the Ability of Interpretation

phone interpretacion

phone-interpretacion

 

Everyone can interpret a sentence differently whether it’s in a poem, textbook, short story or even a UNFCCC article.  Although the UNFCCC report’s tone was concise and scientific, I was still able to create three different interpretations from the same two sentences.  The sentences contained both understandable ideas and contested elements, which could result in Parties having conflicting opinions about the same passage.

The overall message from the passage is that the needs of the climate system should be addressed if we want it to survive for the future generations to come.  If we use up earth’s resources and suck out all of its natural beauty, what will be left to benefit our future generations?  Another clear idea is that countries that have contributed the most to climate change should be held the most responsible for finding a solution to climate change’s issues.

There are specific words and phrases that are vague and within the context could be interpreted very differently. One contestable phrase is “respective capabilities” for each country could argue it is not capable of handling the major issue of climate change in addition to the country’s own domestic and international issues. Another main implication from this passage is that is calls for “developed countries to take the lead in combating climate change”, but it should be a collective effort when fighting climate change and its effects.  If the developed countries take the lead, they have the ability to manipulate the ways in which climate change will be combated and by whom.  Developed nations have contributed the most to climate change and should be the main compensators, but the role of developing countries should not be underestimated.  This phrase affirmed the tone for climate change negotiations and simultaneously gave developed nations control.

In addition, referring to countries as “developing” seems disrespectful and creates a hierarchy, causing commonalities and differences between developed, and developing countries.  Another word that I found to be problematic was “protect” because the context allows for free interpretation. It is not specified what the parties need to “protect” climate systems from, however, it most likely pertains to the effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions  Furthermore, the language barrier could result in varying interpretations because there are English words that don’t exist in another language or that do not translate with the intended meaning. Overall, it is evident that interpretation is something to be cautious of when dealing with climate change

.

 

Climate Change Governance Efforts: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

the good the bad and the ugly

In a history class, the covered material often consists of past societies’ wars, plagues, rebellions and leadership transitions. Whereas, it seems that periods of peace and prosperity are glimpsed over in the history books and its importance is disregarded.  This neglect for positivity is demonstrated in the climate change’s history where the efforts are often described as failures.  Global climate change is a multifaceted crisis and evidently does not have a straightforward solution. However to describe the notion of a “cooperative response” at the COP20 convention as “naïve and contrary to the record of human history” is unfair (Bova, pg 249-50). Bova’s realist perspective is supported from aspects of past climate change governance; yet, the constructivist international relations paradigm is a more appropriate theory due to the climate change policy landmarks, the global participation in the climate change crisis and negotiations’ advancement through science.

The previous efforts to govern climate change refute the realism view due to: the international efforts and acceptance of climate change, the advancement of international institutions and the number of climate change milestones throughout history.  First of all, realism is a power-based regime theory in which states behave to benefit their own-self-interest politically, socially and economically.  This theory may be applicable for some countries, but holistically countries have worked cohesively on the climate change crisis. One example of successful international climate change relations is the emergence of various institutions, consisting of countries that share similar climate change interests and goals.  The UNFCC and COP are two examples of decision-making bodies that have world-wide involvement to tackle climate change.  Other institutions consisting of SBI, POS, EU and G77 are divided based on geography, current conditions, issues and interests; they are all involved in globally collective institutions and are not motivated by their countries own self-interest.  The advancement of international institutions has led to the organization and planning of climate change governance, which is the first step in the negotiation process.

In contradiction of the realistic view, the history of climate change has achieved many historic milestones, especially, since the knowledge that human-induced climate change was not accepted in the scientific world until the 1970s.  In the last 44 years, climate change has resulted in a change of beliefs, “deepening of cooperation”, “firming–up obligation to act”, “identified problems pressing for a need for action” and the creation of “concrete, legally binding emission reduction commitments” (Bulkeley & Newell 20).  The international acceptance of climate change lead to a successful moment in history was when the UNFCC was agreed upon to deal with climate change. Afterwards the Montreal Protocol was passed to stop the use of chemicals that caused the depletion in the ozone. Another success was Kyoto Protocol that binded 38 countries to reduce their emissions (5.2% below levels in 1990) by 2008-12.  Despite the United States’ refusal to ratify agreement, overall the EU and G77 did not follow the United States’ self-interested footsteps. Instead they acted in regards to the knowledge that climate change was a pressing issue and become even more determined for Kytoto Protocol to succeed.  Regardless of climate change’s complexity and difficulties, there was a strength in climate change’s history for countries around the globe were able to work together through creating institutions and policies.

Although the climate change governance issues had momentum, not every country is participating the global prevention of climate change outlook and behaved with the self-interest as a priority.  One of these self-interested nations is the United States for they focused on the developing countries being required to follow protocols rather than focusing on its own high greenhouse gas emissions.  One example was when the United States refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol even though they helped develop it, 150 other countries signed it and are highly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions.  Another realistic issue is that there are more components that require attention in the next conference. One component is that developing countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa have become heavy greenhouse gas emitting countries.   These countries now need to be more involved in the negotiation process and have to make vast changes in their organization. From the past, it is evident that all countries including developing nations need to be included/ restricted in the next agreement. Another component is the strong involvement of businesses for in the past countries did not want to make a mistake economically by altering their energy usage. Money necessary for the mitigations and adaptations strategies to be successful, so the involvement of businesses is vital. Although these components have proven to be difficult in the past, there is a clear need for countries to action from the scientific knowledge.

Although the history of climate change is foggy with self-interest intentions, it mainly consists of countries that have acted due to the acquirement of knowledge.  First of all, without science/ knowledge, the globe would not be aware of climate change and no efforts to govern climate change would be made. Specifically, the history of climate change begins at the Villa Conference of 1980 when scientist were asked to see if climate change was an issue.  From their science, it was realized that further investigation was required and WMO, UEP, ICSU were all created to define climate changes risks.  These organizations were key players in the efforts to govern climate change.  Most importantly, the most credible source used for climate change is the IPCC which is composed of a variety of scientist whom inform the globe about climate change.  The IPCC report determines how countries act towards climate change, which explains that the constructivist international relations theory is the most applicable for understanding the climate change governance.

Although, there are aspects of power-based international relations theory seen throughout the history of climate change, it seems that most of the efforts were based upon knowledge from scientists. Science has played a detrimental role in climate change governance for resulted in global participation and acceptance of climate change.  Although, climate negotiations will be difficult, if countries rely on the pressing dangers that science has demonstrated in the IPCC reports, countries can work together to avoid such issues and avoid the outcome of the youtube video below.