“Antiquated” climate negotiations obstruct agreement, claims research

Posted at November 28, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on “Antiquated” climate negotiations obstruct agreement, claims research

As the latest United Nations climate summit (COP18) kicks off in Doha, Qatar this week, researchers say that the “antiquated” structure of the negotiations obstruct agreement.

The study led by Heike Schroeder from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research argues that the consensus-based decision making used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “stifles progress” and contributes to “deadlocks”.

Published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, Schroeder along with coauthors Maxwell Boykoff of the University of Colorado and Laura Spiers of Pricewaterhouse Coopers report that over the years the size of delegations from some countries has increased significantly while others, particularly from poor nations, has decreased.

Aside from the US, which has sent fewer delegates to climate summits after withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, G-7 and +5 countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa) have increased their delegations.

The number of delegates attending meetings has increased from 757 in 1995 to over 10,500 – as well as 13,500 from non-governmental observers organisations.

The imbalance has limited the negotiating power of poorer countries, making their contributions less effective.

The researchers are calling for changes to be made to the negotiating structure and process, like limiting delegation numbers, to ensure that there is a broad representation across all government departments and sectors of society.

“The UN must recognize that these antiquated structures serve to constrain rather than compel co-operation on international climate policy,” says Schroeder, who is attending COP18. “The time is long overdue for changes to institutions and structures that do not support decision-making and agreements.”

For further information:
H. Schroeder, M. T. Boykoff and L. Spiers, Equity and state representations in climate negotiations. Nature Climate Change 2, 834–836 (2012), doi:10.1038/nclimate1742

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