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Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

The problems of the COP15

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Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

The problems of the COP15 Almost a year ago the 15th annual United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, also known as the 15th Conferences of the Parties (COP), was held in Copenhagen. Expectations were high. Everybody, especially the Danish government, was hoping that the summit would finalize a post-Kyoto international agreement to take effect in 2013, but sadly the outcome disappointed worldwide.

The COP15 was the perfect example of what it is like being so close and yet so far from a goal. Everybody thought that December 2009 would be the month where the world would get a global climate policy and it was all going to happen in “Hopenhagen”. Instead nothing happen and the politicians left “Nopenhagen” with nothing. What were the problems at the COP15 and is there a realistic chance of solving them so a global climate policy can become a reality?

The first thing everybody heard from the COP15 was that G77-leader Lumumba Stanislaus DiAping, representing 130 developing countries, publicly criticized the Danish Prime minister due to a lfundeaked document. According to the G77-group the main goal in this “The Danish Text” was to destroy the balance of obligations between the developing countries and the western countries. Lumumba Stanislaus DiAping said that this draft was killing the Kyotoprotocol and drew a parallel between the draft and centuries of exploiting the African continent 1. Instead the G77 countries leaked their own climate policy. The developing countries wanted financing from the industrialized countries. Money from a fund that the develop1

Jyllands Posten 9th of December 2009: G77-leder: “Dansk tekst” er farlig -

http://jp.dk/klima/politik/article1913759.ece

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Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

ing countries could take partnership in controlling. At the same time the rich countries should obligate themselves to reduce their emission by 40% by 2020 which had to happen in the country and not by buying CO2 quotas from the poor countries2. A not surprising initiative if you look at the interview of Pan Jiuha, a member of China’s COP15 delegation3. After this you quickly discovered that the politics of climate changes is wrapped in a political power struggle between industrialized and developing countries raising questions such as should we go with the Kyoto agreement or the Convention track? And can you demand the same changes in developing countries as the ones you demand in the industrialized countries? And if yes then how should these changes be structured?

Before the COP15 the hopes of the Danish Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen was to reach a verdict on a superior political agreement that would unite the Kyoto with the so-called Convention-track4. The main difference between the two tracks is that the Kyoto-agreement from 1997 only obligates already industrialized countries to participate in the emission of greenhouse gases. An obligation that the US refused to participate in even though it is the country with the highest emission. Opposite to this the Convention-track wishes to solve, how the countries that are not obligated by the Kyotoprotocol can contribute to solving the climate issue. The major component that obstructed the adoption of this was the resistance of the developing countries. To them this seemed like the rich countries were trying to phase-

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Information 10th of December 2009: Ulandene lækker eget klimaudspil - http://www.information.dk/218258

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The COP15 Post 11th of December 2009: Record-breaking China -

h t t p : / / c o p 1 5 p o s t . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 1 2 / 11 / n e w s / r e c o r d - b r e a k i n g - c h i n a / 4Ingeniøren

17th of December 2009: COP15: Klimaaftale balancerer på en knivsæg -

h t t p : / / c o p 1 5 p o s t . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 1 2 / 11 / n e w s / r e c o r d - b r e a k i n g - c h i n a /

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Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

out the Kyoto-agreement5. Therefore the Prime minister’s former strategy was canned and they went back to working on two separate agreements; a further development of the Kyoto and a convention that includes obligations for the developing countries6. Nevertheless an agreement on a further development of the Kyoto has not been made and today at the beginning of the COP16, which is being held in Cancun, none of the participating countries believe nor do they aim at reaching a global climate agreement this year. According to China’s chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua everybody is working hard and in the belief that reaching a legally binding agreement at next year’s meeting in South Africa is possible, which means that not until COP17 in December 2011 will a further development be a possibility 7. That leaves only one year to reach an agreement and make it ratified and operational before the original Kyoto agreement from 1997 expires. Whether that is enough time remains to be seen but for now we know that the original agreement took seven years to reach. A fact that leaves you with doubt.

If the further development of the Kyoto is far from done then that is nothing compared to how far the Convention track is. At the COP15 the delegation members reached the agreement that developing countries should get financial support from industrialized countries but the question of how much and how it is to be handle still remains. The Copenhagen Accord contains a concrete promise of 10 billion USD a year from 2010 to 2012 for climate adjustments in developing countries8. But that is far from enough and

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Ingeniøren 17th of December 2009: COP15: Klimaaftale balancerer på en knivsæg -

h t t p : / / c o p 1 5 p o s t . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 1 2 / 11 / n e w s / r e c o r d - b r e a k i n g - c h i n a / 6

Ingeniøren 17th of December 2009: COP15: Klimaaftale balancerer på en knivsæg -

h t t p : / / c o p 1 5 p o s t . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 1 2 / 11 / n e w s / r e c o r d - b r e a k i n g - c h i n a / 7

Information 30th of May 2010: Ingen global klima-aftale før 2011 - hvis nogensinde http://www.information.dk/234763 8

The Copenhagen Accord 4/9


Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

seeing that only about 100 countries have joined The Copenhagen Accord then it is not the final solution from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). At the beginning of the COP15 a very clear demand from the G77 group was that money to finance climate changes in developing countries should come from a fund that the G77 countries also had some control of, but as negotiations proceeded it soon became clear that the industrialized countries wanted results in return for financing the developing countries and these results should be secured trough transparency. Meaning that the industrialized countries should be allowed to make international CO2 inspections in the developing countries to make sure that the countries made their climate goals. The argument was that without transparency you would not be able to asses wether for an example the Chinese took their reduction obligations seriously unless you had a clear agreement on control. At first this was a specific demand from the US towards China which caused almost a negotiation shutdown seen to as China and other developing countries refused to open their energy sector, but later China and Brazil accepted the term with the argument that this was a reasonable claim in return for money from the climate fund9. Nevertheless the Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made it clear that this was an extremely sensitive problem to the developing countries, because the industrialized countries‘ demand to monitor the CO2 reductions of the developing countries could be seen as a new form of colonialism10.

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Ingenøren 18th of December 2009: COP15: Kina: Vi er klar til uvildig kontrol af CO2-udslip http://ing.dk/artikel/105111-cop15-kina-vi-er-klar-til-uvildig-kontrol-af-vores-co2-udslip 10

Ingenøren 18th of December 2009: COP15: Kina: Vi er klar til uvildig kontrol af CO2-udslip http://ing.dk/artikel/105111-cop15-kina-vi-er-klar-til-uvildig-kontrol-af-vores-co2-udslip 5/9


Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

Renewable energy sources are expensive and the entire climate question has forced technological changes upon the world which all in all can be look upon as a global technology revolution. The question of climate changes is big and it costs a lot of money. Money that developing countries either do not have or are not willing to spend if it is at the expense of economic growth within the country. This issue raised the question of the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) problem. Within it lies that the industrialized countries patent their newest energy- and farming-technologies. This makes it very difficult for the developing countries to get a hold of the newest inventions within the area of renewable energy sources because these countries do not have the money to buy “green inventions” from technology firms in industrialized countries. The worst case scenario would be that these patent protections would block climate initiatives in developing countries because these countries would not have access to enough technology. Before the COP15 many had hoped for a solution to the IPR problem. Especially countries like China, India and a lot of the poorest african countries were pressing for a decision but the US and Switzerland refused easier access to patented climate technology for developing countries. According to Christian Friis Back, international chef for Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, this caused a stop in the negotiation process due to the fact that the two fronts were very persistent11. Christian Friis Back had hoped for the post-COP15 to say that the 50 poorest countries would get access to compulsory licenses so that they could get the technology that they would need in order to reduce their emission and adapt themselves to the inevitable climate changes ahead 12.

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Ingeniøren 16th of December 2009: COP15: Bommen gik ned for billige klimateknologier til ulande http://ing.dk/artikel/104963-cop15-bommen-gik-ned-for-billige-klimateknologier-til-ulande 12

Ingeniøren 16th of December 2009: COP15: Bommen gik ned for billige klimateknologier til ulande http://ing.dk/artikel/104963-cop15-bommen-gik-ned-for-billige-klimateknologier-til-ulande 6/9


Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

This did not happen due to harsh resistance from especially the US and Switzerland but is compulsory licenses even the answer to the how we make the developing countries “greener”? On one hand you have the argument that these licenses would give the countries the tools to make the technology themselves and therefore the financing from the industrialized countries would only be temporary as initial capital. On the other hand it raises a lot of trust issues because we in the past have seen how countries like China have the competitive power to win over the industrialized countries when it comes to producing the same objects but at the lowest price. Would this instead of the wanted effect just give the third world a “free ride” where the technologies are paid by the industrialized countries but delivered by for an example China? This outlines the problem with the IRP. Both sides have strong arguments and for now it seems like the solution is far away. This is due to multiple reasons but one of the more important ones is the fact that a solution would require that the industrialized and the developing countries could cooperate much more then they do now, because as we saw during the COP15 then the so-called cooperation looked more like a power struggle then it did collaboration. Countries like the US and China would have to be able to work together and trust each other. A thing that we can hope lies in the future.

The result of the COP15 was a disappointing Copenhagen Accord - a vague backroom agreement between the US, Brazil, China, India and South Africa made in the final hours of the two-week conference. It was an attempt to salvage whatever was left of the COP15 but in the end the accord had no legal standing under the UN convention on climate change.

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Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

Nevertheless even though the COP15 has a good chance of being remembered as the least successful climate conference ever, according to the German Wuppertal Institute13 , then it still gave us something. It revealed how all the countries were hoping for something different and therefore it showed us the problems that still needed solving but also that these problems were not unsolvable because we saw how the delegation agreed on financing the developing countries and how the G77 countries were open to control from the industrialized countries as an important term in order to receive the money from the fund. Therefore agreement between the countries is a possibility but a possibility that requires a lot of negotiation if every country should have a saying in the matter of the global climate policy.

The essential problems ahead are not within the further development of the Kyoto but more in how you should help the developing countries reduce their emission and at the same time allow them to grow and evolve like the already industrialized countries once did. With that in mind the easy solution to a global climate policy goes out the window because the easiest thing would be to make a policy saying that “we are going to do like this and this and it is going to be the same for every country” but it would not be fair to deny the developing countries their chance of growth. This speaks in favour of a climate policy with differentiated responsibilities but the argument against this is the fact that an ambitious reduction agreement within the European Union could mean the loss of production companies due to the fact that they now would move their production to countries that would not have the same restrictions and could therefore make a cheaper production possible.

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Information 30th of May 2010: Ingen global klima-aftale før 2011 - hvis nogensinde http://www.information.dk/234763 8/9


Katrine Bonde 160188-1091 Politics of Climate Changes Written Exam

December 2010

That is why a global agreement only seems possible in the near future if all the 193 countries in the world agrees on the same restrictions for all and even then we would only need one country to break the agreement and knock over the entire thing because this country now would have the ability to produce everything cheaper. All in all this shows how a global climate policy would require a great deal of solidarity between the nations. Solidarity that at this point seems highly unlikely which would be completely in accordance with the theories on political realism, saying that every country ultimately will look after their own interests.

Address: Katrine Skou Bonde Spaden D 5, 2. tv 2630 Taastrup 9/9


politics of Climate Change