Yoke Ling from Third World Network (TWN) was invited to share her insights on climate change policy. Apparently, all the action on climate change started back in the 1980s when it wasn't much about science but more about people's feeling. Back then there was a lot of unsustainable consumption, that's why there was political will to fight climate change.
*The Development part of the UN is more on cooperation and not punishment.
The argument back then was that "environmental problem was caused because poor people spoiled it, poor people spoiled it because they are corrupt". The concept sustainable development was only developed in the late 1980s. However, there are still many people don't want regulations. Although treaties and argument are not politically binding, it shapes how people see the issue.
Building a text:
(1) Composite text - what we want to see from different groups
(2) Give the chair
(3) Chair Compose
(4) Compilation - secretariat arrange and indicate to see the position of everyone (G77 & China)
During a negotiation:
(1) Decision on mandate
(2) Decide to meet
(3) Plenary (Statement, Agenda)
(4) Break into working groups
(5) Informal (Contact Groups) with chair appointed
(6) Informal-informal (Countries will have a spokesperson; some are open to non-spokesperson members, but these are closed for observers)
(7) If there is no agreement, can call for a “friends of the chair” (chair will moderate between those members who requested; then will bring back to the informal-informal)
However, due to the different ability to negotiate: how many people at the session (talent and money), many smaller countries have no choice but to disagree at the plenary and put in a reservation to deal with it later. In theory, you can object if you disagree with what that comes up from a lower level, however, this is often not the case.
On Climate Negotiation Documents
Politics is a central piece of climate negotiation. Principal 7 of the Paris Agreement gives the political context of the negotiation. The debate between the developing countries and developed countries is not on “capabilities”, but to establish the fact the developing countries want compensation, not charity.
Back during the Kyoto Protocol period, countries need to do inventory for reporting. But the US didn’t sign; Russia and Canada walked out but don’t want to admit so they say that the agreement was unfair. In the years leading to the Paris Agreement, more elements of the CBDR was taken away, responsibility was shifted to a few countries, and more elements were made voluntary with the “The World Has Changed” argument. And the most active questions from developed countries were directed towards China. In the end what happened in the Paris Agreement was that developed country agreed to mitigate, a lot of things became voluntary, and some of the obligation from the mother agreement was diluted.
Many of the outcomes of the negotiations were made possible with a lot of lobbying. For instance, the should/shall case in the Paris Agreement. The Paris presidency changed and announced it very swiftly. However, Secretary John Kerry has been lobbying minister back home to stop delegation from objection in order to keep a nice image of the US in front of the media.
Climate change is a complicated issue. To solve the whole thing, you will need to change the whole production and consumption system. We need to do our best, systematically.