Engaging Developing Countries Alternate Approaches

Ample arguments exist from developing countries' viewpoints for why not to actively engage in emissions mitigation (Shukla, 1999). The climate regime to date has ignored the concerns underlying these arguments. Notwithstanding this fact, developing countries have enthusiastically participated in the climate regime since its inception. The vital questions before the climate negotiators are not whether developing countries should mitigate or how much they should mitigate but, rather, who would pay for mitigation actions and how to ensure that mitigation actions would not hamper the achievement of development goals. The former questions belong to the domain of efficiency and the latter to that of equity.

Myriad approaches have been proposed officially by nations, such as Brazil (Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, 2000), or by various researchers (Barrett, 2003; Cooper, 1998; Edmonds & Wise, 1997; Global Commons Institute, 1996; Heller & Shukla, 2003; McKibbin & Wilcoxen, 2002; Muller, 1999; Nordhaus, 2001; Schelling, 2002; Victor, 2001). These proposals are diverse in terms of approach, measures, and mechanisms. Two broad trends emerge among the proposals: one is results oriented and the other is process- or conduct-oriented. A brief discussion of these two types of proposals for engaging developing countries in mitigation actions follows.

The first is the ''contraction and convergence'' proposal (Global Commons Institute, 1996), which proposes contraction (reduction) of per capita emissions of each nation to a convergence limit at an agreed-upon future time. This approach provides room for increasing emissions for those countries, mainly developing countries, whose per capita emissions are below the agreed-upon convergence limit, and mandates contraction from those nations whose per capita emissions are above this limit. The second is the so-called ''development and climate'' paradigm (Heller & Shukla, 2003), which purports to construct an agreement for making development the driving force for addressing climate change challenges. This approach proposes alignment of the climate actions with national projects and programs that are already crafted for achieving sustainable development goals. Its key proposition is to align the concerns of the Climate convention with universally agreed-upon development goals, such as those exhorted by the Millennium Declaration and the Johannesburg Declaration from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (United Nations, 2002).

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