3 Climate Change in:

Clement Guitton

Unlikely Allies, page 57 - 80

How Group Leadership Shapes International Afffairs in the 21st Century

1. Edition 2018, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4278-6, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7189-2, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828871892-57

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
Climate Change Paris Agreement, G8, G20 On December 10, 2015, the Paris Conference on climate change had only two days left to go. A list published by the United Nations counted more than thirty-six thousand participants. In one of the halls of the conference, many people gathered and started a chant: ‘1.5 to stay alive’. The chant was rhythmic and catchy; its message, however, echoed the dread of millions. Six months earlier, in July and in the warmth of the Paris summer, Tony de Brum had gone to have drinks with fourteen other ministers, including representatives from Colombia, from the Caribbean and from Pacific islands. De Brum had turned 70 this year, and with grey hair and spectacles, he embodied the distinct look of the diplomat. As Foreign Secretary of the Marshall Islands, he had to. De Brum was concerned. The 70,000 inhabitant island community he represented would be wiped out should the Earth’s temperature rise by 2°C. Countries had submitted their intended nationally determined contributions (something they had agreed to do voluntarily only since the 2013 climate conference, and which the Paris Agreement had turned into a mandatory requirement). Summing up the contributions didn’t return good figures. Even at best, this would mean that the earth was heading for a 3°C rise in temperature, according to Thoriq Ibrahim, environment and energy minister of the Maldives. Another piece of research produced by The Climate Action Tracker concluded that even if countries followed their policy to the letter, this would probably lead to a warming of over 2°C. In Paris, De Brum told the other ministers about islanders back home who would come together and build a makeshift wall in front of their homes. The wall would regularly break under the pressure of the rising seas, and sewage as well. Streets would get flooded with both seawater and raw sewage. More personally, de Brum had also had a 3 57 boat washed up within a metre of his living room by a storm. This was by far not the worst that he had ever eye-witnessed. When he was nine, in March 1954, he once went fishing with his grandfather. As his grandfather was throwing the fishing net, a bomb exploded. More than three hundred kilometres away, the US had detonated a nuclear device – one thousand times more destructive than the US had dropped in Japan a decade earlier. De Brum and his grandfather saw the ‘silent bright flash’ – as he would later describe it – and felt the force of the shockwave. ‘Everything turned red: the ocean, the fish, the sky, and my grandfather’s net’, De Brum recalled. This was only one of 67 nuclear tests that the US would be conducting in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958, and which would shape de Brum’s desire to fight for the environment. (The US is still using the Marshall Islands in the field of nuclear weapons: they have recently installed a $1 billion radar system to detect missiles launched by North Korea; should the island go under water, so would this system.) In Paris, De Brum’s idea was that all fifteen ministers, including himself, would act as a ‘mosquito fleet’. They would all approach various countries bilaterally, and ‘bite them in a nice way’ to make them aware of the life-threatening fate of the islands. De Brum’s idea was successful by certain standards, but not by all. The call from the informal-around-drinks minister meeting took up the name of ‘high ambition coalition’ and lived up to their name. The coalition grew in importance and bridged the divide between developed and developing countries, usually facing each other off in a game of ‘who’s to blame for climate change’. It rallied 79 African countries, islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean, the US and the EU, but could not include China and India. Two different groups also picked up the idea of a limit at 1.5°C and simultaneously pushed for it. The Alliance of Small Island States (AO- SIS), made up of 39 countries (plus five observers), including the Marshall Islands, first made the call publicly on the opening day of the Paris conference, on November 30, 2015. Shortly afterwards, the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a second group of 43 members, put out a statement – the ‘Manila-Paris Declaration’, from the name of the capital of the chair-country at that time – that they had agreed to ‘lead 3 Climate Change 58 processes to help trigger increased commitments from all countries for urgent progress towards the goal of below 1.5°C [of warming]’. By the time the conference began, 106 countries had aligned with this target. However, the final Paris Accord was less stringent. The Accord reads that the parties will aim at ‘holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change’. Setting and reaching the 2°C limit could already be quite an achievement, not short of saving the planet and the human species from catastrophic events, according to the scientific consensus. If the Earth was to warm up a further 2°C, huge storms, cyclones, and unpredictable weather would make life much more difficult for millions, if not billions of people. But this is not the worst aspect. Following a 2°C warmer Earth, we may reach a tipping point, where the Earth would start warming itself up. Before that, there is a window where we can act to reverse the trend and cool off the Earth; after the tipping point has been reached, we may not be able to influence the course of events anymore. According to De Brum though, a 2°C cap would still not be enough to save many islands and their inhabitants. Putting aside the vague mention of ‘pre-industrial levels’, and despite the limit of 1.5°C finding its way into the final document, the emphasis is strongly on the 2°C limit. This matters a great deal. Most of the Paris Agreement is non-binding and relies on the normative impact that the Agreement will have in shaping people’s opinions, wills, and policies. Two years following the Agreement, there were indications that the 2°C ceiling was the one being followed. On December 11, 2017, the US oil giant Exxon released a somewhat surprising communiqué. The company’s board had for years refused to look into or issue reports on the impacts of climate change for the company. Its communiqué made public that the company will ‘enhance disclosures’, notably to ‘include energy demand sensitivities, implications of two degree Celsius scenarios, and positioning for a lower-carbon future’. Another case concerned lawsuits filed on the basis of the Paris Agreement. Greenpeace, along with another activist organisation called Nature and Youth, has sued the Norwegian government on the 3 Climate Change 59 basis that it has breached the Paris Agreement and its constitutional obligation to preserve the environment, as it issued 10 new licences to 11 companies for oil exploration in 2016 in the Arctic. As The Economist noted on November 2, 2017: Their case rests not on local harms, for example to wildlife or water quality, but on the contribution any oil extracted will make to global warming which, under the Paris accord of 2015, Norway and 195 other countries have pledged to keep to “well below” 2°C compared with pre-industrial times. The group lost the case and was ordered to pay $71,000. The court found that the Norwegian government neither made administrative mistakes as they launched the licensing round nor breached the constitution. Possibly to the plaintiff’s consolation, new oil findings have been so far unsuccessful. There are many further hints that the 1.5°C limit is not being mentioned as much as the 2°C – for instance in pop culture – thereby hampering its normative effect. John Oliver is an English comedian who hosts a much-watched talk show in the US. Oliver, when discussing the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement in June 2015, explained at length why the 2°C limit was so important. Although he was as funny as usual, he made absolutely no mention of the 1.5°C limit. Furthermore, another intriguing question is whether the 1.5°C limit would really be sufficient. As a geography scholar in England, Simon L. Lewis, noted in Nature in April 2016, that ‘[m]ost impact studies and future-scenario analyses focus on 2 °C and higher’, but that the ‘global research community has shockingly little to say on the probable impacts of a 1.5 °C rise’. This means that the scientific community has also been focusing on the norm of a 2°C rise – and not on a 1.5°C one. On the other side, this also means that contrary to De Brum’s expectations that a 2°C limit is not going to be sufficient to save his island and a few others, the scientific community is actually not settled that a 1.5°C would do either. De Brum was thrilled when the 1.5°C made it to the Paris Agreement. He could be proud to have succeeded in raising the profile of the cause for the islands. During the final day of the talks, leaders of the High Ambition Coalition entered the room wearing coconut leaves to symbolise their solidarity with islands such as the Marshall Islands. On 3 Climate Change 60 December 12, 2015, as the conference was closing, he tweeted: ‘We have made history today. With this agreement I can go back home to my people and say we now have a pathway to survival’. But De Brum may have not seen how the 1.5°C was not being taken up as the norm. In a double tragedy, he died in August 2017, only ten days after the convenor of the ‘High Ambition Coalition’ also passed away, his fellow citizen Mattlan Zackhras. By De Brum’s death, the 1.5°C norm was not completely in sight. The 2°C mention has had, however, a longer history. It didn’t just magically pop up during the Paris negotiations. Already in 2009 in Copenhagen, the very first article of the then agreement made mention of it: To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change. This is naturally very diplomatic and convoluted language. Many critiques held the Copenhagen Accord to be a failure, especially as countries did not manage to make binding points. This is also the case for what concerned the 2°C then – and for the 2015 Paris Agreement. Furthermore, and of interest for the group leadership theory, is what Ross Garnaut, an economics professor at the Australian National University, has argued. According to Garnaut, yet another specific group of countries was behind the move of limiting temperature rise to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels: the G20.15 A bit of history: the US and climate change The Paris Agreement is currently in force. The requirement was that countries, which were responsible for 55% of all emissions ratified it. This happened surprisingly fast, by 4 November 2016, less than a year 15 “The G20 and International Cooperation on Climate Change.” In The G20 Summit at Five: Time for Strategic Leadership, edited by Kemal Derviş and Peter Drysdale, 223–45. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2014. A bit of history: the US and climate change 61 after the Paris conference. By comparison, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol came into force only in 2005, although it entailed the same 55% ratification limit as the Paris one to trigger implementation. Not all countries had expressed their will to become party to the Paris Agreement right after the end of the conference. Uzbekistan, Nicaragua, and Syria, for instance, joined only in 2017 – after the US pulled out, leaving the US as the only country not part of it.16 The US push-back on climate initiative had not always been the case, but this was not entirely new either. During the G8 summit of 2005, the US changed their position from sceptical to supportive. Prior to the summit, George Bush was still reluctant to accept that human beings induced climate change. While the summit was taking place in Scotland (Gleneagles), terror bombings occurred in London, killing fifty-two and injuring another 700 (this became known as the 7/7 bombings). This may have been important in triggering the change in Bush policy: Bush had to be careful, even conciliatory, with the rest of the G8, as he needed their help and cooperation to find solutions for the mess in the Middle East in which he was much involved. As a result, the outcome document of the summit read that ‘climate change is happening now, that human activity is contributing to it, and that it could affect every part of the globe’. This was the first time that a Gsummit document acknowledged that human beings played a role in inducing climate change. During the Obama administration, the US was equally more forthcoming in terms of climate change policy. The US was then (and still currently is) the second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China. When China and the US struck a deal on climate change one year prior to Paris, in November 2014, that deal was hence consequential. It was even more so as it was it was the first time that China had agreed to control its carbon emissions. The US-China joint statement mentioned that the two countries ‘account for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions’ and that they hoped to ‘inject momentum into the global climate negotiations’ with Paris in sight. The meeting between Xi and Obama in 2014 was also very well timed, just one 16 At the time of the writing, Brazil has just elected the fringe right wing Jair Bolsonaro as its president on a programme that included the withdrawal of the country from the Paris Agreement. 3 Climate Change 62 week before the G20 summit, in Brisbane, during which climate change also figured on the agenda (Australia pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund during this summit). One of the large demands of the US was, however, that whatever the deal, it would have to be nonbinding. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol foresaw binding emission reduction targets for developed countries. The US Senate rejected it outright by a vote of 95 to 0. Mindful of this experience, participants to the Paris conference tried to accommodate the US requirements so that Congress would not have to get involved. What is still puzzling, though, was the number of strong voices in the US with disillusioned views. Prominently, the Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe declared in 2003 on the Senate floor that the threat of catastrophic global warming was the ‘greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people’. More recently, Stephen Moore, a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, told a crowd in May 2009 that he ‘happen[s] to believe that global warming is the biggest scam of the last two decades’. Many other US powerful figures – not least of all, the sitting President Donald Trump – have disavowed climate change. Already on January 1, 2014, way before his Presidential campaign, Trump wrote on Twitter (the caps are his): ‘This very expensive GLOB- AL warming bullshit has got to stop’. When the bashing against climate change is not as blunt, it is, at times, very bizarre. State Senator Scott Wagner, a Republican representing Pennsylvania, has also an interesting idea as to why global warming is happening, as he explained on March 27, 2017: The Earth moves closer to the sun every year. We have more people. You know, humans have warm bodies, so is heat coming off? We’re just going through a lot of change, but I think we are, as a society, doing the best we can. Scott Pruit, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency handpicked by Trump, doesn’t believe that humans have caused global warming either. Ironically, the year Trump pulled the US out of the agreement, the country underwent extreme weather, with three major hurricanes and widespread wild fires in California. This scepticism stands in great contrast to the severity of the threat. Consider this extract from the book Warnings, by the former A bit of history: the US and climate change 63 US National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism, Richard Clarke, and by R.P. Eddy: [James] Hansen believes his latest warning is the most important he has ever issued. Earth’s current climate is beginning to look a lot like the way it did during the Eamian interglacial, a warm period from about 130,000 to 115,000 years ago. Then, when the temperature was less than 1°C warmer than today, “there is evidence of ice melt, sea level rises to 5–9 meters [beyond current levels], and extreme storms.” Putting this into context, they then add: Hansen’s analysis suggests, “the sea level is now rising 3.2 mm per year (3.2m/millennium), an order of magnitude faster than the rate during the prior several thousand years with… Greenland and Antarctica now losing mass at accelerating rates.” The volume of ice that is melting is incomprehensible. Recent analysis of satellite gravity measurements found Antarctic mass loss from 2003 to 2013 to be an average of about 67 gigatons per year, accelerating by an average of 11 gigatons each year during that time period. Greenland’s estimate was even larger, losing an average 280 gigatons, accelerating by an average of about 25 gigatons per year […] If all of Greenland’s ice sheet melted, we’d be in for an additional seven meters of sea level rise. The complete melting of Antarctica’s ice sheet would raise the level of the Earth’s oceans by sixty meters. Even just losing relatively small portions of Antarctica to warming would have catastrophic consequences for human civilization because many major cities are located on the world’s coasts. Their warning is dire, the numbers large. Tony De Brum’s concerns in this light appear more than justified. Well until the 1990s, the scientific community, as well as the political elite, questioned the link between climate warming and greenhouse gases as being primarily man-induced. Back then, some questioned even whether climate changed at all. Since then, consensus has emerged. The political cruxes have since then evolved. On top of the question of limiting the temperature rise has come the great question of responsibility. Two related but distinct concepts around responsibility are the ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’, and the firewall between Annex I and non-Annex I countries. 3 Climate Change 64 Common But Differentiated Responsibilities Two principles regulate the ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’ established in the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC). On the one hand, developed countries have historically been the greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and should bear responsibility for this. On the other hand, the developing countries lack the economic and technological resources to use sustainable, green sources of energy and still grow economically at a reasonable rate. The concept emerged in 1992 and the Paris Agreement still makes reference to it (at the demand of developing countries). But, until the Paris Agreement, the definition of which countries counted as developed and which as developing was to be found in an appendix of the 1997 Kyoto agreement: the Annex I countries, as they came to be known, listed developed countries which would bear more financial responsibility for climate protection, whereas the other nonmentioned countries simply became the non-Annex I countries. The Paris Agreement dropped this reference and directly mentioned ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, but without pinpointing them. By doing so, it becomes less clear-cut which countries belong to the developed or developing category, and which ones should hence bear more responsibility. On both of these points – the ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’, and the Annex I/non-Annex I countries ‘firewall’ – different groups of countries have come together within more or less formal structures and have followed a specific agenda to influence the debate. Concerning the former, the Asociación Independiente de América Latina y el Caribe (AILAC) took a stance that puzzled many. The AILAC group has been constituted since 2012, with eight countries from the developing world; their interest therefore rather lay in maintaining the policy of ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’.17 Yet, the AILAC countries started around 2009, promoting a much different concept: one of ‘shared responsibility’, in which all countries 17 Those countries are: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru. Common But Differentiated Responsibilities 65 would make voluntary emission reduction pledges. This interpretation put the AILAC countries at odds with the G77, an entire group of developing countries, and a group whose positions the AILAC otherwise usually followed. The G77 interpreted that the AILAC countries were ‘backing away’ from the ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’. The AILAC group had consequently to spend much effort on ensuring that their vision of ‘shared responsibility’ was compatible with the concept of ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’ – only more flexible. It showed their willingness to go beyond, in some ways, the blame game. In this interpretation, they were coming head to head against China, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, who wanted to have none of this ‘shared responsibility’ when they were handed a ‘right to develop’ without constraints through the old concept (remarkably, despite China’s incredible growth story, China still counted as a developing country). However, AILAC had the support of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) – the two groups already mentioned in relation to the 1.5°C limit – as well as the EU and the Cartagena Dialogue.18 The Cartagena Dialogue was brought together after Copenhagen, with delegates from the EU, the Alliance of Small Island States, the Least Developed Countries, and Latin America; the group sought to have a legally binding treaty hammered out within the United Nations negotiations. Annex I countries The second point of contention in which groupings are easily distinguishable concerns the so-called ‘firewall’ between Annex I and non- Annex I countries. As Joanna Depledge, an affiliated lecturer at the University of Cambridge, put it, ‘the issue of the ‘firewall’ has been a major – perhaps the major – source of political contention in the climate change regime for very many years’. Under the distinction, the developed countries had to bear more (financial) burdens for climate 18 Lau Øfjord Blaxekjær & Tobias Dan Nielsen, 2015. ‘Mapping the narrative positions of new political groups under the UNFCCC’, Climate Policy, 15:6, 751–766. 3 Climate Change 66 change. The Annex I countries were also obliged to return their collective emissions to 1990 levels by 2000 – an aim that the group achieved. This distance hence pitted developed countries on one side, which wished to abolish this regime, and against developing countries on the other side, arguably beneficiaries of the regime. The first one argued that the regime was out-dated, as many non-Annex I countries had evolved to become ‘wealthier’ than some of the Annex I countries by some measure (when taking absolute GDP rather than GDP per capita). On top of that, the contribution to global emissions of some of these non-Annex I countries had also grown massively. On the other hand, resistance was organised, notably with the BASIC group – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – as well as the LMDC – the Like- Minded Developing Countries, a group of roughly 20 countries representing more than 50% of the population – combining to push, following 2009, for Annex I countries to take even more of the burden.19 In the end, the group of Annex I countries won; the distinction was removed. As with many other policy changes, a process was in motion. Already in June 2015, six months before the Paris Agreement was signed, Sonja van Renssen, a journalist focusing on climate change, reported in Nature that an EU official interpreted the firewall as being less and less of an issue, adding that the ‘modern interpretation of common but differentiated responsibilities is “self differentiation”’. Even before that, at the 2013 climate change conference in Warsaw, countries came up with the already mentioned concept of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These were voluntarily contributions (until the Paris Agreement, which made it compulsory) that countries would communicate. This work-around accommodated the US as well as the Like-Minded Developing Countries, which were seeking no binding commitments. But the real turning point came hand-in-hand with the negotiations about the 1.5°C cap. As researchers at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy nicely summarised: 19 Members of the LMDCs count as: Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mali, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Vietnam. Annex I countries 67 Support for 1.5 °C was a conditio sine qua non for AOSIS and the LDCs, with whom the EU sought to align. The USA and other industrialised countries subsequently also shifted their position in favour of 1.5 °C. One may surmise that these changes in position were motivated by negotiation tactics to separate the poorer developing countries from the large emerging economy countries.20 It would hence appear that the Alliance of Small Island States and the group of Least Developed Countries used the 1.5°C as a negotiation leverage against what the Annex I countries were trying to achieve, namely to remove the firewall. Show me the money The issue of responsibilities, and the whole debate around Annex I countries, goes far beyond mere diplomatic extravagance. The issue is a very fraught one, especially as it is linked to the one of who will pay for it. A presentation on the website of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), obviously not an officially carefully and diplomatically worded document, put it bluntly: If those responsible and those with the ability do not pay, then the victim pays. Obviously not an equitable outcome.21 The main reason that US President Trump put forward when withdrawing from the Paris Agreement was also one related to money – on the economic and on the financial front: In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries. This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States. The rest of 20 Wolfgang Obergassel (né Sterk), Christof Arens, Lukas Hermwille, Nico Kreibich, Florian Mersmann, Hermann E. Ott, and Hanna Wang-Helmreich, 2016. ‘Phoenix from the Ashes — An Analysis of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, 1 March. 21 AOSIS, 2012. ‘Elements of Equity: Science, Sustainable Development & Survival’, Bonn Climate Change Conference, 16 May. http://aosis.org/wp-content/uploads/2 012/08/Equal-Access-to-Sustainable-Development.pdf [last consulted on 10.01.2018]. 3 Climate Change 68 the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement — they went wild; they were so happy — for the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage. Trump went on to show that he and his administration had very little understanding of the financing mechanism behind the Paris Agreement. Flamboyant as often, he stated: The Green Fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion — nobody else is even close; most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. Most of it is, however, plainly wrong; the rest very misleading. Established in 2011, the Green Climate Fund was a key result of Copenhagen (in 2009). Payment to the fund has been voluntary and there are no penalties if states do not meet their payment targets, apart from a sort of ‘naming and shaming’ mechanism. The only legal obligation that has come out of Paris has been for developed countries to provide climate finance (no amount is specified) and to provide biennially forward-looking quantitative and qualitative information on it. Concerning the Green Climate Fund, states are not alone on the list of potential contributors; private actors can, too. The intended use of the money is to redirect it to developing countries to support them to limit and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 37 developed countries, including the US, plus the EU, have pledged to contribute $100 billion by 2020. As Trump delivered his speech, the US had already paid $1 billion into the fund – and not ‘tens of billions’, as he mentioned – out of $3 billion pledged. As Mathew J. Kotchen, a professor of economics at Yale University and a former deputy assistant secretary of energy and the environment at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, put it, what the US has ‘spent so far amounts to about .026 percent of the annual federal budget’. Also misleading is hence the claim that ‘nobody else is even close’. As of December 31, 2016, the annual report of the Fund listed total assets of $3.4 billion. $1 billion out of $3.4 billion is a big share of the pie. But, Kotchen explains, while this was true in absolute numbers at the time Show me the money 69 of Trump’s speech, it was not the case per capita, when one takes into account how much each person would contribute to the fund, so to speak: The facts are that while the United States is the largest contributor in absolute dollars, on a per capita basis, the U.S. pledge ranks 11th among the 45 contributing countries, and as a fraction of gross domestic product, the United States ranks 32nd. Every country with an official pledge has made a contribution, and nearly all have already paid a larger share of their total pledge than the United States. The Green Climate Fund is hence mostly for developing countries, paid by developed countries. Developed countries will, however, also need some funds. The EU would need, according to its estimate, €180 billion of yearly investment in order to keep the rise in global temperature below 2°C. The EU was looking at how it can support such financing through enabling regulations. The positive aspect of the story is that many companies, even if they do not support the climate change agenda, can have an incentive to go green, either via the prospect of returns or via stability. Similar to the EU, India has made its computations. It came up with the figure of $160 billion in total capital required to reach its emission targets. So far, India has been rather successful in attracting much funding – and in driving the prices down for electricity produced from renewable sources. The Japanese giant Soft Bank, with revenue close to $80 billion, announced in the autumn of 2017 that it planned on investing $20 billion in the Indian solar power industry. As part of a joint venture with an Indian company, Acme Solar, Soft Bank won a bid for a solar panel project that would result in an extremely low price for each unit of electricity sold, Rs2.44; six years earlier, the price was still above Rs8. The joint venture has reckoned that it would be able to create a return, even with such low prices. In fact, India, along with China, has pretty much been slashing the prices of solar produced electricity. In 2016, supported by generous subsidies and $18 billion of low-interest rates loans, Chinese solar panel producers cut their prices by a quarter, sending prices south worldwide. But the Chinese strategy was successful, if we are to believe its production numbers: according to the New York Times, it expanded tenfold from 2007 to 2012. 3 Climate Change 70 The stability of green investment is another factor. Swiss Re, the large reinsurance company, ensured that all its $130 billion portfolio was in accordance with ethical standards, which include sustainability. While the returns could be slightly lower – or even without any correlation – the company claimed that these standards are less volatile, and hence can create better risk-adjusted returns – an important point to consider for companies seeking stability above high rates of return. Demand for green bonds has, in the meantime, also been sustained, notably around more regulations surrounding this asset class. In the end, the financial contribution, as part of the Paris Agreement, is still one that relies on countries voluntarily determining to what extent they would like to participate, and aims at transparency. The removal of the distinction between Annex I and non-Annex I was probably helpful for some groups to achieve other objectives – more on that shortly. Further groupings Some of the aforementioned groups are little more than negotiation subgroups, especially catering to the climate change negotiations within the narrow framework of the United Nations, but this still fits this book’s group leadership theory. Such would be the case of the BASIC countries. They came together during November 2009 (at the time of the Copenhagen meeting) and started to operate under the aegis of the G77. The environmental ministers have since met on an annual basis, discussing the accords under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (this includes the Copenhagen and Paris Agreements), and issuing a joint statement. The group ‘membership’, while set, also allows for some degree of flexibility. In April 2017, for example, the meeting also included representatives from Fiji, the country with the then incoming presidency of the climate conference (the Conference of the Parties, or COP), as well as Egypt. Other than the BASIC countries, the LMDC – ‘like-minded developing countries’ or a ‘like-minded group of developing countries’ – and the LDCs – the Least Developed Countries – both have an agenda that extends beyond the climate change debate, from human rights to Further groupings 71 trade policy. Also, membership for both can be rather fluid, depending on the topics; members can ‘select’ the topics on which they would like to join the LMDC while the LDCs have been more tied to a specific definition from 1971. In terms of trade, for instance, the World Trade Organization started in 2001 what has come to be known as the Doha Round, which aimed at important reforms to lower trade barriers. Within this context, the ‘like-minded group of developing countries’ brought together Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Jamaica. Two of the policy lines that they then defended were that there should be technology transfer obligations for more developed countries, as well as corrections concerning profit transfers. Of this group, many countries did not join the LMDC group for the Paris discussion, notably the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Jamaica. On the other hand, in 2015 in Paris, 18 countries joined it, leaving only six countries that were part of both the LMDC group for the 2001 Doha Round and the 2015 Paris Agreement. The LMDC grouping, concerning climate change, emerged in 2012 while the LDCs group is much older, with the United Nations making an explicit reference to it in 1971. The LDCs is collectively less a ‘grassroots movement’ in the sense that it emerged as a result of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) drawing up a list of the least developed countries. This led to a myriad of further initiatives, for instance within the World Trade Organisation with the ‘WTO Plan of Action for the Least Developed Countries’. This form of flexible governance is also to be found in the two groups mentioned in relation to the 1.5°C limit. The Climate Vulnerable Forum states that it has an ‘open, inclusive and semi-formal approach’. Its ‘operational modalities’ specify further what this means. The modalities read that ‘countries may choose to join and discontinue their participation’, adding that ‘the membership shall not to [sic] be limited to any specific region nor to countries impacted by a single or group of specified phenomenon’. Yet, it is not an open door policy either, as the CVF Summit still has to ‘consider’ any ‘proposal’ for including new members. The voluntary nature of the Climate Vulnerable 3 Climate Change 72 Forum is also highlighted in its expectation: ‘Member countries are not expected to negotiate binding rules and may not be obliged to implement decisions and recommendations’. To those who would read that as a statement that the Forum cannot pull strings to get anything done, the introduction of the 1.5°C limit would be a noteworthy example. Despite its normative nature remaining relatively low, it is a first step in a long process towards establishing it as the new standard – and not the 2°C limit. The form of governance of the Alliance of Small Island States (AO- SIS) is also flexible, but in different terms. For a start, it doesn’t have a founding document highlighting how members may join or leave the group. True, there has been much change since its inception. The Alliance of Small Island States came together in 1990, as they recognised how disproportionally vulnerable they were to climate change. Since then, two countries have withdrawn (Cyprus and Malta) while two have joined fully (the Dominican Republic and Timor-Leste) and one has joined as an observer (Puerto Rico). The real importance of the group, though, only started in 1992, as the United Nations decided to develop a climate change convention. Their achievement to be even relevant is remarkable when considering the tiny population and contributions to climate change of those islands, even when all combined together. Helpfully, three scholars at the University of Zurich explained that the countries ‘work together largely based on consultation and coordination’. These scholars also explained the success of the group with the first-mover advantage, as in 1992, few groupings existed – which is very different to now, as this chapter has shown.22 The number of groupings is rather large and goes well beyond the few mentioned here. Briefly, just to showcase the point, here are a few other examples. The Durban Alliance sought to break the North/South divide by bringing together the AOSIS, the Least Developed Countries, the Cartagena Dialogue countries, South Africa, and the EU. Regional groupings included the left-wing coalition Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA in Spanish), the Central American Integration System (SICA in Spanish), the League of Arab States (LAS), 22 Carola Betzold, Paula Castro and Florian Weiler, 2012. ‘AOSIS in the UNFCCC negotiations: from unity to fragmentation?’, Climate Policy, 12 (5), 591–613. Further groupings 73 the Caucasus, Albania and Moldova Group (CACAM), the Mountainous Landlocked Developing Countries (Armenia, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and more controversially, the Visegrad countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – which have rather tried to perpetuate the life of coal. There are also groupings focusing on a single issue, such as the Coalition of Rainforest Nations (CfRN), or the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The G-summitries, with the G7, or the G8+5 are also worthy of mention. To wrap up this non-extensive list, the topic of climate change is also a brilliant example of group leadership theory, as other non-state actors have also played a prominent role. These include many activist groups, naturally, but also religious groups. Pope Francis took up the topic in his second encyclical in May 2015, calling for global action against climate change with the subtitle ‘On care for our common home’. Also remarkable is the group C40, a group connecting (at the time of writing) 90 large cities. With its secretariat deciding who can join, C40 is more formal than other groups, for instance the AOSIS. The name C40 stems from the group’s original count of 18, which quickly rose to 40 cities (in 2005). Smaller cities can also join the group as long as they can ‘show effort to tackle climate change’. Again, the effort of each city within the group is voluntary and based on collaboration, but this does not mean that this cannot be effective. According to Benjamin Barber’s 2013 book If Mayors Ruled the World, it is cities, not nation-states, that truly lead the way on global change. While this may be exaggerated, cities have also contributed to the Paris Agreement. While the 2015 Paris conference was under way, 1,000 cities gathered in parallel and signed the Paris City Hall Declaration. Through the Declaration, the cities ‘commit[ed] collectively to [...] deliver [...] the 2 degree emissions reduction pathway identified by the scientific community’, for example. The cities also set up a complex procurement system, the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, which could help with the measurement of carbon emissions. C40 is not the only grouping of cities out there: to name but a few, there are also: the US National League of Cities, the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network, the International Council for Local Envi- 3 Climate Change 74 ronmental Initiatives, the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, and the Cities and Climate Change Initiative. This long list of initiatives at the local level brings to the forefront a lesson to extract from this policy field. Although climate change is a global problem, several scholars have emphasised that ‘cooperation should begin with much smaller groups [and] nonbinding agreements that are more flexible’ (David G. Victor of the University of California). Similarly, William Antholis, then managing director at the Brookings, a think tank, wrote: Lesson learned: size matters. When it comes to global governance, it was and is easier to get things done with a smaller number of the right countries.23 The approach to the Paris Agreement is supportive to this thesis. It is noteworthy that many of the groups presented have this very flexible approach to membership, as well as to topics. This approach has also trickled down to the Paris Agreement and stands in contrast to the Kyoto Protocol. Back then, in 1997, the assumption between the lines of the binding agreement was that countries would act in their own shortterm self-interest and not necessarily in the name of ‘global interests’. The Paris Agreement, on the other hand, assumes – sort of – that countries are capable of living up to collective goals, transparency, and revising those goals on a regular basis: sort of, as the national interests of many countries have also become increasingly aligned with the one of the global order. Investments in renewable energy, even short-term ones, have brought more returns. Domestically, politicians have seen a need to please their electorate in order to provide an answer to their fears, or experience, of catastrophic weather events. And with these types of events, the long term prospects of climate change have appeared a lot nearer, giving them a much more practical tone than series of figures, charts, and concepts could achieve. Sceptics would bring in the Copenhagen Accord to say that both are based on voluntary inputs (Paris has minor binding bits, as this chapter has already pointed out). The process with which these two ac- 23 Antholis, William, 2009. ‘Five ‘G’s’: Lessons from World Trade for Governing Global Climate Change’, in Brainard, Lae and Isaac Sorkin, Climate Change, Trade, and Competitiveness: Is a Collision Inevitable?, Brookings Institution Press. Further groupings 75 cords were brought about was very different. Copenhagen was mostly regarded as a failure, for two reasons. Firstly, the expectations were to bring on a new Kyoto-type binding treaty. For Paris, this high expectation had already changed. Secondly, the accord was the result of a last minute, on-the-side meeting of five countries – remote from the usual multilateral unanimous process of the United Nations. As the Copenhagen summit was drawing to an end, a group of 22 countries, Friends of the Chair, tried to put together a very succinct document of only 2.5 pages, containing only the argument enjoying the most support.24 But even such a short document failed to convince. China stubbornly refused to allow third-party verification of its emission reductions, as long as the treaty would be legally binding. As the final day was coming to a close, desperation was high. The then US President Barack Obama still had a last meeting with the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao. As he arrived for his meeting, Obama found that Wen had invited other heads: Brazil’s Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, India’s Manmohan Singh, and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma were also present. The five of them were able to come to a product – the Copenhagen Accord – and the deadline for the negotiations got pushed back. Although the agreement was non-binding, it still needed the unanimous approval of the United Nations countries. This time, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Sudan refused to agree. The United Nations could only ‘take note of the Copenhagen Accord’ by the end of the summit, and it remained unclear how many countries would support it. In comparison, countries negotiated the Paris Accord more fully. Between 2009 and 2015, it had become clearer that the old divisive regime (between developed countries paying the price for their past emissions while developing countries faced almost no constraint) could not continue. Different G-summits paved the way towards accepting this new, more inclusive, regime, based on voluntary contributions. This chapter has focused primarily on the Paris agreement, but the story of group leadership within climate change goes far beyond this framework. Most of the groups either emerged prior to the meeting, or 24 Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Korea, Lesotho, Maldives, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States 3 Climate Change 76 have outlived it. They have shown as well that even with no leadership from the US, another form of leadership was possible. The G8 and G20 Many other groups, which were not mentioned in the chapter, have also contributed to climate policy outside this United Nations framework. The G8 and the G20 are two of them. Although critiques like to dismiss such forums as just irrelevant chit-chat, due to the mostly nonbinding nature of the talks, they do register tangible achievements. The G8 summit of 2005, mentioned earlier in the context of a change of heart from President Bush to agree to acknowledge the role of humans in inducing climate change, saw an 80% compliance rate of pledges made in relation to climate change, according to the two scholars John J. Kirton and Ella Kokotsis. Even more tangible is the decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to re-route a pipeline to protect the Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. The two aforementioned scholars saw the influence of the G8 in this decision, which was positive for the protection of the environment. The G8 influence continued. In September 2006, Angela Merkel had been one year in the job as German Chancellor. She was a former environment minister (1994–1998) who had notably assisted the first United Nations climate conference (Conference of the Parties-1). Merkel called for climate change to be the top priority for the upcoming 2007 summit at Heiligendamm. At the summit, five other invited countries would take part: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. The summit already marked an early turn away from the distinction between Annex I and non-Annex I countries, as all countries – rich and poor, North and South – would participate and accept constraints. The following year, in 2008, in Japan, at Hokkaido Toyako, the G8 reached an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. The agreement conveniently left out whether this was binding or not, and did not specify any further measures for the short and medium terms. Little by little, the G8, and from 2010 to 2014, the G20, were filling in the void left by the United Nations with the ‘old’ climate change The G8 and G20 77 regime. When the G20 countries started meeting together, it was primarily to face the 2008 financial crisis, not climate change. In 2009, the question arose of whether to expand to take on the topic. The UK, EU, Japan and Mexico supported this, but others, such as Canada and China, found that the venue and process for it was clearly within the United Nations remit. After November 2010, this position changed, and the G20 arguably even overtook the G8 in the lead for climate change, due to its larger and more encompassing list of countries. This point was made even clearer when in November 2011, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol –one year before the treaty’s end of commitment period in 2012. Conveniently, it also saved Canada $14 billion that it should have paid as penalties for failing to reach its targets. Shortly after Canada’s announcement, Japan and Russia followed suit, stating they would not accept any new post-Kyoto commitments. This series of withdrawals and lack of support meant that half of the G8 constituency was now not part of the key treaty anymore, undermining its stature as a ‘leader’ on the topic. Amongst this new role for the G8 and the G20 during the 2009–2014 years, the United Nations was not completely side-tracked either. Ban Ki-moon opened the 2010 session on development by urging countries to start funding the Green Climate Fund. Many other groups than all those mentioned so far, and at different levels, bringing together companies and activists, have also played a role and continue to do so in the fight against climate change. This chapter did not aim to comprehensively review them all, nor see what their governance model would look like, but the chapter aimed to show that much evidence to support group leadership theory exists in the realm of policy to tackle climate change. Arguably, the theory is well suited for such a topic, where some see a sense of urgency that can bring a sentiment that we need to act to save mankind. This has, however, a romantic appeal that the reality of politics exposes as too idealistic. Large countries – prominently the US, China, and India – blocked agreements. And the harsh reality of Kyoto came and went in all its splendour, as the Earth’s two largest emitters did not join it. The sense of urgency is not a prerequisite for group leadership theory to function – otherwise this would have been an important omission in the previous chapter. The same dynamic can be seen in other 3 Climate Change 78 policy areas, the one of trade and business for instance, as the next chapter will show. The G8 and G20 79

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Abstract

The US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the ‘Iran deal’, UNESCO, as well as the UN Human Rights Councils: issues like these convey the impression that the world order has changed. Without US leadership, it may seem that we have entered into what Ian Bremmer, an oft-quoted political pundit, calls a G0 world, a world without any leadership. Clement Guitton argues against this world view, as it disregards evidence of global leadership around the world on matters ranging from climate change, to trade, to security. Going a step further, Guitton claims that there is even evidence of a new form of leadership in international affairs: group leadership.