Shifting Global Climate Governance: Creating Long-Term Goals Through UNFCCC Article 2

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P. Brian Fisher


I argue that the long-term risk of global climate change has been mischaracterized as an environmental issue, and therefore, solutions based solely on national emission targets will be ineffective. Thus, this paper argues for establishing long-term goals emphasizing both adaptation and clean energy to generate equitable and effective global climate policy that addresses this fundamental threat. This requires defining and operationalizing the overall objective contained in Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A second key aspect to operationalizing Article 2 is to understand those ‘particularly vulnerable’ as declared in the Article and in various climate agreements. Once operationalized, these long-term objectives can be achieved through approaches that emphasize the development of clean energy (and concomitant technology), and adaptation within vulnerable communities in their local context. It necessitates dropping formal mechanisms at the current core of the regime designed to regulate national emissions, and instead build the core of the regime around the ‘stabilization’ of both the climate system through clean energy and vulnerable people through effective adaptation.

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Global Climate Change Policy: Post-Copenhagen Discord Special Issue September 2011 (Peer Reviewed)