Common Sense Climate Change – Paul Fry

Do we need a comprehensive and binding international treaty in order to start to tackle the global issue of climate change? Of course not. Do we need the country of Lesotho to agree to chip in by reducing greenhouse gas emissions before other countries can move forward on addressing climate change? Again, of course not, and thankfully it seems that we are waking up to those simple facts.

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Combating Climate Change One State at a Time: Soo Jeon

Combating climate change has been an issue for quite some time now, but many of us are on different pages regarding the seriousness of this issue. Some people choose to ignore because they don’t think it will affect them, while some are trying to address climate change as quickly as they can. From the readings that I’ve read, it’s clear that all three of the authors feel that combating climate change is something that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. It is also apparent that these authors all agree that there needs to be solutions to problems of international cooperation. However, here’s the catch. Every country view benefits of the climate change differently that not all of them are willing to cooperate at the same rate or on the same level. Every country is different in what they think they need at this time and the benefits or troubles that might come with addressing climate change. In the US, we are actively trying to combat climate change- especially the younger generation. This is because we know that it will affect us! However, the older generation might not feel that climate change is a very big concern to them because they will not live long enough to see the changes made through combating climate change rapidly.

Additionally, although there must be push for climate change on an international level, I feel that it is more important to combat this in a domestic level first. I feel that on an international scale, some of the smaller states who do not have such a big problem with climate change yet seem like they are not very relevant to combating climate change. This might be because they don’t think their use of CO2 emission will make a difference in the long term. It might also be because their CO2 emission doesn’t compare to the amount of CO2 emission from China or India. This is why every country must find their individual losses and gains by combating climate change on a domestic scale first. Then, they can decide to join other countries on an international level to agree on a decision regarding addressing climate change.

Of course, major emitters like India and China will need to have pressure on them to make changes immediately regarding cutting back on their CO2 emissions. Maybe attaching a price to carbon will help. However, if this is enforced to other small countries that don’t need this type of regulation on them yet, they will just choose to opt out and not care about the climate change at all. This is why it is important to have each country, small or big, figure out their costs and benefits regarding taking immediate action on climate change. Combating climate change must be done. However, there are steps and different stages to ultimately achieve this.


Since the Kyoto Protocal, is an important to address that since the international agreement was implemented, it has not been able to succeed because of the different goals and objectives of governemnts.

Cooperation as in trade offs is a principal limitation in the commitment of an opposing party. Most of the governments involved in the transformation of climate change today have different objectives and goals on what is most important. For example, while the U.S. is one of the biggest contributors to emissions in CO2, China and India have had little ambition for effective cooperation, meanwhile Russia and emerging countries are more focused on the development of countries rather than emissions. These states have different goals of what is actually going to be effective for the international community. The EU meanwhile is the second largest contributor but has made effective effectiveness in its contribution, resulting in the fact the impediments are more international. Most of these countries obtain the failure to cooperate because countries end up failing to come up with their own interests or assemble each other towards a common goal. In Victor’s scholarly article, Toward Effective International Cooperation on Climate Change he mentioned to cooperate under transaction costs, it is vital to comprehend the capacity that these treaties, organizations and norms can do to assist cooperation facility between countries and their goals towards climate change. There is only so much that an organization can do when the level of interests of these countries vary in multiple ways. Treaties have the ability to manage these climate change projects, however, if governments are not finding creative ways to be a part of process of these projects then treaties are almost ineffective.

Instead of going through a binding agreement, the best process for a government to do is to establish a non-binding agreement in order for there to be an open environment for governments to commit to more ambitious goals without it being held against them. It is vital to comprehend that these governments have their own self-interests and most of them have different opinions on what the international community is suppose to do about climate change initiatives. It is important that there is a universal agreement because what this will do first is give states the ability of having an agreement manage the process of global change in order for every government to be on the same page of the process. However, it is important that instead of it being a binding project that it would be a non-binding linkage so that governments can challenge themselves more and work together towards global governance. It is important that the agreement is embedded in the institution. In order to understand who is advancing towards this goal, it is important to address the governments national performance.

Since the League of Nations, there has always been a contested fear of these governments to fully commit to its principals. Although treaties can provide a managing universal agreement, as stated before, we live in a realist world and ultimately people are bound to be drawn towards their own goals and self interests. However that being said, instead of having a fully broad group of governments involved in this change, it is ideal that a number of strong governments are able to take the lead in the future of changing our climate if they have the capacity and ability.

If There Was Ever an International Issue, it is Climate Change, and Stakes are Needed.

Of all the issues that the world faces, Climate change is arguably the biggest one that cannot be handled by any one state. However, as there is no higher power to compel states to act in the proper ways to combat it, there need to be proper sticks and carrots to coerce them into action. While there has been much talk about carrots, the world needs to focus more on sticks. In this case, I think that states, especially the ones with the largest capacity to affect climate change, such as the US, India, and China, need to have stakes in the game. If there were to be an independent international organization that were to collect a deposit from the major contributors to climate change. If the goal of the organization was enforcement of treaties about climate change, they could make the stipulation that if the States who signed on to these treaties either backed out of them or fell short of their commitments by a certain year, then that country would lose their deposit. That way, there would be a significant stick that would get state actors to step up and keep their commitments. Shame and lose of face are compelling sticks in the international system to be sure, though they are not enough for this huge issue.

Global Action

Environmental change was always a concept too far off for any diplomat to think was an impending issue especially in the midst of economic fluctuations and war-torn chaos. For the first time, political leaders are realizing that global warming might be something they experience in their lifetime. Controlling the climate is an international issue that has been delegated on a domestic basis. Not even country-to-country, but politician-to-politician due to the rising fears of reelections. Temperatures are rising internationally not domestically.

The UN’s annual climate conference in Copenhagen 2008 ultimately failed in creating global international change. At this conference, nations could dictate their level of commitment to environmental change. This resulted in multiple nations such as the US showing complete apathy towards measurable change. International change will not take place unless it is forced up on them. It is understandable that nations that set their own rules, end up following through however, priorities need to be set on climate change. There is overall extremely low overall commitment to international climate change. If the economy continues to trump the environment as a priority, there won’t be an economy to upkeep for very much longer.

Though nations such as the US are extremely hesitant to collective and multilateral action, this is one instance where the international community needs to pressure US, Chinese, and Indian retaliation. The most ideal situation would be for emission experts to dictate how much each nation would need to lower their carbon dioxide emissions for a livable atmosphere and have each nation negotiate around that figure. However, this is likely to result in change, as many politicians of countries such as China and India are more concerned about the economic implications of these treaties.

Climate Change: Universal Accountability with No Universal Solution in Sight –Anthony DeSantis

It is increasingly difficult to escape blame for climate change. Culpability lies in the land we allocate to urban development, in cars we drive, and even in many of the manufactured goods we enjoy. Culpability is also not specific to the developed world. China and India do not trail so far behind the U.S. and the EU in the share of global emissions toxic to the environment. We must recognize that climate change is something to which many-if-not-most people around the globe are contributing. However, as scholars like David Victor have pointed out without tire, universal “solutions” drawn up through the conventional international institutions are unable to provide us with sufficient climate governance. Instead, a looser framework relatively lacking in universality and binding institutions seems more likely to succeed in reducing the risk calculus for world-wide, climate change-induced disaster.

Continue reading Climate Change: Universal Accountability with No Universal Solution in Sight –Anthony DeSantis

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