Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.

Chapter 13: The North–South divide

Joyeeta Gupta

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


This chapter argues that the climate change issue is a classical North–South issue using a series of arguments. It then submits that the 25-year negotiation history of climate change shows can be divided into five phases. The chapter examines how the North–South dimension in relation to the nature of issues, membership of the two groups, and the coalitions they engage in, has evolved in each of these five phases. It explains that current discussions and frustrations regarding the ability of the international negotiations to address the climate change problem have to be examined in the light of evolving negotiations and the commitments that countries have been willing to adopt in the past. The chapter concludes that although in the initial stages of the negotiations there was more trust between the groups, there has been growing mistrust of the South with regard to whether the North would like to equitably address the problem.

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