Chapter 44: Multilateralism in crisis?
This chapter examines the question of whether climate multilateralism is facing a legitimacy crisis. Drawing on a constructivist sociological understanding of legitimacy it argues that a crisis of legitimacy is a critical turning point whereby support for the climate regime, or a set of negotiations under the regime, by a critical mass of states threatens to erode to the point where disempowerment will ensue unless corrective action is taken across any or all of the dimensions of input, output and outcome legitimacy. It shows that the parties have managed to avert crises in the climate negotiations by lowering expectations, avoiding principled commitments and introducing greater flexibility and creative ambiguity in texts and decisions. It concludes that while disempowerment of the climate regime has so far been averted in ways that have kept the parties at the negotiation table, this may not be sufficient to avert a real world climate crisis.
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