Chapter 7: Conflicts over climate mitigation commitments
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At their first annual conference in 1995, parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to exempt developing countries from commitments to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. The conference is known as COP-1. As it took place in Berlin, the decision countries took at COP-1 (1995) was named the ‘Berlin Mandate’. Sixteen years later, the same parties – plus a few new additions – convened for COP-17 (2011) in Durban. This time, they put an end to the exemption they had agreed upon in Berlin and launched negotiations for creating a new legal instrument that would be ‘applicable to all parties’. This chapter examines the dynamics that led to both decisions. It reveals that both outcomes are best understood as resulting from the intersection of specific coalition dynamics, specific institutional contexts, and a lasting contestation of differential treatment norms by some industrialized states that eventually paid off.