Interests and the Failure of the Kyoto Process
In June 1988 Canada sponsored an international conference on ‘The Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security’. This was attended by 340 people from 46 countries, including two heads of state and more than 100 government officials, but it was not an officially sanctioned intergovernmental conference and government participants attended only in their personal capacities. Also attending were many scientists, industry representatives and environmentalists. Despite having no official status, the Toronto Conference issued a statement calling for a global framework convention, the establishment of a ‘World Atmosphere Fund’ to be part-financed by a levy on fossil-fuel consumption in industrialized countries, and an ambitious 20 per cent reduction in global CO2 emissions from the 1988 level by 2005. (A target of 60 per cent had been discussed, but Wolf Häfele argued against such a demanding target because the fast breeder reactor would not be ready in sufficient time to achieve this goal.) As we saw in the preceding chapter, nuclear interests were never far below the surface at this conference. This close relationship between interests and negotiating positions can be observed throughout the whole process, in particular in the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol and subsequently. While much of the rhetoric surrounding these negotiations suggested that only the fossil fuel industry, OPEC countries and the Umbrella Group were driven by economic interests, such interests were inextricably woven through the positions of all parties. All were seeking both to maximize their interests in the development of international agreements and to reduce the...
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