The Politics of Climate Change Negotiations
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The Politics of Climate Change Negotiations

Strategies and Variables in Prolonged International Negotiations

Christian Downie

The Politics of Climate Change Negotiations describes the successes and failures of long international negotiations and most importantly, examines the lessons they hold for the future.
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Chapter 7: Toward an understanding of prolonged international negotiations

Strategies and Variables in Prolonged International Negotiations

Christian Downie


The international climate change negotiations represent a perfect illustration of prolonged international negotiations. However, as discussed in the introduction, they are no ordinary set of negotiations. The problem they are trying to address threatens the very survival of our species, and for that matter, many others, on this planet. This is the consensus of the international scientific community. It is also the reality that many of the actors in this book grapple with as they negotiate the latest round of international climate negotiations. Many lament the failure of these negotiations, and it is true, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to spiral out of control despite the best efforts of previous negotiations. Yet they have also produced some remarkable successes, such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which many believed was impossible only years before. This book has been about the successes and the failures, but most importantly, it is about the lessons they hold for those who want to make a difference in future prolonged international negotiations be they on climate change, trade or security issues. This is the focus of this chapter, the lessons, and more particularly, the strategies and variables that influence states in prolonged international negotiations. The lessons may be drawn from history, but the theoretical insights and practical strategies are for today. In this final chapter, I will turn first to the theoretical insights to sketch an ëideal typeí framework as a first step toward understanding the temporal dimension of prolonged international negotiations.

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