Europe and Global Climate Change
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Europe and Global Climate Change

Politics, Foreign Policy and Regional Cooperation

Edited by Paul G. Harris

The core objective of this book is to better understand the role of foreign policy – the crossovers and interactions between domestic and international politics and policies – in efforts to preserve the environment and natural resources. Underlying this objective is the belief that it is not enough to analyze domestic or international political actors, institutions and processes by themselves. We need to understand the interactions among them, something that explicit thought about foreign policy can help us do.
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Chapter 4: Middle Power Leadership in the Climate Change Negotiations: Foreign Policy of the Netherlands

Norichika Kanie


* Norichika Kanie INTRODUCTION This chapter examines the foreign policy of the Netherlands in the context of negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol’s Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives (QELROs). The Netherlands, despite being only a ‘middle power’, exerted significant leadership in the process of formulating the European Union’s (EU’s) proposals for the 1997 Kyoto conference of the parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). The EU showed leadership in the negotiations on global climate change (GCC), setting an ambitious emissions reduction target for the Kyoto conference. Careful investigation shows that the Netherlands’ leadership during this process was a result of its domestic policies, national institutions and a set of ideas that had developed through important research projects. The framework of the EU, as a coalition for the negotiations and as an economic block, worked in the process as a power device between a European middle power and the international GCC power game, making the influence of the Netherlands’ foreign policy larger than one would normally expect from a state of its size. The kind of leadership that was exerted by the Netherlands can be identified as ‘leadership through unilateral action’ or ‘directional leadership’, consistent with the way leadership in multilateral negotiations is construed by such scholars as Arild Underdal (1994), Oran Young (1983, 1989), and Joyeeta Gupta and Michael Grubb (2000). Case studies on socio-economic and global environmental regime-building processes have shown that while this type of unilateral leadership occurs less frequently than expected in...

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