Compromising on a climate regime: on the importance of perceptions
Compromising on a climate regime: on the importance of perceptions / Carole-Anne Sénit. Paris : IDDRI, octobre 2011, 22 p. (working paper ; n° 9/2011)
Points-clés (source et copyright : © IDDRI) :
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS NO LONGER CONSENSUAL
The evolution of power relations induced by globalization has considerably affected the negotiators’ ability to uphold the regime on sustainable development agreed on by the international community in 1992. In particular, the climate regime’s variables –power levers, social goals, consensual knowledge, and rules, principles and norms framing cooperation between States– are perceived differently both between countries and decision-makers. These differences in representations hamper national and international decision-making processes on climate change, which therefore generate a failure of modern politics.
THE SUBCONSCIOUS DEVELOPMENT BIAS
Climate change negotiations show that policy action on sustainable development is based on the belief that development and therefore power can only be achieved through economic growth, and that economic growth can hardly be decoupled from emissions’ growth.
THE HUMAN DIMENSION OF CLIMATE CHANGE SHOULD NOT BE NEGLECTED
The inertia characterizing the decision-making process on climate change originates in differences of perceptions of the issue itself. Negotiation documents are essentially based on a physical and economic definition of the issue, and neglect social, cultural and psychological meanings of climate. However, a changing climate induces shifts and risks which also have to be addressed at the individual and collective levels according to cognitive elements of interpretation, often at odds with rationality.
THE GOVERNANCE DEADLOCK
The shattering of the climate regime by globalization highlighted its imperfections: permeability of science to politics, legal malleability of Rio’s principles, and governance fragmentation. These deficiencies gave way to the expression and domination of particular interests over general purposes, hindering coordination and action. How could democracies address this climate deadlock?