Conference of Parties

Regulation: Climate change is an issue that affects us globally, issues such as rise in temperature and sea water could be highly consequential for the environment and the world. Various organisations, governments and industries have all been looking for solutions by implementing procedures in order to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

There is high concern as to human activities being the cause of climate change, as illustrated by Dr Stott it is not only about the increase in temperatures but the melting of the ice in the Arctic, changes in rainfall patterns and humidity, “all these different aspects of the climate system are adding up to a picture of the effects of a human influence on our climate"[3]. In order to tackle these issues, there has to be some international effort and global governance to not only make policy making cost effective but also to be successfully mitigated.

In terms of shaping global response, the IPCC plays a pivotal role as there reports are the foundation from which governments would create policies. According to the second report, it was said that the highest cause of global warming is human activity, this was vital because this lead to the creation of the Kyoto Protocol. This shows the impact the IPCC has on a state and its regulation processes.

It is clear that government involvement is necessary in order to reach the “2050 GHG emissions reductions target” and it is clear that to reduce global warming governments must develop and maintain a regulatory system within each state, which would then have impact at a global level. Nonetheless, because climate change is seen to be a massive issue, this also means that it would be hard to reach international agreements. Developing countries, for example, do not like their development being struck down by restrictions because historically they have contributed a small amount to the emissions.

When the state decides to implement regulation, the state has to take in to account the economic state and the effects this would have on businesses for example, such as cuts in fuel consumption. The fact that regulation in this area is at a global level, some nations may be reluctant to take part to reduce emission which would then create uncertainly about the ways in which policies can be made cost effective. Regulation is important as it restricts the way in which the society behaves for climate change for example, the state would see to regulate when they see some risk to society.

There are ongoing negotiations on how to regulate climate change. The state started to negotiate a possible answer within the United Nations under the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC). The UFCCC is an international treaty which aims to reduce change in the global temperature and consequently climate change. The main idea of the convention is to illiterate that the dominant cause is human activities, which produces greenhouse gasses. So what the international community looks to do is to tackle this problem and enforce the importance of humans being less dependent on such activities.

It was apparent that the convention was not sufficiently adequate to deal with a global issue such as climate change to they introduced the ‘Kyoto Protocol’. It bound developing countries to reduce emissions and set targets that have to be met. The protocol may have been the worlds attempt to reduce emissions; however the protocol was described as the ‘wrong tool’. When regulating the state the carbon market (that allows governments to meet there targets by buying and trading them) is useful…..

This is useful tool for the United Kingdom and other countries when regulating the state, because there is uncertainty that surrounds whether the state will be able to meet their emission target if they were to take national measures[4]…. There are countries who have not committed to reduction of emissions such as the US compared to the UK who have done more because of the increase in public awareness on climate change had lead the governments to dig deeper in regulating and mitigating these issues. A challenge faced by the state could be negotiation which is a vital part in any global governance.

Countries come together at the annual Conference of Parties to discuss the legal agreement and the current state of global warming. Because of the fact that climate change affects the world globally it is something that all the countries should come together and conclude ways in which they could minimise emissions and consequences of it. When implementing regulations the state will come across challenges such as the issue of uncertainty. The idea that it is not clear as to the amount of greenhouse gasses each country is producing.

The US was reluctant to confine within the Kyoto Protocol as it was seen to have advantaged developing countries. [5] The UK is highly involved in international negotiations as it reflects the reports of the IPCC when setting out its carbon budget. Because of the UK’s acceptance to international regimes and intergovernmental bodies such as the IPCC shows that they also feel that climate change is a global issue that should be dealt with at a global level. The UK has shown some form of regulation in relation to global warming through the Climate Change Act 2008.

This was an act put in to action in 2008, it set targets for the UK to respond to causes and consequences of climate change. It can be said as their way to maintain sovereignty over the state; it was to show that they are committed to reducing their carbon emissions. To take it a step further to make sure that they follow through with the targets the implemented a public body committee, who are focused in ensuring that those targets are met. The UK has done its part in reducing its emissions through a report known as ‘Geoengineering’, which is a study of ways to change patterns in the weather etc.

It goes on to say that the regulation of climate change would allow the state to explore its various environmental issues, which affect the way it is regulated. It is an idea that has been thought about by the UK but is seen to be a backup plan. Geoengineering is not seen as a practical alternative however if worst comes to worst and the regulations already implemented do not take shape then it is a possibility that geoengineering could be a possible solution to the reduction in greenhouse gasses.

Due to the rising public interest into the issue of climate change, countries have recognised the important to become an economy that aims to reduce its carbon footprint. The UK implemented what is known as congestion charge to minimise cars travelling to and from central London (a heavily populated area) and to encourage people to use bicycles and public transport, thereby reducing their carbon footprint. It is crucial to say that any form of global governance raises issues about sovereignty of the state, there of course would be resistance to shift from being an independent country as the UK has been.

Not only this, state sovereignty may also diminish because IPCC are seen not as a body that simply provided advice to the government and policy makers but a authority that is acknowledged for its scientific research. The role of the IPCC itself affects the notion of sovereignty as government officials would find it difficult to implement their own regulation after taking into account what has been found by the IPCC. Nonetheless, in terms of regulation, the United States was one who introduced the IPCC; the question is what makes the US the ones to follow?

In addition, it is the US that are now opposing against climate regimes, which then in turn reflects important features of global science and politics by the IPCC. In conclusion, there is a co-production between science and politics, like the way the IPCC select certain individuals from different countries and exclude those from developing countries. Also when they say that scientist in developing countries do not have that expertise and knowledge therefore invalidating their views from the panel.

It has been a hybrid as it confines within science and politics through that way it provides advice to governments and policy makers. Even though it has recently been seen as a body that is not scientifically sound, it is still a body that has played a important role in global governance. Its relation in politics is affirmed with its corporation with the UNFCCC. It is however highly important that politics remains separated from science as it would then create certainty, be able to create better relationships between developing countries and be seen as scientifically sound.

The idea of sovereignty has lessened countries that used to be independent now how to follow what has been put in place by the IPCC. Finally, it is clear that the United Kingdom has been very much involved in reducing climate change through the regulations it has implemented, which in turn is done locally within the state but the affects would be seen globally. The battle of it being global or local has been shown and we can conclude that it is a global issues as well as a local one.