Book Reviews: Climate Law and Developing Countries - Legal & Policy Challenges for the world economy


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This collection of essays on climate change law and the challenges associated with it in developing countries is unique. It provides both an international and a domestic perspective on developing countries in the global response to climate change. It is universally acknowledged that developing countries will be the most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. This text, therefore, provides a timely scholarly analysis of climate law and policy issues, focusing on developing countries.

The editors clearly set the foundation for the book, identifying broadly the consequences and challenges of climate change. The book attempts a clarification of developing countries within the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and draws out the major issues related to developing countries. These include the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and interaction between north and south within and outside the UNFCCC. The problems associated with implementation of mitigation  measures within the domestic purview of developing and developed countries in relation to climate governance are also explored early on in the text. The book is made up of an informative introductory chapter and 15 chapters, divided into four pails.

The first part of the book is devoted to climate justice issues. One of the underlying principles in the climate change regime is the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. This principle forms the basis on which developing countries have been participating in the present regime and negotiations. The divide which surrounded the 15th Conference of Parties at Copenhagen was largely influenced by the principle, which was approached from various angles. In discussing this, Atapattu calls for a reclassification of developing countries since, under the current regime, their greenhouse gases (GHG) trajectories vary. The likely deficiencies to be encountered in climate change litigation are also examined, calling for a new approach to liabilities and compensation relating to cli-mate change. Atapattu also makes a case for a regime that places emphasises on adaptation. Contrary to Atapattu's stance, Badrinarayana notes that developing countries are not likely to accept binding emissions targets because of the effect on their economy. She also identifies the measures employed by India towards climate change mitigation and makes a case for the use of litigation within domestic law. The contributions by Williams and Kwa give useful insights into the discussions on climate refugees and vulnerable communities, such as indigenous peoples, who are at the receiving end of climate change.

The negotiations for a post-2012 climate change regime have been characterised by proposals from various areas on the scope of the climate change regime. The second part of the book explores some of the noteworthy options. Lin maintains that it is not necessary to have an adaptation protocol to address the lapses in the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol because adaptation has become an important agenda within the UNFCCC. There is a need, however, to strengthen the framework for adaptation. Stockwell, Hare and Macy propose a new framework for reducing emissions from defor-estation and forest degradation (REDD), though omitted the concept of REDD Plus, a concept in the post-2012 negotiation process. Fowler advocates for enhanced bio-sequestration. On the regional approach to adaptation to combat biodiversity, the work of Erens, Verschuuren and Bastmeijer is very useful. They provide an important overview of the initiatives in Africa and the European Union in the use of adaptive measures to address biodiversity resulting from the effect of climate change.

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