Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH

Tracking down the future climate regime – An assessment of current negotiations under the U.N.

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Heads of State of eight major industrialised nations recently affirmed that the United Nations will remain “the appropriate forum for negotiating future global action on climate change.” Within the U.N., however, a number of concurrent “tracks” have emerged for negotiations and discussions, accompanied by a certain degree of overlap and giving rise to questions on the mandate, scope, and limitations of each track as a pathway to a future climate regime. Options for global climate governance beyond 2012 have been addressed in formal negotiations based on Article 3 (9) and 9 of the Kyoto Protocol, while parties to the UNFCCC have initiated an open and non-binding dialogue on future cooperative action under the Convention. Meanwhile, a proposal submitted by the Russian Federation has also become relevant by addressing certain aspects of a future climate regime. Each of these fora has specific characteristics regarding the range of admissible negotiators or discussants, issue areas, and objectives, determining how it can influence and contribute to the shape of a future climate policy architecture. Describing the evolution of the different fora, the following article draws on official documents and statements to, first, outline the central features and respective differences of each negotiation track, including the legal boundaries, and second, to assess options for the application of issues discussed within each forum towards a coherent climate regime.

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