United Nations Framework Convention (unite + nation_framework_convention)

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Selected Abstracts

AIChE offers technological insights to the public policy debate on global climate change

David E. Gushee
Global climate change has been a major issue on the national political agenda since 1988. Several Committees on Capitol Hill conducted hearings concerning the heat waves then searing the nation. Testimony by several well-regarded scientists at those hearings that "we ain't seen nothing yet" led to impressive headlines in the national media. Since then, unusually high temperatures, a succession of forecasts of serious negative impacts from the projected continued warming, and well-publicized Congressional hearings led to the creation of the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol. As a result, climate change is on just about every technology organization's agenda. In 1996, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers joined the list of organizations formally responding to the issue. The Government Relations Committee (GRC) formed a Task Force on Climate Change, made up of Institute members active in a number of aspects of the issue area. The charge to the Task Force: Look for opportunities for the Institute to contribute to the public policy debate on the issue and frame position papers accordingly. The first major conclusion of the Task Force was that AIChE is not in a position to state whether or not global climate change is a real public policy problem. However, to the extent that the public policy process treats climate change as an issue, the Institute is well positioned to comment on the technical merits of proposed policy responses. The Task Force recommended this posture to the GRC, which agreed. [source]

Authority through synergism: the roles of climate change linkages

Björn-Ola Linnér
Abstract This article examines the conceptual basis of synergies between the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international organizations and agreements. It discusses why synergies are made, what kinds there are and their potential consequences. Considering actors' divergent goals, synergies do not necessarily imply win,win outcomes. The article distinguishes between positive and negative synergetic effects, which should be explicated at different levels, such as the differing goals of various agreements, institutions, parties and social groups. Efforts of international organizations to increase synergy can be regarded as attempts to build authority. Yet, synergy is also used by countries to influence this process. Current synergetic efforts may profoundly affect the relocation of authority in global environmental governance, not only by streamlining mandates, practices and objectives, but also by leading to more powerful international organizations (e.g. WTO) increasingly taking precedence over climate change agreements. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment. [source]

Teaching and Learning Guide for: The Geopolitics of Climate Change

Jon Barnett
Author's Introduction Climate change is a security problem in as much as the kinds of environmental changes that may result pose risks to peace and development. However, responsibilities for the causes of climate change, vulnerability to its effects, and capacity to solve the problem, are not equally distributed between countries, classes and cultures. There is no uniformity in the geopolitics of climate change, and this impedes solutions. Author Recommends 1.,Adger, W. N., et al. (eds) (2006). Fairness in adaptation to climate change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. A comprehensive collection of articles on the justice dimensions of adaptation to climate change. Chapters discuss potential points at which climate change becomes ,dangerous', the issue of adaptation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the unequal outcomes of adaptation within a society, the effects of violent conflict on adaptation, the costs of adaptation, and examples from Bangladesh, Tanzania, Botswana, and Hungary. 2.,Leichenko, R., and O'Brien, K. (2008). Environmental change and globalization: double exposures. New York: Oxford University Press. This book uses examples from around the world to show the way global economic and political processes interact with environmental changes to create unequal outcomes within and across societies. A very clear demonstration of the way vulnerability to environmental change is as much driven by social processes as environmental ones, and how solutions lie within the realm of decisions about ,development' and ,environment'. 3.,Nordås, R., and Gleditsch, N. (2007). Climate conflict: common sense or nonsense? Political Geography 26 (6), pp. 627,638. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2007.06.003 An up-to-date, systematic and balanced review of research on the links between climate change and violent conflict. See also the other papers in this special issue of Political Geography. 4.,Parry, M., et al. (eds) (2007). Climate change 2007: impacts adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. The definitive review of all the peer-reviewed research on the way climate change may impact on places and sectors across the world. Includes chapters on ecosystems, health, human settlements, primary industries, water resources, and the major regions of the world. All chapters are available online at http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg2.htm 5.,Salehyan, I. (2008). From climate change to conflict? No consensus yet. Journal of Peace Research 45 (3), pp. 315,326. doi:10.1177/0022343308088812 A balanced review of research on the links between climate change and conflict, with attention to existing evidence. 6.,Schwartz, P., and Randall, D. (2003). An abrupt climate change scenario and its implications for United States national security. San Francisco, CA: Global Business Network. Gives insight into how the US security policy community is framing the problem of climate change. This needs to be read critically. Available at http://www.gbn.com/ArticleDisplayServlet.srv?aid=26231 7.,German Advisory Council on Global Change. (2007). World in transition: climate change as a security risk. Berlin, Germany: WBGU. A major report from the German Advisory Council on Global Change on the risks climate changes poses to peace and stability. Needs to be read with caution. Summary and background studies are available online at http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_jg2007_engl.html 8.,Yamin, F., and Depedge, J. (2004). The International climate change regime: a guide to rules, institutions and procedures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. A clear and very detailed explanation of the UNFCCC's objectives, actors, history, and challenges. A must read for anyone seeking to understand the UNFCCC process, written by two scholars with practical experience in negotiations. Online Materials 1.,Environmental Change and Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars http://www.wilsoncenter.org/ecsp The major website for information about environmental security. From here, you can download many reports and studies, including the Environmental Change and Security Project Report. 2.,Global Environmental Change and Human Security Project http://www.gechs.org This website is a clearing house for work and events on environmental change and human security. 3.,Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) http://www.ipcc.ch/ From this website, you can download all the chapters of all the IPCC's reports, including its comprehensive and highly influential assessment reports, the most recent of which was published in 2007. The IPCC were awarded of the Nobel Peace Prize ,for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made (sic) climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change'. 4.,Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research http://www.tyndall.ac.uk The website of a major centre for research on climate change, and probably the world's leading centre for social science based analysis of climate change. From this site, you can download many publications about mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and about various issues in the UNFCCC. 5.,United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change http://unfccc.int/ The website contains every major document relation to the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, including the text of the agreements, national communications, country submissions, negotiated outcomes, and background documents about most key issues. Sample Syllabus: The Geopolitics of Climate Change topics for lecture and discussion Week I: Introduction Barnett, J. (2007). The geopolitics of climate change. Geography Compass 1 (6), pp. 1361,1375. United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, address to the 12th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Nairobi, 15 November 2006. Available online at http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=495&ArticleID=5424&l=en Week II: The History and Geography of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Topic: The drivers of climate change in space and time Reading Baer, P. (2006). Adaptation: who pays whom? In: Adger, N., et al. (eds) Fairness in adaptation to climate change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 131,154. Boyden, S., and Dovers, S. (1992). Natural-resource consumption and its environmental impacts in the Western World: impacts of increasing per capita consumption. Ambio 21 (1), pp. 63,69. Week III: The Environmental Consequences of climate change Topic: The risks climate change poses to environmental systems Reading Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Climate change 2007: climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability: summary for policymakers. Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC Secretariat. Watch: Al Gore. The Inconvenient Truth. Weeks IV and V: The Social Consequences of Climate Change Topic: The risks climate change poses to social systems Reading Adger, W. N. (1999). Social vulnerability to climate change and extremes in coastal Vietnam. World Development 27, pp. 249,269. Comrie, A. (2007). Climate change and human health. Geography Compass 1 (3), pp. 325,339. Leary, N., et al. (2006). For whom the bell tolls: vulnerability in a changing climate. A Synthesis from the AIACC project, AIACC Working Paper No. 21, International START Secretariat, Florida. Stern, N. (2007). Economics of climate change: the Stern review. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (Chapters 3,5). Week VI: Mitigation of Climate Change: The UNFCCC Topic: The UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol Reading Najam, A., Huq, S., and Sokona, Y. (2003). Climate negotiations beyond Kyoto: developing countries concerns and interests. Climate Policy 3 (3), pp. 221,231. UNFCCC Secretariat. (2005). Caring for climate: a guide to the climate change convention and the Kyoto Protocol. Bonn, Germany: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat. Weeks VII and VIII: Adaptation to Climate Change Topic: What can be done to allow societies to adapt to avoid climate impacts? Reading Adger, N., et al. (2007). Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. In: Parry, M., et al. (eds) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 717,744. Burton, I., et al. (2002). From impacts assessment to adaptation priorities: the shaping of adaptation policy. Climate Policy 2 (2,3), pp. 145,159. Eakin, H., and Lemos, M. C. (2006). Adaptation and the state: Latin America and the challenge of capacity-building under globalization. Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 16 (1), pp. 7,18. Ziervogel, G., Bharwani, S., and Downing, T. (2006). Adapting to climate variability: pumpkins, people and policy. Natural Resources Forum 30, pp. 294,305. Weeks IX and X: Climate Change and Migration Topic: Will climate change force migration? Readings Gaim, K. (1997). Environmental causes and impact of refugee movements: a critique of the current debate. Disasters 21 (1), pp. 20,38. McLeman, R., and Smit, B. (2006). Migration as adaptation to climate change. Climatic Change 76 (1), pp. 31,53. Myers, N. (2002). Environmental refugees: a growing phenomenon of the 21st century. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 357 (1420), pp. 609,613. Perch-Nielsen, S., Bättig, M., and Imboden, D. (2008). Exploring the link between climate change and migration. Climatic Change (online first, forthcoming); doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9416-y Weeks XI and XII: Climate Change and Violent Conflict Topic: Will Climate change cause violent conflict? Readings Barnett, J., and Adger, N. (2007). Climate change, human security and violent conflict. Political Geography 26 (6), pp. 639,655. Centre for Strategic and International Studies. (2007). The age of consequences: the foreign policy and national security implications of global climate change. Washington, DC: CSIS. Nordås, R., and Gleditsch, N. (2007). Climate conflict: common sense or nonsense? Political Geography 26 (6), pp. 627,638. Schwartz, P., and Randall, D. (2003). An abrupt climate change scenario and its implications for United States national security. San Francisco, CA: Global Business Network. [online]. Retrieved on 8 April 2007 from http://www.gbn.com/ArticleDisplayServlet.srv?aid=26231 Focus Questions 1Who is most responsible for climate change? 2Who is most vulnerable to climate change? 3Does everyone have equal power in the UNFCCC process? 4Will climate change force people to migrate? Who? 5What is the relationship between adaptation to climate change and violent conflict? [source]

A zoological perspective on payments for ecosystem services

Jeffrey A. McNEELY
Abstract The concept of payments for ecosystem services is being developed as an important means of providing a more diverse flow of benefits to people living in and around habitats valuable for conservation. The Kyoto Protocol, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, includes a Clean Development Mechanism to provide for payments for certain forms of carbon sequestration that may benefit animal species (at least as an incidental benefit). Other market-based approaches for paying for carbon sequestration services outside the Kyoto framework are being promoted in various parts of the world. Another common form of payment for ecosystem services is compensating upstream landowners for managing their land in ways that maintain downstream water quality; this can include habitat management that benefits wild animal species. While biodiversity itself is difficult to value, it can be linked to other markets, such as certification in the case of sustainably-produced forest products. This paper expands on some of the markets for ecosystem services that also benefit wildlife, identifies relevant sources of information, and highlights some of the initiatives linking such markets to poverty alleviation. Making markets work for ecosystem services requires an appropriate policy framework, government support, operational institutional support, and innovation at scales from the site level to the national level. Zoologists have much to contribute to all of these steps. [source]

Options for increasing carbon sequestration in West African soils: an exploratory study with special focus on Senegal

N. H. Batjes
Abstract The organic matter content of many soils in West Africa has been depleted due to overgrazing, agricultural mismanagement, deforestation and overexploitation of the natural resources. Degraded agro(eco)systems can be managed to increase carbon sinks in vegetation and soil, and to reduce carbon emissions to the atmosphere. The capacity for sequestering carbon will increase as annual precipitation increases, and generally as mean temperature decreases, provided the soil and terrain conditions are not limiting for crop (biomass) growth. The agroecological suitability of three pilot sites, proposed for soil carbon sequestration projects in Senegal, is assessed and the feasibility of various management options to increase organic carbon levels in the soil is discussed. For the future, a Land Resources Information System should be developed to consider detailed data on climate, soil and terrain conditions, status of soil degradation, and land-use systems for West Africa. Upon its linkage to a dynamic soil carbon model and a socio-economic module, such an integrated system can be used to assess the ecotechnological and socio-economic potential for carbon sequestration projects in the context of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) proposed under article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. If adopted, this mechanism could confer funds to West African countries for the sustainable use and conservation of their natural resources, thereby providing economic, environmental and societal benefits for local populations, while simultaneously contributing to climate change mitigation. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Critical considerations for future action during the second commitment period: A small islands' perspective

Leonard Nurse
Abstract If the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is to be achieved, Parties must commit themselves to meeting meaningful long-term targets that, based on current knowledge, would minimize the possibility of irreversible climate change. Current indications are that a global mean temperature rise in excess of 2,3 °C would enhance the risk of destabilizing the climate system as we know it, and possibly lead to catastrophic change such as a shutdown of the deep ocean circulation, and the disintegration of the West Arctic Ice Sheet. Observations have shown that for many small island developing States (SIDS), life-sustaining ecosystems such as coral reefs, already living near the limit of thermal tolerance, are highly climate-sensitive, and can suffer severe damage from exposure to sea temperatures as low as 1 °C above the seasonal maximum. Other natural systems (e.g., mangroves) are similarly susceptible to relatively low temperature increases, coupled with small increments of sea level rise. Economic and social sectors, including agriculture and human health, face similar challenges from the likely impacts of projected climate change. In light of known thresholds, this paper presents the view that SIDS should seek support for a temperature cap not exceeding 1.5,2.0 °C above the pre-industrial mean. It is argued that a less stringent post-Kyoto target would frustrate achievement of the UNFCCC objective. The view is expressed that all countries which emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases should commit to binding reduction targets in the second commitment period, but that targets for developing countries should be less stringent than those agreed for developed countries. Such an arrangement would be faithful to the principles of equity and would ensure that the right of Parties to attain developed country status would not be abrogated. [source]

Rethinking the management of transboundary freshwater resources: a critical examination of modern international law and practice

Jeffrey AlbertArticle first published online: 9 OCT 200
Abstract Available freshwater stocks are being depleted and impaired on a widespread basis, with acute shortages an increasingly frequent condition in arid climates. In transboundary basins, water scarcity and pollution compound interstate tension and contribute to human suffering and ecological damage. This article provides theoretical perspectives on shared freshwater disputes and on the evolution of the international law of shared water resources. It argues that the UN Convention on the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (ratified by some countries, but not yet in force) is inadequate as a framework convention in terms of providing general obligations on the future parties or an institutional framework for future action. The paper suggests that three critical concepts be considered in future management of shared water resources: (1) the unitary character of watersheds (where the absence of extra-basin diversions allows); (2) joint or "communitarian" watershed management; and (3) the relevance of international trade to alleviating regional food stress, resulting from local water scarcity. Finally, it proposes the establishment of an international advisory body on shared water disputes, modelled after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose role is codified in the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. [source]

Policy Subsystems and Regimes: Organized Interests and Climate Change Policy

Shannon K. Orr
This research is an examination of the role of organized interests in international climate change policy formation. Systematic survey results are used to demonstrate that organized interests actually engage in the same activities in both the international and domestic arenas. This research demonstrates that the climate change negotiations can be characterized as both a policy subsystem and an international regime. It is further argued that these two concepts are in fact highly analogous, thereby facilitating new cross-discipline research opportunities. The research is based on a web survey of organized interests accredited by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and on interviews and field research at the 8th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in New Delhi, India. [source]

Equity and the Kyoto Protocol

POLITICS, Issue 1 2007
Edward Page
Global climate change raises a number of important issues for political scientists and theorists. One issue concerns the ethics of implementing policies that seek to manage the threats associated with dangerous climate change in order to protect the interests of future generations. The focus of much of the debate about climate change and inter-generational equity is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol to this Convention. This article outlines the mechanisms adopted by the Kyoto Protocol and three rival ,climate architectures', evaluating each in terms of some basic principles of equity. [source]