Connect the Dots: Managing the Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance

Earth System Governance Working Paper, No.25. Lund and Amsterdam: Earth System Governance Project.

26 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2012

See all articles by Harro van Asselt

Harro van Asselt

Stockholm Environment Institute; University of Eastern Finland

Fariborz Zelli

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The debate about post-2012 global climate governance has been framed largely by proponents and opponents of the policymaking process established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In light of the proliferation of institutions governing some aspects of climate change, analysts have asked whether a centralized or a polycentric climate governance architecture will be more effective, efficient, equitable, or viable. While these are valid questions, they obscure the fact that global climate governance is already polycentric, or rather: fragmented. This paper argues that the more pertinent questions are how to sensibly link the different elements of global climate governance, and what the role of the UNFCCC could be in this regard. We examine these two questions for three aspects of global climate governance: international climate technology initiatives; emerging emissions trading systems; and unilateral trade measures. The paper shows that there are strong arguments for coordination in all of these cases, and illustrates the possible role of the UNFCCC. It concludes, however, that possibilities for coordination will eventually be limited by underlying tensions that will plague any future climate governance architecture.

Keywords: climate change, UNFCCC, fragmentation, regime complex, trade, emissions trading

JEL Classification: Q28, K33

Suggested Citation

van Asselt, Harro and Zelli, Fariborz, Connect the Dots: Managing the Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance (2012). Earth System Governance Working Paper, No.25. Lund and Amsterdam: Earth System Governance Project.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2139375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2139375

Harro Van Asselt (Contact Author)

Stockholm Environment Institute ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

University of Eastern Finland ( email )

PO Box 111
Joensuu, 80100
Finland

Fariborz Zelli

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research ( email )

Norwich, Norfolk
United Kingdom

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