Capabilities or Strategy: Exploring the Determinants of National Success at the International Climate Negotiations
41 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2012
Negotiating climate change is a bargaining game between the parties involved. Understanding convergence and asymmetries of the states' unveiled positions is therefore crucial to make sense of the outcomes of such international negotiations. I contribute to the exploration of decision-making within a specific international organization, the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), by empirically exploring the bargaining space of two important historical moments of the climate negotiations process. Based on two novel datasets, I first identify the positions of a large sample of countries at the two negotiation periods (i.e. the pre-Kyoto Protocol enforcement period and the post-Kyoto negotiation period). I categorize the negotiation agenda into different issue areas, to which I assign each country's positions and saliences. I then distinguish the variables that may determine bargaining alignments or, otherwise, negotiation success. I particularly focus on endogenous versus exogenous factors, in order to shed light on whether countries are most likely to prevail based on their original endowments (i.e. technology, energy security, climate adaptability) or if they instead actively "shape" success with their skills (e.g. diplomatic ability) or strategic partnerships (e.g. group alliances). The results from my analyses point to the significance of both exogenous and endogenous types of factors in explaining outcomes at the UNFCCC.
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