As we get closer to the upcoming Copenhagen summit, nation-states and international bodies have begun debating policy options likely to be addressed at the conference. Though I am skeptical that long-term reform will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, I am nevertheless happy that the world’s attention will be focused on this issue in December.
The essentials of the debate include: the rate at which industrialized nations are willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases; what China and India are expected to do to limit the growth of their emissions; how much help will be needed for developing countries to engage in reducing emissions; and how funds used to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gases will be managed.
So far a couple of policy options, beyond the debate about whether the U.S. will pass a climate change bill before the summit, are dominating discussions among policymakers prior to the conference. One of these options includes a discussion about what alternatives are available for coping with how a carbon treaty will affect the relationship between rich-poor nation-states on carbon emissions. Overall, most policy elites feel that funding to poorer nations is key to finding consensus at the summit. This debate is currently going on within E.U. , however, a coherent position has not come out of the 27 nation group on this issue. Further, there is also a discussion about the role of international institutions to cope with climate change. This argument entails a stronger role for the UN; many policymakers are calling for the institution to create an agency to deal with climate change.
In any event, we will have to wait see how the details over these debates unfold prior to the summit.