A new process for negotiating multilateral environmental agreements? The Asia-Pacific climate partnership beyond Kyoto
Kellow, AJ, A new process for negotiating multilateral environmental agreements? The Asia-Pacific climate partnership beyond Kyoto, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 60, (2) pp. 287-303. ISSN 1035-7718 (2006) [Refereed Article]
The Kyoto Protocol is widely regarded as representing a failed approach to the problem of climate change, especially since the US and Australia have declined to ratify, and developing countries such as India and China—sources of much future emissions growth—have signalled an unwillingness to take on obligations for binding reductions within the framework of an extended Kyoto-like instrument. A new Asia-Pacific Partnership to deal with the problems has emerged and held its first meeting in Sydney in January 2006. Involving Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and the US, this new partnership provides not only an approach better suited to the interests and resource endowments of the region, but a new model for negotiating multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). In the past, MEAs have been beset by a dilemma, in that the slow pace of their negotiation was overcome by devices (such as lowest common denominator measures, creative ambiguity, iterative functionalism, and double standards provisions) that limited their effectiveness. This article argues that by involving only six parties which account for half of existing emissions, the new Partnership provides the opportunity for better policy to be developed among a smaller number of parties, with the potential to overcome the pitfalls of past MEAs.