The Role of the Asia-Pacific Partnership in Discursive Contestation of the International Climate Regime
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McGee, JS and Taplin, R, The Role of the Asia-Pacific Partnership in Discursive Contestation of the International Climate Regime, International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 9, (3) pp. 213-238. ISSN 1567-9764 (2009) [Refereed Article]
After withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, the US Bush Administration and the Australian Howard Government pursued an international climate change policy focussed on voluntary international agreements outside the UN climate negotiations. This strategy included the formation of several climate agreements directed at technology development, including the 2005 Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP). The APP provides a model for international climate change policy directed at voluntary national greenhouse gas intensity targets, technology development through sectoral public-private partnerships and technology diffusion through trade. This article situates the APP within these US and Australian inspired climate agreements formed outside the UN negotiations. Bäckstrand and Lövbrand's (in M. Pettenger (ed.) The social construction of climate change: power knowledge norms discourses, 2007) discourse analysis in relation to the international climate negotiations is used to explore differences between the APP and UN climate treaties. We find the APP embodies a discourse of what we call 'deregulatory ecological modernisation' that promotes limited public funding to ease informational failures in markets for cleaner technologies and management practices. The deregulatory ecological modernisation discourse is a deeply intensive market liberal approach to international climate change policy, which contests binding emission reduction targets and the development of a global carbon market. The USA, Australia, Japan and Canada represented a core group of countries that used the APP to promote the deregulatory ecological modernisation discourse and thereby contest any deepening of developed nations' emission reduction targets for the post-2012 period. However, with changes of leadership and new parties in power in the USA and Australia, it appears that the deregulatory ecological modernisation discourse has lost ground compared to a reengagement with discourses supportive of developed country emission reduction targets and equity-based adaptation and technology transfer assistance for developing nations. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.
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