Climate change negotiations and the North-South relationship : an exploration of continuity and change

Azarch, Anna (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2011-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The politics of climate change has thus far been marked by controversy and a lack of consensus in regards to the best manner in which to comprehend and mitigate this problem. This is further aggravated by the characterisation of climate change as a global problem requiring a global solution which has served to only further complicate inter-state relations. While a number of analysts have remarked that the North-South relationship is no longer a meaningful analytical tool in international relations, it will be the purpose of this study to explore this contention within the field of climate change negotiations and to identify both the transformation and continuity within the relationship between the North and South. The unsuccessful nature of climate negotiations are largely held to be the result of the rift between the North and South, where the issues relating to the global political economy are largely responsible for the lack of consensus being reached between developing and developed countries. All climate negotiations since the 1972 UN Conference on the Environment and Development have showcased the tension between the two regions in regards to climate change mitigation and their inability to overcome this fissure. More importantly, the ensuing Copenhagen Summit of 2009 further highlighted a rift amongst the developing countries of the South, and between the developed and developing countries. As a consequence, the main aim of the research will be to understand the character of the global interactions between the North and South in terms of the context of global environmental politics. It is also the purpose of this research to gain a more comprehensive account of the sequence of causation within this relationship which stalled the negotiating process and lastly, to understand the conceptual demarcations of the two terms in the post-Cold War era so as to better understand the nature of the relationship between the two regions. What may be surmised by the study is that there is still a continuity to be found in the international arena pertaining to the North-South relationship. However, the Copenhagen Summit has been instrumental in showcasing the growing stratification that is found within the South and as a result has highlighted the cross-alliances that have formed between the North and South in order to maintain economic growth. Overall, while the North-South relationship does impact the nature of climate mitigation negotiations, the stratification of states based upon economic and developmental divergences will result in states forming alliances based upon economic self-interest.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die politiek van klimaatsverandering is tot dusver gekenmerk aan kontroversie en ‟n gebrek aan konsensus met betrekking tot die mees effektiewe wyse waarop hierdie probleem verstaan en gemitigeer kan word. Die probleem word verder vererger deur die kenmerk van klimaatsverandering as ‟n globale probleem wat ‟n globale oplossing verg, wat tot die verdere komplikasie van interstaat-verhoudings gelei het. Verskeie analiste het opgemerk dat die verhouding tussen die Noorde en Suide nie meer dien as betekenisvolle analitiese gereedskap op die gebied van internasionale verhoudings nie. Die doel van hierdie ondersoek is gevolglik om hierdie aanname in oënskou te neem, en om beide transformasie en kontinuïteit binne die verhouding tussen die Noorde en Suide te identifiseer. Die onsuksesvolle aard van klimaatsonderhandelinge word grootliks toegeskryf aan die onenigheid tussen die Noorde en Suide, met kwessies rondom die globale politieke ekonomie grootliks verantwoordelik vir die gebrek aan konsensus tussen die streke. Sedert die 1972 VN Konferensie oor die Omgewing en Ontwikkeling het alle klimaatsonderhandelinge die spanning tussen die twee streke met betrekking to klimaatveranderingsversagtings en hul onvermoë om hierdie skeur te oorbrug, ten toon gestel. Die 2009 Kopenhagen-beraad het ‟n onenigheid ontbloot tussen die ontwikkelende lande in die Suide en tussen ontwikkelende en ontwikkelde lande. Gevolglik is die hoofdoelstelling van hierdie studie om die aard van globale interaksies tussen die Noorde en Suide te verstaan met betrekking tot die konteks van globale omgewingspolitiek. Die doel van die navorsing is ook om ‟n meer omvattende verklaring te verkry oor die volgorde van oorsaaklike verbande binne hierdie verhouding wat die onderhandelingsproses tot stilstand gebring het en laastens, om die konseptuele afbakening van hierdie twee terme in die post-Koue Oorlog era en die aard van die verhouding tussen die twee streke beter te verstaan. Hierdie studie wys dat daar steeds kontinuïteit in die internasionale arena is met betrekking tot die verhouding tussen die Noorde en Suide. Die 2009 Kopenhagen-beraad was egter instrumenteel om die groeiende stratifikasie wat binne die Suide gevind word uit te lig, en die kruisalliansies wat tussen die Noorde en Suide gevorm is om ekonomiese groei in stand te hou, te beklemtoon. Alhoewel die verhouding tussen die Noorde en Suide tog ‟n impak op die aard van klimaatsversagtingsonderhandelings uitoefen, sal die stratifikasie van state wat op ekonomiese- en ontwikkelingsafwykings gebaseer is tot gevolg hê dat state alliansies vorm op grond van ekonomiese selfbelange.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5202
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