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Policy Paper

Durban: a Small Window of Opportunity for a Global Climate Government


Author: Giorgio Grimaldi
Date: January 2012

In Durban, the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established a roadmap for global climate policy. The difficult compromise agreed upon provides for the establishment of a binding legal instrument by the year 2015, which will become effective in 2020, aimed at keeping average global warming to no more than 2 °C and renewing the Kyoto Protocol for a second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 (possibly continuing until 2020).
The results, however, have been largely unsatisfactory. Urgently needed actions have been postponed resulting in greater risks of environmental damage and the deterioration of living conditions in many areas of the planet.
In view of the United Nations Conference Rio +20 in June 2012 broader and more appropriate reforms are needed to address climate change, which is at the same time a political, economic, cultural and moral challenge.
A global climate government would require the creation of environmental institutions endowed with supranational powers and resources of their own. It would be essential to develop a non-violent approach to managing conflicts and building shared solutions by integrating democratic decision-making procedures and eliminating the right of veto in negotiations. Other essential elements are the establishment of a global environment plan and joint initiatives for a political, economic, energy, and social transformation to protect global public goods, combining eco-sustainability, justice and respect for human rights in addition to achieving the Millennium Goals. Moreover, the role of global civil society must be strengthened and the European Union should take strong action to achieve its energy and climate goals, establish a European carbon tax and a global environment community along with the countries that are prepared to transition to a low carbon economy as well as promote multi-level environmental regionalism throughout the world.

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