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close this bookThe Global Greenhouse Regime. Who Pays? (UNU, 1993, 382 p.)
close this folderPart IV Conclusion
close this folder14 Constructing a global greenhouse regime
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentConditionality and additionality
View the documentTechnology transfer
View the documentMulti-pronged approach
View the documentImplementation procedures
View the documentRegional building blocks
View the documentNorth-'South' conflicts
View the documentConclusion
View the documentNotes and references


Market-driven technological innovation, increased popular participation in decision-making, non-governmental mobilization for sustainable development, and the role of the scientific community in policy formation may impel governments to overcome all the barriers to agreement. The first steps toward creating a global greenhouse regime are likely to be small rather than large, bilateral rather than multilateral, and regional rather than global. The transfer of resources is likely to be pragmatic, linked closely to abatement activity, and largely additional to existing aid flows.

Initially, therefore, a greenhouse regime must be flexible enough to demonstrate what is possible rather than to strive for final policy commitments that are simply ignored. The low (or possibly negative) net cost of abatement for the next one or two decades will grant the world a breathing space in which to explore the frontiers of social and technological possibility.

As Ralph Buultjens has written, no other issue has the ability to bring together so many people and nations as does climate change. The negotiations to create a global greenhouse regime are a rare opportunity to form a global coalition of interests that transcends national boundaries and historical antagonisms. It is perhaps the first time in history that the poor in the developing countries have a powerful ally among influential citizen groups and even some governments in the developed world. Thus, Greenpeace International's greenhouse gas scenario uses a development scenario that favours the poor countries rather than simply projecting the unequal global status quo into the future, as did the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It is conceivable, therefore, that humanity will not march over the precipice of climate change, but will stop, look down, and will head instead toward a sustainable future.