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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


Conditionality and additionality
Technology transfer
Multi-pronged approach
Implementation procedures
Regional building blocks
North-'South' conflicts
Notes and references

Peter Hayes

The construction of a resilient, global greenhouse gas regime requires that state elites share a consensus as to common values and norms of behaviour; submit their respective states to observe the rules and procedures of the regime; and participate in the institutional arrangements established under the regime.

The signing of the Climate Change Convention is prima facie evidence that most national leaders agree that the global climate system must be conserved and restored, and that it must be used rationally in ways that are compatible with ecological imperatives. The rest of the interlocking elements of the regime have been left largely unspecified. Some analysts believe that states so hedged their commitments under the Convention that it merely maintains 'polluter sovereignty' and is so vague as to be almost meaningless.

I am less pessimistic, however. I am convinced that a fully fledged regime can be constructed that will achieve the goals of the Climate Change Convention. Achieving this goal will first and foremost mean activating the norms implicit in the Convention as to mutual reciprocity between, and differential responsibilities of, the rich and poor nations. Specifically, the articles on financial assistance and technology transfer (see Chapter 1) must be elaborated in protocols and implemented.

Donors may place conditions on financial transfers to the South to abate greenhouse gases. In this chapter, I outline the contrary positions held by potential parties to a Climate Change Convention on conditionality and additionality of resources for greenhouse projects in developing countries. The biggest likely demand on resources provided by the North to the South will be to fund technology transfer.

The desirability and even the meaning of technology transfer are contentious, however. I outline two important positions that have emerged in debates on this topic before turning to three aspects of multi-pronged technology transfer strategy for greenhouse gas reduction. These are: cost reduction; technical assistance and training; and information dissemination and transnational research collaboration.

For these commitments to be implemented, parties will require confidence that other beneficiaries under the Convention are not cheating. Procedures must be established to monitor and to verify compliance with convention commitments along with mechanisms to resolve disputes and to enforce compliance.

Transferral of financial resources and technologies on a scale envisaged in this study would transform North-South political-economic relations. I conclude by asking whether 'geoecological' issues such as climate change may strengthen the South's bargaining position in its geopolitical and geoeconomic relationships with the North. My answer to this question is only a qualified 'possibly'. Nonetheless a global greenhouse regime may succeed for three reasons:

1 the likelihood of continued technological innovation and associated reduction in the cost of emissions abatement;
2 the contribution of science on comprehension of the greenhouse effect;
3 the influence of social movements on governmental policy.