The Canaries in the Coalmine: Small States as Climate Change Champions
Author: Benwell, Richard
Source: The Round Table, Volume 100, Number 413, April 2011 , pp. 199-211(13)
Abstract:Climate change presents a useful case in the study of small states because their interests can be differentiated from larger states. Small states are expected to respond to international politics, not to lead. The development of the climate regime has seen small states engage in a 'grand strategy' to achieve climate change mitigation. The apparent powerlessness of small states and the nature of the public good problem are central to understanding small states' negotiating power in the climate regime. They have capitalised on their victim status and the common interests of all states to act as regime leaders; but they have not achieved all of their objectives in terms of access to finance and technology. This suggests that while small states share the difficulties of other developing states in pursuing value-claiming goals, they may have a comparative advantage as norm-entrepreneurs.
Keywords: small states; climate change; Commonwealth; islands; Alliance of Small Island Developing States; Kyoto Protocol; nationally appropriate mitigation actions; low-lying states; Bali Action Plan; Marrakesh Accords; Framework Convention on Climate Change
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2011-04-01