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Introduction and Overview

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The international negotiations on climate change in November 2000 in The Hague collapsed amid broad media coverage. Getting the talks rapidly back on track failed and they will now resume in Bonn in July 2001. In the meantime, however, the political landscape has changed: there is a new US administration, and new scientific conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been released. The introduction and overview to this issue of International Affairs introduces five articles, all of which agree that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change can be saved. The rescue can be made either through fundamental changes to the Protocol itself or by learning the lessons of the failed round of negotiations in The Hague. On the basis of an assessment of the five articles, the author proposes his own solution-to un-bundle the issues that had accumulated in the three years since Kyoto. The author believes that some of the key developing-country Articles, dealing with issues such as adaptation, capacity-building, and financial and technology transfer, can be dealt with outside the pressure of the targets and timetables. Decisions on Kyoto's emission targets, mechanisms and some aspects of ‘sinks’ would be made easier without the ‘inter- connectedness’ with the ‘developing-country issues’. It might even be possible, he suggests, to negotiate some deals on targets within smaller groups of countries such as the EU, or those countries that have targets, the Annex B countries.
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Document Type: Introduction

Affiliations: Royal Institute of International Affairs, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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