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Businesses, Green Groups and The Media: The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Climate Change Debate

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The lion's share of media and governmental commentary on the recent Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has focused on rifts between the EU and the ‘Umbrella Group’ of countries, including the United States, Canada and Japan, and has led many observers to speculate that intergovernmental negotiations on climate change may have irretrievably broken down. Limiting the focus solely to political difficulties with specific issues, however, emphasizes only part of the story and takes no account of the complex context in which the international negotiations are embedded. This approach does not give sufficient credit to the growing momentum gathering outside the negotiating halls. This article examines recent and rapid changes in attitude and awareness among non-governmental groups-including business and industry, environmental groups and the media-on the issue of global climate change, and the impact these changes have had on the negotiating process and the overall climate change debate. Together these groups provide encouraging signs of a shift in public opinion and ample proof that the failure of the talks in The Hague does not signal the end of the road.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: International Institute for Sustainable Development, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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