Market mechanisms and cultural values in negotiating multilateral environmental agreements: The case of the Kyoto Protocol
Climate change is one of the most complex problems facing the international community due to the multidimensional nature of the issue. Environmental impact, the politics of international relations, and the economics of energy production and use, are all critical factors in this multifaceted issue.
Two analytic perspectives have been used to explain the dynamics of climate change negotiations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”). While structuralists have examined the role of relationships in the negotiations, “rationalists” have focused on countries' economic interests. This dissertation argues that culture, specifically cultural orientation towards open markets, is an important analytic perspective and relevant factor in understanding the dynamics of international environmental treaties generally and the climate change debate specifically. This dissertation explores the role of culture in the actions and positions of countries engaged in the climate change debate by focusing on the cultural value of “open market orientation.”
At the time of this dissertation, the UNFCCC only market mechanism was “Joint Actions,” within the “Activities Implemented Jointly” (AIJ) pilot program. Joint Actions allow an “investor” to reduce the green house gas emissions (“GHG”) of a “host” and, at least ultimately, receive credit for such reductions. This dissertation demonstrates that open market orientation effects how countries have structured AIJ programs and projects.
In order to compare the impact of “rational” economic interests and cultural values on climate change policies, this dissertation evaluates the relative contributions of open market orientation and of economic interest in forming national positions on international emissions trading. Emissions trading, the quintessential market mechanism that has been proposed to reduce GHG, allows parties to trade their right to emit GHG. This dissertation demonstrates that cultural values play an important role in determining national positions this important GHG reducing policy mechanism.
This dissertation concludes by suggesting that cultural, rational, and structural analytic perspectives must all be used to understand the dynamics of climate change negotiations fully as they all focus on different aspects of the process. Without such a three-dimensional perspective, the hope of reaching meaningful agreement on climate change will be dramatically diminished.
0616: International relations
0326: Cultural anthropology
0768: Environmental science