International Organizations and Environmental Policy

By Robert V. Bartlett; Priya A. Kurian et al. | Go to book overview
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12
Iterative Functionalism and Climate Management Organizations: From Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee

David Lewis Feldman

Since the 1970s, nation-states, intergovernmental organizations ( IGOS) and nongovernmental organizations ( NGOS) have formulated agreements to explore the causes and consequences of global warming, to monitor climate data, and to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. These agreements are designed to be revisited as climate change becomes better understood.

A trial and error process--iterative functionalism--has evolved to identify and resolve stakeholder issues in climate change. This has been accomplished through the development of international organizations able to impose binding rules on nation-states. Decisionmakers view international negotiations on complex, high-risk problems (e.g., global warming, ozone depletion) as learning processes that are successful only if "insurance institutions" can be established to manage them. Iterative functionalism requires unrestricted exchange of scientific information, a focused forum for discussion of reliable feedback mechanisms to correct previous organizational mistakes, and participation by NGOs and IGOs in negotiations ( Linstone, 1984; Steinbruner, 1974; E. Haas, 1990; Benedick, 1991b). Four criteria are necessary for its achievement: comparability of voice, equitable financial commitment, prudent activity selection, and signatory trust and confidence. In the context of the evolution of climate change management institutions, the major lesson of the 1972-1992 period is that achieving national compliance with negotiated milestones requires the establishment of durable international organization with the resources and infrastructure to protect the atmosphere while sustaining economic growth. Until now, climate change negotiators have barely begun to deal with greenhouse gas stabilization and technology transfer issues. Tackling these functions will be long and protracted. If the institutions established by the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) provide an equitable framework for resolving controversies, an adequate budget, and the means to

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