Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Corporations Vs. Developing Countries in Climate Negotiations

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The New York Times posted an interesting article by Hiroko Tabuchi today about the state of the Paris climate negotiations.  If you recall from a post I wrote on the Paris agreement here, I have some concerns about its ability to truly be an effective tool for addressing climate change. My main issues were the voluntary nature of the agreement, the funding challenges, and the failure to plan for the impacts of climate change should the agreement fail to reach targets.

Tabuchi's article notes an emerging issue that I didn't fully address in my piece from December of 2015:  the influence of corporations on the agreement. While corporations are largely supporting the United Nations agreement, some are trying to water it down through some intense lobbying. Vulnerable developing nations are crying foul over this behavior and are seeking to limit corporate influence.

There is no doubt that corporations are stakeholders on issues of climate change. Many of them have made incredible advances in the last few decades on a range of sustainability issues. However, there are some bad actors who are seeking to limit the success of the international effort.

While the Paris agreement has many problems, it is the only worldwide agreement on climate change we have. As the Times article points out, some of the corporations have much greater wealth than many of the vulnerable developing nations at the negotiating table. Can the agreement truly be successful if polluting industries have a greater voice than vulnerable nations?

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