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What are the key obstacles to an effective international agreement to limit climate change? (Term Paper Sample)


Students should consult relevant scholarly journals as well as books. Journal articles typically contain contemporary research in a more accessible format than many books. Your research proposal must identify at least five scholarly sources (including journal articles accessed online) that you will use in your paper. The most important scholarly sources are articles in peer-reviewed journals and books written by scholars (including edited collections). A good way to find a relevant topic and sources are to review recent issues of scholarly journals that cover international and global political economy. Here are some important journals:
Review of International Political Economy
Global Governance
International Organization
World Politics
New Left Review
International Studies Quarterly
New Political Economy
Review of International Studies
European Journal of International Relations
Economy and Society
Feminist Review
Third World Quarterly
International feminist journal of politics
These and many other scholarly journals are available online in full text through either the Library Catalogue or the Academic Search Complete database. Internet searches will turn up an infinite variety of sources, but your paper should be based primarily on scholarly sources (including scholarly journals accessed through the Internet). Sources other than journal articles found on the Internet should be referenced in a fashion comparable to that for printed sources (see below), and should include the web site address and the date on which you accessed the site. Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for a university-level research essay.


Key Obstacles to an Effective International Agreement on Climate Change
The issue of environmental degradation has been a global debate for decades. Presently, human activities are responsible for the increasing level of environmental degradation. Ineffective international policies have widened the existing problems of mitigating climate change and restricting greenhouse-gas emissions. However, one of the most successful models of the agreement is the Montreal Protocol meant to reduce ozone-depleting emissions. The Paris Agreement of 2015 is the most recent international treaty addressing climate change. Just like its previous agreements, the Paris agreement was characterized by deep political rife and seemingly irresolvable differences between parties. Two years later, the United States under the presidency of Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement (Zhang, et al. 20), raising questions about the development of an effective international climate change agreement. The paper analyses some of the potential obstacles to a comprehensive climate agreement and possible solutions in the long-term.
The United Nations Conference on Environmental and Development (UNCED) of 1992 led to the development of various climate-related agreements including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (Helm, 212). UNFCCC was developed to create global awareness and effort in an attempt to solve the issue of climate change. The Kyoto Protocol (2005) issued interstate targets that bound developed countries to reduce the level of greenhouse gases they emitted into the atmosphere (Goulder and William, 10). The Kyoto Protocol was thus the initial and crucial milestone addressing the problem of climate change. It required the industrialized countries to cut down their greenhouse gas emissions over a limited period gradually. However, the Kyoto Protocol approach had significant weaknesses and escalated the effects of climate change (Helm, 213). For example, the commitment duration given was shorter and unreasonable. The framework failed to set targets for developing countries which presented an increasing percentage of global emissions. Partial involvement of member states raised issues of competitiveness (Goulder and William, 3). Again, there was no clarity or policies that required party members to change their industrial behaviors with countries such as Canada choosing to withdraw from the Protocol to pursue its industrial targets without penalty. In the recent past, there have been mixed results from the UNFCCC framework. Various agreements have been set since then, but none achieved its objectives. The parties decided to keep global warming within or below two Celsius degrees but failed to come up with new binding national commitments. The Kyoto Protocol was thus replaced by the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action in 2011, which included all countries (developing and developed) in achieving emission reduction targets by 2020.
The international agreements have attained limited success in reducing global emissions besides the increased scientific explanation and possible negative consequences of climate change. Climate negotiations require broad participation because each country has a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emission. When some countries control greenhouse gas emissions, their carbon levels will continue to increase as long as the other countries continue their production and consumption of carbon-rich products (Goulder and William, 6). There was limited agreement about reducing emissions of the Kyoto Protocol, and the United States failed to sign on in part due to concerns over carbon leakage. One of the key aspects of negotiation outcomes is the diverse interests of major parties. The top three global p...

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