What is Fair? Who is Responsible? Global Climate Negotiations and Climate Activism North/South/East/West

– Laura Henry

The collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War were a period of remarkable popular mobilization.  The rapprochement of East and West in the early 1990s also provided an opportunity for the first global climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, to emerge.  However, the global political power balance also led to the idea “common but differentiated responsibilities” which determine states’ obligation to reduce carbon emissions.  This vision of “fairness” in climate politics is controversial and, to some degree, it pits the global North and South against each other in negotiations.  What other forms of “justice” are advocated in climate negotiations?  What do these debates mean for the Paris talks in November 2015?  What type of global climate agreement might gain the agreement of all parties — North and South?  Why don’t we see more popular mobilization around climate issues globally?