Law, Power, and the COPs

  • Brandon Barclay DermanEmail author


Major reconfigurations of the United Nations climate convention occurred between 2009 and 2015, as countries struggled to define key terms that would bear consequentially on the distribution of responsibility among themselves, as well as their duties to each other. That legalistically framed debate, however, was always situated within and came ultimately to express stark differences in geopolitical power between formally equal negotiating parties. The evolution of the climate convention helps to illustrate how those differences are, in effect, mutually constitutive with the institutionalized socio-spatial and governmental separations of the international system, and climate changing fossil fueled development itself. At the same time, debates that unfolded in the course of that evolution illustrate the necessity of language in political struggle and some of the reasons why law so often supplies such a language.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental StudiesUniversity of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfieldUSA

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