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Structural Change and Climate Politics

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Part of the Energy, Climate and the Environment book series (ECE)

Abstract

During the life of the climate regime structural change in the international political system has reflected underlying shifts in the pattern and distribution of economic growth and associated emissions of GHGs. The period 1989–91 has pivotal significance. The ending of the Cold War re-ordered the international political structure and accelerated the processes of economic globalisation, as previously closed economies became enmeshed in a worldwide, market-based system of finance and production. This, in turn, had profound implications for the power structure. In 1992 the United States was the sole remaining superpower, in what was then described as its ‘unipolar’ moment. In economic scale it was matched only by the EU. In the trade regime and elsewhere it was still possible to portray economic diplomacy in terms of a directorate of two, or perhaps four, advanced industrialised powers. Within a decade, however, China had been admitted to the WTO and, profiting from the decision of many developed world firms to re-locate their production processes to take advantage of its low wage rates, achieved spectacular rates of economic growth, averaging over 9 per cent per annum. Other ‘emergent economies’ also exhibited high growth rates, leading to perceptions of a new multipolar structure, or even a potential con-dominion of the United States and China (the G2). The events of the 2009 Copenhagen COP were an emblematic demonstration of reordered power relationships.

Keywords

  • Climate Policy
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • Climate Regime
  • Climate Politics
  • World Politics

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9781137273413_7
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© 2016 John Vogler

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Vogler, J. (2016). Structural Change and Climate Politics. In: Climate Change in World Politics. Energy, Climate and the Environment. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137273413_7

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