ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Martin Khor

Understanding the Lima

What happened at the Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima in December 2014 is a prelude to the bigger battles that can be expected in the three or four meetings scheduled for this year in order to negotiate an entirely new climate agreement in Paris in December. If it took two whole weeks to reach consensus on a simple text in Lima, how much more contentious and difficult the negotiations will be for a new agreement?

Doha 2012: A Climate Conference of Low Ambitions

After tethering on the edge of a collapse, the United Nations Doha conference on climate change ended with an agreement, but it was an agreement of low ambitions. Avoidance of collapse is a poor measure of success and Doha revealed deep divisions on how to combat climate change, division which will surface when negotiations resume this year. In terms of progress towards real actions to tackle the climate change crisis, the Doha conference was another lost opportunity.

An Assessment of the Rio Summit on Sustainable Development

Rio+20 may not have achieved as much as was hoped for in addressing the environmental challenges of the world. But the summit was not a failure that many have portrayed it to be. An analysis of the main outcomes, especially of the new "sustainable development goals", brings out the complex nature of the outcome and the challenges in the follow-up.

Complex Implications of the Cancun Climate Conference

When the dust settles after the Cancun climate change conference of the United Nations, a careful analysis will find that the adoption of the "Cancun Agreements" may have given the multilateral climate system a shot in the arm, but that the meeting also failed to save the planet from climate change and helped pass the burden of climate mitigation onto developing countries. Instead of being strengthened, the international climate regime was weakened by the now serious threat to close the legally binding and top-down Kyoto Protocol system and to replace it with a voluntary pledge system.

The Real Tragedy of Copenhagen

The Copenhagen Accord drawn up after the UN climate conference in December is only three pages long. What is left out is probably more important than what it contains. The so-called deal, which the governments only "took note of" and was not adopted, does not mention any figures for emission reduction that the developed countries are to undertake after 2012. However, the larger failure was that while Copenhagen should have been designed as a stepping stone, and not as a final conclusion, western political leaders tried to hijack the legitimate multilateral process of negotiations that had been taking place before Copenhagen and at Copenhagen itself. What the world ended up with was a disaster of a meeting and a document.

Copenhagen Battle for Climate Action with Equity

It now seems certain that the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December will not see the adoption of a detailed and legally binding agreement. But a political declaration with a framework for a future global deal that is more likely to emerge from the summit would be no less important, for such a declaration will draw the contours of an agreement on climate change and cover many issues of importance for the developing countries - the future of the Kyoto Protocol, common and differentiated responsibilities of rich and poor countries and an agenda for the "advanced developing countries". This article outlines the challenges before the developing countries at Copenhagen.

Imbalances Remain in the WTO Texts of 6 December 2008

In early December, the World Trade Organisation's Director General Pascal Lamy, in yet another attempt to push the Doha round ahead, came up with new proposals on agriculture and industrial products. These were not new ideas; they merely recycled earlier proposals made by the United States and the European Union. The imbalances in the texts explain why Lamy's bid to have another ministerial meeting in mid-December failed.

Behind the July Failure of the WTO Talks on Doha

A gross imbalance in the World Trade Organisation proposals in agriculture and industry explains why the latest attempt in July to achieve a breakthrough in the Doha round collapsed. The US demand that developing countries institute a stringent special safeguard mechanism in agriculture that would make it difficult for developing countries to protect themselves against import surges was not the only obstacle. There was the US farm subsidy issue, the cotton issue, the industry tariff proposal issue and more, on none of which a majority of the developing countries were ready to accept the US/EU position. What next for the Doha round, which was launched way back in 2001?

WTO: Why Potsdam Failed

The Potsdam meeting of the G-4 has failed, throwing the Doha round of the World Trade Organisation into a crisis. The EU and the US got together, arrived at a mutual rapprochement in agriculture, and united to press Brazil and India very hard on non-agricultural market access. The developing countries are going to benefit very little or nothing from the "lowered ambition" of the EU and the US in agriculture. In the final analysis, it seems that the US and EU on the one hand and Brazil and India on the other have very different and contrasting notions of what promotes development.