Climate Change: Process and Politics

Dr. Uttam Kumar Sinha is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • November 2010

    With the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2012, time seems to be running out for a new successor agreement. The Protocol remains the most comprehensive attempt to negotiate binding limits on anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The long-term challenge, defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is to stabilise GHG concentration in the atmosphere at levels that would prevent interference with the climate system. There are, however, economic and social realities that drive anthropogenic GHG emissions. States face serious challenges of balancing economic growth on the one hand, and sustainability of natural resources and energy choices on the other. This dilemma has for long defined and continues to underline the climate change debate. This article chronicles the process of climate change negotiations and examines the political deadlocks through scientific uncertainties, lack of trust-building, inadequate leadership and political regrouping.