The Interplay of Sustainable Development and Climate Governance in the Major Emerging Economies
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
[As part of the Global Climate Change Mosaic short-term study abroad program at Dickinson College, I did extended research on domestic climate policy in the five major emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, S. Korea) paired with two weeks of field research at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru in December 2014. The report is also available here on Google Drive with footnotes and citations.]
In the landscape of the global economy, there is a corps of countries that is rapidly emerging into the ranks of the developed world, characterized by burgeoning growth in their economies as well as their greenhouse gas emissions. Included in this group (hereinafter referred to as the major emerging economies) are five countries that span three continents, comprise nearly forty-two percent of the global population and over ninety-three percent of emissions relative to the developed country members of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and represent various levels along the economic development path. These countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea) will play a large role in how the global economy changes and how it responds to the major issues of the 21st century, the largest of which is global climate change.
Due to this group’s large quantity of emissions in recent decades and central role in the future growth in the global economy, they play a prominent role (both individually and as a group) in the governance and international response to the climate crisis moving forward. With their roles comes the opportunity for these countries to implement sustainable development policies and initiatives in order to turn their domestic economies, as well as the global economy as a whole, towards a low-carbon development model. It is for this reason that an analysis of each country’s history; economic, social, and political characteristics; unique emissions profile; development path; and involvement in international climate negotiations through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is important to reveal a deeper and more informed understanding of the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the global response to the threats posed by climate change. Among all of the major emerging economies included in this study, the framing of and response to climate change both domestically and internationally in each country have shifted and diversified over the past two decades. While some commonalities exist, each country’s climate action has changed in its own individual manner due to the unique circumstances and social, political, and economic realities in each country.
In order to accurately portray the climate governance history and negotiating approach of these five countries, this study is structured using mainly qualitative data from a multitude of different sources. Research was split into two different sections and spread out over a four-month period, beginning with library research on Dickinson College’s campus in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This initial stage primarily drew from academic journal articles and non-governmental organization reports found via Dickinson’s library databases, along with country submissions on the UNFCCC website. These sources were used to gather information on each country’s climate governance historically and presently, their interpretations and implementation of sustainable development domestically, and their unique approach to the UNFCCC negotiations.
The second stage of the research process was performed during ten days of field research in Lima, Peru at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) of the UNFCCC and the Voces por el Clima event, a showcase organized by the Peruvian government for visitors to the COP. The information acquired in this period primarily came from personal interviews with delegates and other attendees of the COP, attending side events and picking up literature from country pavilions at the Conference. These sources produced up-to-date information on each country’s climate action and plans for expanding it in the future, as well as a clearer understanding of what was happening at the Conference with each country and with the negotiations as a whole. The human subjects that were interviewed were all over the age of 21 and all filled out a consent form agreeing to the interview. The Dickinson College Institutional Review Board approved this study and the interview protocol used, which may be found in Appendix I. After the interviews were completed, they were transcribed and coded for information relevant to this study’s thesis and research question. Some additional library and online research was performed in Carlisle after the field research to follow-up on questions raised by the Conference and to further develop the study.
III. The Definition, History, and Importance of Sustainable Development to Climate Governance in the UNFCCC
Sustainable development has been at the heart of climate governance at all levels since the emergence of the climate issue and the inception of the UNFCCC in 1992. However, it has not had a uniform impact or manifestation upon the individual negotiating positions of each of the five major emerging economies of the world, namely Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea. Before the similarities and differences between these Parties’ interpretations of sustainable development may be presented and analyzed, a definition of the term and its implications must be clarified.
The most widely used definition of sustainable development is drawn from the Brundtland Report, published in 1987 by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED); it defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” With this framing, the needs of the poor are given overriding priority, and it factors in the environment’s role as an asset that can provide and appreciate over time. The Brundtland Report argued that each country, regardless of development position or economic system, must implement the tenets of sustainable development as each sees fit, and acknowledges that “interpretations will vary, but must share certain general features and must flow from a consensus on the basic concept of sustainable development and on a broad strategic framework for achieving it.” It is imperative, under this definition, to harmonize the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change through intentional policymaking and climate governance in order to achieve sustainable development.
With this definition in mind, there is a widespread confusion and laxity in the use of terminology between “sustainable development” and “green growth,” mostly due to a lack of a widely accepted definition among the literature. While the former incorporates social and environmental factors into a more holistic understanding of economic growth, the latter does not take such a broad-based approach. The central claim of green growth is that “the course of industrialization taken by Europe, America, and other rich countries will not work for the rest of the world. Their route was 'grow fast, clean up later.'" Under a green growth framing, the window is open for the environment to be used as an engine for economic growth via over-exploitation and only valued as long as it creates capital or profit without consideration for over-exploitation’s depreciating impact on the environment itself; however, a sustainable development understanding paints the environment as an asset in and of itself and aims to avoid environmental degradation. The social factors incorporated into the sustainable development definition are also absent from the green growth discussion.
With this distinction in mind, a description of the characteristics of sustainable development in a low-carbon economy may be drawn. In order to transition onto a path of sustainable development, social, environmental, and economic factors must be fully incorporated into every aspect of the policymaking process across the board at the international and national climate governance scale. This avenue of action is characterized by “substantially increased investments in economic activities that build on and enhance the earth's natural capital while reducing ecological scarcities and environmental risks - activities such as renewable energy, low-carbon transport, energy- and water-efficient buildings, sustainable agriculture and forest management, and sustainable fisheries."
In order to effectively implement these measures, “changes are…required in the attitudes and procedures of both public and private-sector enterprises.” Currently, these are still rooted in the precedent set before them in the development model of the Annex-I countries from the Industrial Revolution that did not prioritize or factor in the social or environmental repercussions of economic growth. This model produced a “growth fetish” or “growth imperative” that placed overriding weight on the rate of growth in gross domestic product (GDP) to determine whether or not development is being achieved. However, GDP accounting is a narrow field of focus and excludes any indication of social equity or environmental quality that either occurs or is foregone alongside economic productivity growth. A more holistic understanding is taken with a sustainable development path, which values not just growth and development in economic terms, but also along social and environmental indicators; thus, under this framing, a paradigm shift occurs in the public and private calculus around what growth and development looks like and what factors drive it.
Now that a clear foundational understanding of what sustainable development encompasses and how it differs from previous development models, a more targeted analysis on the major emerging economies and what a sustainable development model means for those five countries may be presented. While real GDP growth rates are limited in the scope of information they can provide, they still can shed light upon countries’ interpretations of and progress towards sustainable development. At the first significant signs of international awareness of the climate issue in the late 1980s and the birth of the UNFCCC in 1992, the economies of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea looked very different than how they currently look; Table 1 compares the annual GDP growth rates of the major emerging economies as a group against the OECD members, while also breaking down the five different countries’ respective rates. Throughout the history of the international climate regime, a large amount of the increase seen in annual GDP growth rates worldwide was observed among these five countries.
That’s only part of the picture, though, as discussed above; next, this growth must be placed within the context of the climate issue to see the extent of sustainable development’s influence on these countries historically. Looking at the greenhouse gas emissions trends during this time period will show how much this growth has contributed to anthropogenic climate change. A comparison of various emissions metrics between the OECD and the major emerging economies as a group is presented in Table 2. From these data, it can be concluded that the historical growth experienced by the major emerging economies during this time period has played a role in the climate change that has been observed. The effects of climate change, according to the influential Stern Report, act as a brake on growth, and will increasingly be more aggressive as the population and GDP in these countries increase, and as more people move into the middle class and adopt the middle class lifestyle that is very energy-intensive, thus adding more stress on environmental resources and services and, conjointly, upon economic productivity.
Thus, in the context of the climate issue, there is a requirement to marry the priorities of countries for economic development with the need to not incur “dangerous climate change,” as outlined in the text of the UNFCCC. Since its inception in 1992, the international climate regime has recognized this relationship between the “growth imperative” development model and climate change, and added in the initial treaty text that the Parties “have a right to, and should, promote sustainable development…[and] economic development is essential for adopting measures to address climate change.” Thus, when coupled with social and environmental factors as it is under a sustainable development paradigm, economic development can work within the social and environmental limits posed by climate change and be sustainable over the long-term within the three criteria.
This definition of sustainable development informs many of the core principles that lie at the core of the UNFCCC, including equity and “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities” (CBDR/RC) between developed and developing countries’ roles within the international climate regime, and it underlies the Convention’s continued multi-pronged action on mitigation, adaptation, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building. This relationship will be further analyzed later in this study, but it is important to note, however quickly, this relationship in the context of the history of the interaction of sustainable development and climate governance through the UNFCCC.
As observed above, the major emerging economies are growing at a faster annual rate than the developed countries, so they face the greatest repercussions from these limits on growth posed by the effects of climate change if the same development model as previously observed is deployed. So, the major emerging economies’ climate action and interpretations of sustainable development can determine if “dangerous climate change” is to be avoided, as is the objective of the UNFCCC.
IV. Key Stakeholders: The Five Major Emerging Economies
Before a deeper discussion on the influence of sustainable development upon these countries’ negotiating positions within the UNFCCC framework can be presented, a characterization may be presented of each of the five emerging economies through the lens of sustainable development and the unique circumstances each faces in order to form a more thorough analysis of the similarities and differences present between them. It’s clear that each of these countries’ unique circumstances share both commonalities and differences with each of the other four, creating a complex and dynamic system that fosters interesting avenues for analysis of each country’s sustainable development interpretation.
Certainly the largest of the emerging economies by most measures is China, with a population of 1.357 billion and the largest GDP, at US$9.24 trillion, and the fastest annual growth rate, at 10.15 percent. It serves as a good entry point into further analyzing the five major emerging economies because it has, arguably, been the most vocal advocate among the five for their right to develop and its actions are of critical importance to the effectiveness and impact of a new global climate agreement that comes through the UNFCCC. Its main emitting sector is stationary energy generation and transformation and industrial processes, as their energy portfolio is heavily hinged upon carbon-intensive fossil fuels to appease their large and ever-growing domestic energy demand.
Of the other four countries, India shares the most similarities with China in that it has a burgeoning population of 1.252 billion and its main emitting sectors include stationary energy generation and transformation, transport, and forestry. However, its economic position is not as advanced as China’s, as its GDP, while growing at 6.52 percent per year on average, is still five times smaller and its per capita GDP is four and a half times smaller than China’s; much of this is due to the widespread poverty that prevails among the population. For this reason, India has always placed social elevation and development as its highest priority.
Brazil, while still an emerging economy and major worldwide emitter, does not share the same characteristics as outlined above for either China or India, mainly because its largest emitting sector is not energy generation and transformation, which is not nearly as carbon-intensive as in the other major emerging economies due to widespread investment historically in renewable energy sources like hydropower and biofuels. Deforestation in the Amazon basin, captured in the UNFCCC jargon under “land use change and forestry” (LUCF), accounts for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil. Its population is much smaller than both China and India at over two-hundred million, but its GDP is nearly double that of India at US$2.246 trillion and growing at 2.75 percent.
With half the population and economic output (on a gross output basis, but both have similar growth rates) of Brazil, Mexico has shared characteristics with both China and India as well as Brazil, in that its major emitting sectors include energy production and transformation along with land use change and agriculture. However, it is important to note that, “in some aspects, [Mexico] is a developed country and in many other aspects it is a country that is trying to overcome a lot of poverty;” it straddles a different line, as it is considered both a developing country and non-Annex I Party under the UNFCCC while simultaneously maintaining membership in the OECD, comprised of mostly developed Annex I Parties. This positional duality allows Mexico to “understand different stances, to understand positions of sections of the country…to understand the positions of Latin America or the positions of North America… [in order to] play the central role and have a presence in all of the groups.”
The Republic of Korea also is a member of the OECD and straddles the line between developed and developing country status alongside Mexico, along with a similar GDP level around US$1.3 trillion. However, the Republic of Korea’s growth rate is twice that of Mexico and has half of its population. Its major emitting sectors include energy generation and transformation and industrial processes, aligning it with China.
It’s essential to place these countries into their respective social contexts as well and to explain the influence of their sustainable development policies and programs upon this domestic social framework. A metric that captures this impact is the Human Development Index (HDI), which is a composite measure of life expectancy at birth, mean and expected years of schooling, and gross national income (GNI) per capita. As seen in Table 3, the Republic of Korea was ranked the highest of the five countries in both 1990 and 2013, yet China had the fastest average annual growth rate for both periods between 1990-2000 and 2000-2013. India, although ranked last of the five major emerging economies in both time periods, has made exceptional progress towards elevating its population and addressing its unique social circumstances, which it has cited as an overriding priority over all others, including climate governance and sustainable development. It is clear from these data, however, that all five countries have made and are continuing to make enhancements to the social contexts within which each is approaching sustainable development policies and international climate governance negotiations.
Now that a general characterization has been provided for each of the five emerging economies’ unique circumstances, a deeper analysis of the patterns observed between them as they relate to sustainable development and climate governance may be expounded. The first area of focus in this respect for this study will be the reinforcement of the principles at the core of the original UNFCCC text. It is important to keep in mind that that text was adopted in 1992; in the twenty-two years since, all five of these countries have experienced drastic changes domestically and have progressed quickly along their respective development paths. Yet, three out of the five (Brazil, China, and India) cited in their Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) document the text that expounds on the centrality of the financial commitments of the Annex I countries for climate action projects in developing countries, thus highlighting the pervasive belief that the developed country Parties still have the responsibility to take a leadership role and provide resources to facilitate climate action in the developing countries, regardless of a dynamic change in circumstances or unique national trends. It’s important to note that this widely-held belief does not preclude climate action in developing countries; it just asserts that, as the two groups push climate action forward in the future, developed countries should take the lead and help the developing countries build capacity and increase ambition along the way.
Mexico and the Republic of Korea, on the other hand, did not cite from the UNFCCC text in their NAMA; rather, they used language from the Copenhagen Accord of 2009 that called for non-Annex I Parties to take mitigation actions that move their country towards sustainable development. This document reflected the changes that had been observed in the seventeen years that had lapsed since the original text, acknowledging that circumstances had changed in the international climate regime, especially among these five major emerging economies. Their choice to cite the Copenhagen text over the UNFCCC shows a clear distinction between these two countries and the other three, as the former explicitly acknowledge their call to action as non-Annex I Parties, while the latter emphasize differentiation and the importance of assistance from developed countries.
Brazil also cited the text pertaining to developing country Parties’ obligation to communicate to the Convention on the implementation of climate action, and directly included the language from the UNFCCC outlining CBDR/RC between the Parties. This is crucial to note in this analysis because only one of the five countries included a direct reference in their NAMA to this, but China and India both, alongside Brazil, implore that CBDR/RC is both central to the international climate regime as it is presented through the UNFCCC and central to these Parties’ negotiating strategy within that regime. In their arguments, CBDR/RC is a characterization that economic and social development play an overriding role in the climate governance of these countries. It has been said that CBDR/RC has been seen as a negotiating weapon and a “key strategic target… [that can be used] to fend off almost any demand from the West [developed countries].” Thus, there is a clear divide shown through the use of CBDR/RC between the negotiating positions and perspectives brought to the UNFCCC negotiations.
However, this divide is becoming more nuanced and complex. Use of the CBDR among some countries is inconsistent when climate action moves outside of the international regime of the UNFCCC. For example, China and India have both recently engaged in bilateral climate negotiations with the United States, and have scaled back their approach to the differentiation of responsibility and action between the two parties. For the first time, China agreed to cap its gross emissions no later than 2030, which was the first time that the country agreed to climate action that moves past emissions intensity targets (which leave the door open for an increase in gross emissions). This commitment places it among the developed countries, including the US, in gross emissions reduction targets, which begs the question: how is CBDR deployed in these bilateral negotiations to achieve those ends while used differently in the international regime? In these cases, it’s possible that these countries want to exert their control over the outcomes of the negotiations so that they are more agreeable to their country’s interest. In the UNFCCC negotiations, this control would not be possible; if China made the same commitment through the international regime as it did in bilateral negotiations with the US, it would be subject to the input from 195 other Parties pressuring for even higher levels of ambition. Thus, through these bilateral negotiations, CBDR does not play as large of a role so these major emerging economies may make heightened commitments on their own terms, while differentiation is central to the international regime so as to fend off pressure to commit further than the country is willing and/or able to.
Due to the dynamic process of change in circumstances in these five countries and the growth observed over the lifetime of the international climate regime, the Annex I Parties increasingly called for more aggressive and binding commitments from the major emerging economies because of their higher growth rates in both GDP and greenhouse gas emissions (as outlined above) relative to the developed country Parties. Under the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, these Annex I Parties agreed to make legally-binding climate action commitments in order to take the lead ahead of the developing countries; thus, when these countries grew and developed at such a high rate, the Annex I Parties felt that it was then the turn of the non-Annex I Parties to follow suit and take on comparable commitments that were also legally-binding.
This was met with pushback from the major emerging economies, who wanted to avoid similarly legally-binding commitments because, among other factors, they prioritized economic and social development over emissions reductions. Initially, they were seen as a “political and economic threat… [that were] at odds with the country’s…needs and priorities as a developing country.” Over time, however, there has been a realization among policymakers in these five countries that “certain kinds of commitments could be congruent with [their country’s] domestic political and economic needs.” Thus, there arose a widespread acceptance and implementation of domestically legally-binding commitments, a characteristic that is still widely prevalent in the climate governance action and negotiating positions of these countries. However, Brazil, China, and India all made it very clear in their NAMA that these actions and commitments were voluntary in nature and that they were under no moral obligation to do so.
The NAMA document for each Party is a valuable indicator and resource to analyze the interpretation of sustainable development from each respective developing country Party and the extent to which they are willing to commit to pursuing the realization of that interpretation. Specifically, the emissions metric employed in the commitments put forth by each Party can shed light on the country’s interpretation of sustainable development. For example, an emissions intensity framing, as used by China and India, indicates that, a) compared to members of the OECD, these countries have more to lose in terms of economic development and output by committing to absolute emissions reductions rather than coupling their emissions with their GDP growth; and b) economic development is an overriding motivator over environmental concerns in the policymaking process, as a decreasing emissions intensity does not necessarily imply a decreasing gross emissions rate. Annex I Parties have argued for the widespread use of a gross emissions metric for this very reason; Brazil, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea all used this metric in their NAMAs, signaling their recognition of and commitment to alleviating environmental crises as a factor of their sustainable development interpretation.
A Party’s NAMA also shows a country’s willingness to make aggressive reductions and action towards a stronger climate governance infrastructure and towards sustainable development, as interpreted in each country, based on the magnitude and time horizon of the reductions included. As seen in Table 4, there are numerous commonalities shared between Brazil, China, and India regarding the voluntary nature of their commitments and reinforcement of the guiding principles of the UNFCCC, while Mexico and the Republic of Korea (the two OECD members of the five) placed strong emphasis upon the Copenhagen Accord and economy-wide climate action. These commitments clearly show the varying levels of intensity that these five countries have agreed to, and implicitly reveal a clearer picture of each country’s interpretation of sustainable development.
Each of the five emerging economies has enacted its own unique policy portfolio to respond to the intersection of climate governance and sustainable development, and each will be analyzed individually and compared with the other four countries’ policies. In terms of chronological order, the Republic of Korea was the first country among the five to enact concrete climate policy domestically in 2002 with the first of four Comprehensive Plans on the Climate Change Convention. As a suite of consecutive policies were enacted and implemented over ten years, they focused on energy conservation and efficiency measures and programs, building domestic capacity to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate, sectoral greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects, increasing renewable energy sources’ share of total electricity generation and consumption, and facilitating climate adaptation measures.
In 2008, however, it added on a second layer onto their domestic climate policies with the National Strategy for Green Growth, which shifted the country’s development model from one that was “quantity-oriented” and “fossil-fuel dependent” to one characterized by “quality-oriented growth” and greater use of renewable sources. Within the actual legislation underlying the strategy, green growth is defined as “growth achieved by saving and using energy and resources efficiently to reduce climate change and damage to the environment, securing new growth engines through research and development of green technology, creating new job opportunities, and achieving harmony between the economy and environment”, while sustainable development is defined in the 2007 Sustainable Development Act as “development based on sustainability that is implemented simultaneously in the pursuit of economic growth, social stability and integration, and the preservation of the environment.” With this framing, sustainable development is seen as a policy or group of policies that strives to achieve green growth, which is a different approach and understanding of the concepts than was seen in the other countries in this study.
Within the National Strategy for Green Growth, Korea set domestically legally-binding economy-wide mid-term (2009-2013) and long-term (2009-2050) targets along three pillars: “mitigation of climate change and energy independence, the creation of new engines for economic growth, and the improvement of quality of life and enhanced international standing.” It was paralleled by the Green New Deal, an infusion of US$38.5 billion into 956 thousand new jobs in the “green sector” that helped spur on the Republic of Korea’s transition to a low-carbon economy, specifically focusing on a carbon cap-and-trade scheme between both the public and private sectors. Of the domestic climate policies analyzed from the five major emerging economies, this policy is arguably the most encompassing and ambitious push towards sustainable development and a low-carbon economy. That does not necessarily mean that it is any more popular or effective than other countries’ proposals; it is still subject to similar domestic political, economic, and perceptional difficulties that pose roadblocks for the full and effective implementation of the program.
Brazil’s National Plan on Climate Change, also enacted in 2008, installed domestic mitigation and adaptation action commitments regardless of what occurs through the international climate regime, focusing on energy efficiency, renewables, biofuels, reducing deforestation rates and eliminating net loss of forest coverage by 2015. Climate change was deemed a “strategic issue for both the present and the future of national development” by the national government, and it established a domestically legally-binding commitment to reduce gross greenhouse gas emissions thirty-six to thirty-nine percent below the baseline scenario by the year 2020. Most of the resulting climate action from the National Plan was focused on the deforestation and energy sectors, as these were the two major sectors that contributed to the greatest amount to the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil puts equal weight on both adaptation and mitigation actions within its climate action portfolio as it argues that both are essential to adequately responding to the climate crisis.
Working within both facets of climate action, a wide array of actors and stakeholders from various backgrounds has been and are included in the climate policymaking process in Brazil. For example, Brazil had struggled to govern the Amazon and to stem the high rate of deforestation. Its response was to assemble all of the local stakeholders involved with the rainforest in each municipality, have them discuss the unique circumstances facing each municipality, and produce a policy response that is fair, equitable, and agreed upon by all local stakeholders. “A few years later [after this process was first implemented],” said one Brazilian delegate, “the deforestation [rate] dropped nearly eighty percent” and the net emissions for the country as a whole plummeted as well.
With the clear intention of tackling climate change while pursuing sustainable development, India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was also enacted in 2008, and it focused almost exclusively on supporting research, development, and deployment of energy efficiency technologies. Of the five major emerging economies, India has been the most vocal about the other imperatives that face the country, including: poverty eradication, food security and nutrition, universal access to education and health, gender equality and women empowerment, water and sanitation, energy, employment, and sustainable cities and human settlement. However, the country worked to incorporate these factors into its climate action portfolio so as to realize as many co-benefits as possible in these various social and cultural aspects.
The core vehicle for achieving India’s NAPCC commitments are eight National Missions, each of which focuses on addressing a specific area of climate action; these areas include solar energy, energy efficiency, sustainable habitats, water, sustainable agriculture, the Himalayan region specifically, forests, and strategic knowledge. While these National Missions were multi-pronged in scope, action was generally focused on the energy and transport sectors, India’s two greatest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions; these two will also play a large role in the future of India’s climate governance as a burgeoning population means increasing energy demand, higher population density, and higher volume in the transport sector. It also included a truncated reiteration of its twenty to twenty-five percent reduction by 2020 commitment from its NAMA: it pledged a twenty percent reduction between 2007 or 2008 and 2016 or 2017. India, characteristic with its top-down approach to climate action, has several federal government advisory boards that are the main decision-making bodies on the national level, including the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change and the Expert Group on Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth, among others. These bodies “coordinate national action plans for assessment, adaptation, and mitigation of climate change…[and] facilitate inter-ministerial coordination and guide policy in relevant areas.”
Of the five emerging economies included in this study, China has always been the most adamant against any form of legally-binding commitment based on international law. The philosophy of the Chinese approach to climate action has always had a domestic focus and a bottom-up structure that delegates the decision-making prerogative to subnational public actors, and this is clear in the country’s steadfast adherence to and advocacy for the “principles and provisions” of the UNFCCC, namely equity and CBDR/RC. Thus, it’s not surprising that the sixteen percent reduction in energy intensity by 2015 included in its Twelfth Five-Year Plan for 2011 to 2015 was called a “mandatory target,” avoiding mention of any international legality to the commitment and deferring to domestic jurisdiction.
The policy designated wind, solar, nuclear, hybrid and electric vehicles, and energy saving and storage technologies as “strategic industries” to specifically target industrial policymaking and funding. Specifically, it outlined a commitment to increase the use of non-fossil fuel-based energy to 11.4 percent of total energy use by 2015, and created the foundational structure for domestic carbon trading schemes to be established. Similarly to the Republic of Korea’s domestic policy, China’s climate action policies set economy-wide energy efficiency standards and included widespread, multi-sectoral renewable energy technology development and deployment. These policies were multi-pronged in their focus to include mitigation, adaptation, and capacity-building, and the main incubators for these actions are “low-carbon pilot projects” spread out among forty-two provinces and cities throughout the country. Since their introduction in 2007, these projects have been responsible for “developing strategic emerging industries, promoting clean energy, increasing forest sinks, advocating a green and low-carbon lifestyle and consumption model, improving and innovating systems and mechanisms, and actively exploring a green and low-carbon development mode that fits their local conditions.” Operating under the umbrella legislation of the National Climate Change Program at the federal level, the pilot projects have been the main driving force behind planning and implementing climate action policies on a subnational level. For example, Shenzhen City has publically committed to peak its emissions between 2017 and 2020, more than a decade sooner than the national commitment and many of these projects are launching carbon trading schemes in order to achieve their unique emissions reduction targets. In aggregate, these pilot projects have accounted for a large amount of the climate action policies and emissions reductions within China, and are a model unique to China in relation to the other major emerging economies analyzed in this study.
While most of the aforementioned policies outlined specific actions to be taken or programs to implement to meet benchmark targets, Mexico’s 2012 General Law on Climate Change solely sets the quantitative targets and leaves most of the method for achieving that mark up for interpretation. It reiterated its short- and long-term emissions reduction targets from its NAMA, but also gave a concrete value of fifty-one million tons of carbon dioxide emissions hoped to be abated by 2012. This is unusual among the targets set by the rest of the major emerging economies because it is not a percentage of some baseline level, but a hard-and-fast, quantitative value with very little fluidity in calculation or measurement, as is possible with percentages. It also set out to achieve thirty-five percent of its total electricity generation and consumption from renewable sources sometime before the year 2024. These initiatives also require widespread participation among state secretaries and departments across the federal government as a tenet of the General Law, a point that is only explicitly made among the major emerging economies by the Mexican government. This strong top-down involvement of public actors stems from the prevailing belief in Mexico that an international climate regime through the UNFCCC or another body is not the most effective arena for climate action; thus, most of the motivation, initiative, and coordination of climate efforts are consolidated in the pre-existing domestic governance structures.
Another valuable indicator of the extent to which sustainable development and climate governance have interacted in the five major emerging economies is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which was a flexibility mechanism included in the Kyoto Protocol originally and is used for developed countries to fund climate action projects in developing countries where it’s, in theory, more cost-effective. The CDM serves as a green investment avenue for heightened investment in projects that further social, environmental, and economic goals through sustainable development. Brazil was one of the main original supporters or proponents alongside the United States for the inclusion of the CDM in the Kyoto Protocol. Originally, these flexibility mechanisms were seen by many as a violation of the sovereignty of the developing host countries as the projects being implemented could be contrary to the host’s development interests. Many also argued that it allowed developed countries to shirk their responsibilities and commitments that they had previously made within the international climate regime.
As time has progressed, however, the CDM became to be seen as a “potential conduit for technologies and investments” that could allow each country to “demonstrate its commitment to action on climate change, while remaining free of any binding obligations to specific emissions reductions targets.” In fact, the top five major emerging economies included in this study are the top five countries worldwide for host of CDM projects, and 92.5 percent of all CDM projects are hosted in one of these five countries. Thus, across the board, but mostly in China, which accounts for 59.9 percent of all CDM projects, the CDM is a vital instrument that lies at the core of the implementation and manifestation process of each of these five countries’ sustainable development model.
It is unclear, however, whether or not the CDM will be maintained in the 2015 agreement in its current form. The CDM is currently hampered by volatile prices, technical and bureaucratic failings, and a lack of easily achievable, low-hanging-fruit projects, which have already been achieved through the historical deployment of the CDM. However, “there’s the prospect that a market mechanism under the ADP (Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) could involve the CDM or something like the CDM…[while incorporating] the lessons we learned from the CDM.” In the ADP negotiations in Lima, Brazil was adamant about deferring discussion of the CDM or a flexible market mechanism in general to the ADP plenary meeting early February, 2015. This is interesting because Brazil was one of the main advocates for the CDM in the international regime and one of the main host countries to where it was deployed historically.
Many developing countries (including the five major emerging economies as a group) currently view the CDM as an infringement, both by the developed Annex-I countries and the UNFCCC as a whole, upon their right to pursue sustainable development themselves; they argue that “’we will decide what we consider to be sustainable development in our country, and it’s not up to the COP to tell us what contributes to sustainable development, so we keep that ourselves and we make the decision.’” This sentiment could move the negotiations away from the inclusion of a flexible market mechanism in the 2015 agreement, as, at one point in the negotiations in Lima, there was no discussion of including the CDM or similar flexible market mechanisms in the draft text.
Climate governance has been supported, developed, and implemented through a myriad of unique domestic institutions within each of the five major emerging economies; they have grown in scope and size, developed and matured, and diversified throughout the history of the international climate regime in the early 1990s. The manner in which each country structured these institutions and assigned responsibility within them sheds light on its interpretation of sustainable development within the context of the climate issue. In each of these five examples, the national institutions served as the main driver of the country’s approach to the UNFCCC negotiations; however, the means or approach by which this end was achieved fell into two categories which, it’s important to note, are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
One approach, observed mainly in Brazil, India, and Mexico, centralizes policy creation and coordination and executes its implementation in a top-down fashion where the federal government plays a major role in all aspects of climate governance. On the other hand, a bottom-up approach was adopted in China and the Republic of Korea that included actors external to the federal government as major players in the creation, coordination, and execution of domestic climate governance. Brazil’s climate governance process has been and continues to be heavily characterized by a strong level of participation from a wide array of different capacities and backgrounds; in one case regarding Amazonian deforestation, all of the relevant stakeholders were put in a room, including “the mayor, the farmer, the judge, the attorney, the local people, the teacher,” in each municipality in order to work together to find a fair and effective solution. The approach that each country chooses helps inform an analysis into its interpretation of sustainable development and its role in climate governance based on how the process operates and the roles of the actors involved within it.
One such group of actors in the climate issue whose role in climate governance is interesting to this study is scientific researchers and experts in the field. From the onset of its response to the climate issue and creation of climate governance institutions domestically, China has included this group as an informing body that helps clarify the science underlying the climate issue. Further yet, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) was a “key player in the coordination of China’s early climate change research… [and it was] responsible for implementing China’s UNFCCC commitments after the treaty was ratified after 1992.” Brazil’s Inter-Ministerial Commission on Climate change (CIMGC), its main coordinating body for both domestic climate policy and the country’s UNFCCC negotiating position, is comprised of a mix of agencies or ministries of the federal government that focus on, among other areas, scientific research, the environment, and energy. In these two examples, scientific research is used to inform the climate discussions and actions of the country and set a foundational groundwork for the institutions to be established to implement those actions, as well as be an included party in the ongoing discussions internally and externally.
Another group of actors that plays a prominent role in sustainable development and climate governance creation, coordination, and execution is the private sector; however, while the private sector has been present in the climate governance of each of these five countries, the scope and depth of its role varies. For example, in India, “industry’s contribution to the India positioning [in domestic and international climate governance] has thus far been rather narrowly confined to issues around the Clean Development Mechanism;” aside from how the CDM is implemented in India, the private sector has very little involvement in the discussions surrounding the creation and development of climate governance at a national or international scale. On the opposite side of the Spectrum, the Brazil Climate Change Forum (BCF) is a major network of all levels of the public sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics, and the private sector that generates ideas and discussions that inform the domestic and international climate policymaking process. A similar network is established in China, but with a tighter scope of action that focuses solely on the creation and development of a domestic carbon trading scheme.
Many corporations and businesses have taken the initiative and set goals and projects in motion that focus on climate action; one example of a leader in this group is Pemex, Mexico’s publically-owned petroleum corporation, which has its own internal emissions trading system and has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by one percent annually. It has also spearheaded Mexico’s overarching greenhouse gas program, which aims at encouraging the creation and distribution of corporate greenhouse gas inventories along with emissions reduction actions. It is clear that the private sector, in some countries, has taken a leading role to further climate action and sustainable development, while has not in other countries.
In order to facilitate and further foster industry’s role, there are measures that can be taken by the public sector on an international and domestic level, including (among others): “introducing strong, predictable carbon prices; sending policy signals for technology markets; decrease the cost of capital; decrease barriers to trade; increase research and development investment; [and] increase infrastructure investment.” Sending strong policy signals was a point of discussion at the COP, especially from non-governmental organizations, but there was little to no prospect of any tangible inclusion of a carbon price or another equivalent price signal in the draft text or elements paper that was produced in Lima. However, investment in low-carbon technologies and infrastructure is a key component of the discussions and is widely recognized by the major emerging economies, as well as many of the Parties as a whole.
Climate governance is not only the domain of the federal government in each of these countries, however; sub-national climate governance has played a major role in domestic progress towards sustainable development and, in some countries, has been the main driver behind it. China, with its bottom-up approach to climate governance, has a strong array of regional or municipal climate action structures in place that fuel its sustainable development path. For example, each province and municipality in China is required by the national government to establish a climate implementation plan that includes emissions intensity targets, fossil fuel taxes, economy-wide energy efficiency standards, and other plans or initiatives that facilitate a transition to a low-carbon economy. Furthermore, seven pilot carbon markets are currently under development to be implemented locally in targeted urban areas that are the hubs for greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, India has required each of its states to draft and implement State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs) that are responsible for marrying climate action with economic development within each state’s jurisdiction. Not all climate action plans are mandated by the federal government, however; Mexico City’s fifteen-year Plan Verde (Green Plan) was drawn up and has been implemented with local stakeholders on local initiative to tackle the issues of land conservation, housing and public spaces, water supply and sanitation, transportation and mobility, air pollution, and waste management and recycling within the city.
Climate governance in the five major emerging economies occurs at various levels with various actors in a way that is unique to each country, and each country’s interpretation of sustainable development is a major driver of what their climate governance looks like, how it is created, and how it is implemented. While each country has developed and responded to the threats posed by climate change in its own unique manner, it is clear that there are common threads that can be deduced from each country’s individual approach to climate action that can help inform an analysis of the dynamic nature of these major emerging economies and their responses to climate change.
V. Sustainable Development and Climate Governance Moving Forward
Now that the historical context, importance, and individual interpretations of sustainable development within the scope of climate governance in the five major emerging economies have been presented and discussed, an eye could be cast forward to the future of the international climate regime, with a specific focus given to the international agreement that was hoped to be drafted at COP20 in Lima, Peru in December 2014 to be adopted at COP21 in Paris, France in 2015. An analysis of the barriers and opportunities presented by the interaction of climate governance and sustainable development for this Paris agreement will be analyzed, followed by an analysis of the outcomes of COP20 and their implications for COP21.
For sustainable development to play an even larger role in the upcoming Paris agreement, many barriers will need to be overcome and the global economic circumstances and perspectives will need to be changed drastically to realign with the tenets of sustainable development. There are many structural components inherent to the capitalistic economic structure that serve as roadblocks to the enhancement of sustainable development; in order to transition to a new, low-carbon economy globally, a new economics is required that disavows the “growth fetish/imperative” that is pervasive now.
Not only are there economic barriers, however, but there are also structural components of the political system and current political climate in some of these countries that could act as roadblocks to the furtherance of sustainable development under a new international climate agreement through the UNFCCC. Doubts exist as to whether or not a democratic or republic form of government (as seen in all of the countries analyzed in this study, excluding China) has the capacity to quickly and effectively respond to such a large-scale and complex crisis as climate change. In order to produce and implement an adequate response that is effective in the short- and long-terms, there must be a political commitment over time to aggressive and ambitious climate action; however, in a democratic system, “ the government is only in for every four years and their leaders are changing” and, with these changes comes a change in priorities, agendas, and commitments which could derail an extensive and long-term climate action program.
There are also unique failings within each of these countries’ governance systems that hinder their ability to mold and implement effective policy responses to the threats of climate change. Historically, Mexico has relied heavily (almost exclusively) upon executive action for top-down climate action, which is heavily dependent upon the inconsistency among presidents and their position towards climate change. Brazil also has historically been unable to effectively govern the Amazon and the actions taken within it, which has severely hampered its ability to affect meaningful climate action and emissions reductions. For these countries, these roadblocks could inhibit progress being made on implementing new, more aggressive commitments that may come from the new agreement in Paris next year.
As these major emerging economies grow and develop in the future, an increase in their populations is expected, and this will increase energy demand domestically and internationally. When that point is reached, each country will most likely fulfill that demand with the cheapest source of energy available; currently, fossil fuels are must cheaper than alternative energy sources that are less carbon-intensive. In order for sustainable development to really flourish through the Paris agreement, the factor of future population growth’s effects must be accounted for, and its implications must be avoided by making less carbon-intensive alternatives cheaper and more prevalent than fossil fuels in these major emerging economies and worldwide.
The 2015 agreement hinges upon widespread participation in the UNFCCC negotiation process and climate action domestically, specifically among the developed countries and these major emerging economies; without either group in the agreement, its effects and efforts towards staying under the two degree Celsius threshold set as the objective of the UNFCCC will fall short. Developed country Parties are “concerned about the competitiveness of their economies as well as the domestic political ramifications of adopting stringent climate regulations without a similar commitment [from the major emerging economies and emitters];” thus, the differentiation between the two groups in terms of their commitments and responsibility for action pose a severe barrier to an effective and inclusive international climate agreement that may come out of Paris.
This barrier was more present and impenetrable during the Lima negotiations than was originally expected and predicted; the main point of contention was that “major developing countries pushed for explicit differentiation between Annex I and non-Annex I countries throughout the decision, which developed countries flatly rejected.” This sentiment and adversarial positioning became the norm at the Conference, which became focused around this issue of CBDR. However, as one former delegate explained, CBDR “applies for historical responsibility, not for action; action should be based on respective capabilities.” This distinction is not recognized and incorporated into these countries’ negotiating positions, as the “principles and provisions” of the Convention take a preeminent position within the context of these negotiations. This thereby implicitly reinforces the framework and context of differentiation of responsibility and action along the lines of the CBDR for the UNFCCC moving forward towards the Paris agreement.
This was not due to an absence of alternative perspectives on how to divvy up the required action among the Parties. Brazil presented a proposal that called for a shift away from the current polar distinction between Annex I and non-Annex I towards a model that has three concentric circles or Party distinctions. As seen in Figure 1, there is a middle ground established for the major emerging economies in particular that are still classified as developing yet among the largest economies and emitters in the Convention; this middle circle in the three-fold structure allows these nations to take on more ambitious and effective commitments while avoiding the internationally legally-binding commitments of the center circle. On the other side of the negotiations, this also allows the Annex I countries to feel comfortable that these major emerging economies are doing their part in responding to the climate crisis. This proposal was drafted and agreed to by all of the emerging economies before Lima, and had the potential to move the discussion past the roadblocks and impediments that CBDR poses; unfortunately, the Brazilian proposal gained little traction among the Annex I Parties and thus was not a serious consideration on the table for the Paris agreement.
Even with these barriers, however, sustainable development poses a plethora of opportunities under the next international climate agreement. The “post-growth” economy doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t any growth at all; there is still the opportunity for social and environmental elevation and appreciation in value. Long-term economic growth and sustainability is also possible under sustainable development under a better quality of growth, through increased investment in low-carbon technologies and in “natural infrastructure” and through job stimulation and creation in the emerging “green sector.” These types of actions would reflect a “new economic reality” of a “sustaining economy” that “mitigates the impacts of adverse shocks by reducing the intensity of resource consumption, alleviating pressure on commodity prices, and simultaneously fostering economic, social, and environmental resilience.” This would be a drastic change from the current system, but that change provides an opportunity for diversification and growth in a more holistic and beneficial manner.
Now that the barriers and opportunities for the furtherance of sustainable development under the next international climate agreement have been expounded upon, expectations for what could be included in it may be presented, as produced by the meetings leading up to and in Lima in 2014, the largest of which was the UN Climate Summit in New York City that was held on September 23rd, 2014. In his summary of the Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon asked leaders from both the public and private sector to “crystallize a global vision for low-carbon economic growth and to advance climate action on five fronts: cutting emissions; mobilizing money and markets; pricing carbon; strengthening resilience; and mobilizing new coalitions.” Leaders at the Summit also reiterated that the eradication of extreme poverty, the promotion of sustainable development, and the two degree Celsius threshold will be key components to the next international climate agreement. Ki-Moon also stated that the “global effort to meet the climate challenge should reflect evolving realities and circumstances.”
A lofty goal was also presented at the Summit: peak emissions globally at 2020, then drastic reductions from 2020 to 2050, and carbon neutrality by 2050. Aggressive climate action on a scale above any previously seen is required in order to achieve this, and that heightened level of action will necessarily mean a heightened level of climate financing options available from governments, businesses, and other non-governmental actors. The proposal for an internationally-uniform carbon price received widespread support from representatives of both the private and public sector worldwide that, as a whole, amounted to fifty-two percent of global GDP, fifty-four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and fifty percent of the world’s population. So, emerging from the Climate Summit, many ideas were floated and supported worldwide and among both the private and public sectors that would, if included in the next international climate agreement, facilitate sustainable development at an unprecedented level.
As discussed above, the participation and cooperation of the major emerging economies in the next international climate agreement is vital to its long-term viability, sustainability, and impact and the objective of the UNFCCC; “emissions reductions of the scale [to reach the two degree Celsius target] are not possible without the active participation of developing countries.” The outlook is promising, though, that that will be achieved, as evidenced in the analysis provided above and the recent climate deal agreed to between the United States and China. In anticipation for Lima and Paris, the two largest emitters globally on an aggregate criterion have taken the first steps towards aggressive emissions reductions; China agreed to cap carbon emissions by 2030 or earlier, increase non-fossil fuels to twenty percent of total energy consumption by 2030, and add between eight-hundred and a thousand gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar, and renewable sources generating capacity by 2030 (which far exceeds that of all of the current coal-fired power plants in the country today); the United States agreed to reduce emissions between twenty-six and twenty-eight percent below its 2005 level by 2025, the first time the long-standing seventeen percent target was surpassed.
This was called a “real shot of momentum for [the] international climate negotiations” and marks a shift in China’s negotiating position from adamant opposition to any international commitments on climate change and voluntary commitments on reducing energy intensity to international commitments on gross emissions reductions, which has always been the assumed realm of the developed Annex I Parties due to CBDR/RC. It was apparent that, at the beginning of the first week, there was a real wave of optimism that arose from the bilateral agreement between the two largest economies, emitters, and Parties within the Annex I and non-Annex I camps. However, as the Conference progressed, the optimistic mood and momentum were stalled over arguments regarding differentiation of responsibilities, which detracted away from the overall productivity and forward progress made between the Parties in Lima. However, the US-China agreement showed the UNFCCC and the world that the two country groups could cross the aisle, work together, and achieve something meaningful, which, in and of itself is cause for optimism moving forward.
Although a draft text for the Paris agreement wasn’t achieved in a somewhat mature state in Lima, the Lima Call for Climate Action was produced to inform the next year of negotiations. An annex of the Lima Call is the “Elements for a draft negotiating text,” which lists the guiding principles and key tenets that should be included in the 2015 agreement text. Among these is the reinforcement of CBDR, as the paper states that “Parties with the greatest responsibility and highest capability…[should] take the lead in fully implementing existing obligations under the Convention in relation to mitigation and support in line with historic responsibility.” This is similar language to what has been included in UNFCCC texts historically, and signals the lack of progress made in Lima to move past the polar differentiation model provided through CBDR.
A key component included in the Lima Call is the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which combines both the bottom-up and top-down approaches to climate action through voluntarily decided and provided commitments along with restrictions and international ambition levels in order to collectively reach the objective of the UNFCCC and the 2015 agreement: to stay under the two-degree Celsius threshold. Interestingly, language was included in the Lima Call for “all actors, including civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities, local communities and indigenous peoples are encouraged to scale up their actions” in response to the climate crisis, thus recognizing the importance and centrality of other venues of climate action and governance external to the UNFCCC in the collective efforts against climate change. The remainder of the document is separated into sections for each of the main topics of the Convention, including: mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building, transparency of action and support, time frames and process related to commitments, facilitating implementation and compliance, and procedural and institutional provisions. Although this document wasn’t what was expected of the Parties at COP20, it still is a valuable document that will inform the next year of negotiations and climate action internationally and domestically leading up to COP21 in Paris in December.
Looking ahead to the next major international climate agreement that’s hoped to be presented next year in Paris, there is much to be optimistic about regarding the inclusion in and enhancement of sustainable development in domestic and international climate governance in the five major emerging economies. Each has unique domestic circumstances and interpretations of sustainable development, but, as a group, they are emerging as leaders in the international climate regime set up through the UNFCCC. And, as leaders, they will play a large role in how the climate crisis is governed post-2020, both internationally and domestically. Thus, their actions and interactions in both arenas are valuable indicators of the possible future of the global response to the threats posed by climate change.
Appendix I: Research and Interview Protocol
The research question that guided this study was: “in what ways are developing countries’ attitudes, motivations, and interpretations of sustainable development shaping their approaches to the UNFCCC negotiations?” This was used to direct the research process throughout the entire span of the study, and it was included in the application for Exempt Human Studies Research through the Dickinson College Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB approved the study’s exemption because, among other reasons, none of the human subjects interviewed and included in this study were under the age of eighteen and the information gathered from these subjects did not have the potential to criminalize or negatively impact the subjects if included and/or publically released.
For each of the human subjects interviews used in this study, there was a standard procedure that was employed. First, the subjects were asked to complete a provided consent form. Next, the camera and microphone were setup. Once the interview had begun and the camera was rolling, the subject was asked her or his name and organization or delegation. Then, they were asked a series of questions (or variants upon them that were appropriate for the individual’s expertise and experience), as follows:
Could you please describe the most important elements of your country’s strategy towards GHG emissions levels?
What were the motivations behind adopting your country’s specific sustainable development policies?
What is your position on legally-binding versus voluntary commitments for emissions reductions? What do you think their roles should be in the UNFCCC negotiations?
Describe what you believe the economy of your country will look like in the coming decades. What characteristics or attributes are desirable in that economy, and what steps are being taken or need to be taken in order to achieve that vision?
Who do you view as responsible for the execution of sustainable development strategies and policies domestically?
When considering certain sustainable development policies, do economic, social, or environmental factors play a larger role? Why?
Has your nation established institutions, mechanisms, or governing bodies charged with researching, developing, implementing, and/or regulating sustainable development policies? What were the motivations behind these, and why were these specific institution models chosen over others?
Which economic metric (e.g. carbon intensity, gross emissions, etc.) do you believe is the main indicator for successful sustainable development policies?
What was/is the process for determining which sustainable development policies are viable and best for your country? What is the process for evaluating the measures that have already been taken?
Do your country’s sustainable development policies focus more on creation (of jobs, industry, and/or innovation, in particular) or regulation (of existing industries and current organizational and individual behavior)?
Atteridge, Aaron. "The Evolution of Climate Policy in India: Poverty and Global Ambition in Tension." In Climate Governance in the Developing World [edited by Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria], pp. 53-71. Malden, MA: Polity, 2013.
Calderón, Felipe, Jos Dulbeke, Dr. Thomas Heller, Dr. P.C. Maithani, Paul Polman, Lord Nicholas Stern, and Dmitri Zenghelis. "Innovation and Investment: Drivers of Low-Carbon Economy." Presentation at COP20, Lima, Peru, December 8, 2014.
“Outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima.” Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, December, 2014. http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/cop-20-summary.pdf.
Chung, Rae Kwon. Interview by Brady Hummel at the 20th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Lima, Peru, December 9, 2014.
Department of Climate Change, National Development and Reform Commission of China. "Letter including autonomous domestic mitigation actions." United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, January 28, 2010. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/copenhagen_accord/application/pdf/chinacphaccord_app2.pdf.
El Gobierno de Mexico. "National Mitigation Actions. " United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, January 31, 2010. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/copenhagen_accord/application/pdf/mexicocphaccord_app2.pdf.
Embassy of the Federative Republic of Brazil. "Letter including nationally appropriate mitigation actions." United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, January 29, 2010. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/copenhagen_accord/application/pdf/brazilcphaccord_app2.pdf.
Government of Brazil. “Views of Brazil on the Elements of the New Agreement under the Convention Applicable to all Parties.” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, November 6, 2014. http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/Lists/OSPSubmissionUpload/73_99_130602104651393682-BRAZIL%20ADP%20Elements.pdf.
Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria. "Editors’ Introduction: Climate Governance in the Developing World." In Climate Governance in the Developing World [edited by Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria], pp 1-25. Malden, MA: Polity, 2013.
Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria. "A Green Revolution: China's Governance of Energy and Climate Change." In Climate Governance in the Developing World [edited by Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria], pp. 29-52. Malden, MA: Polity, 2013.
Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria. "Controlling the Amazon: Brazil's Evolving Response to Climate Change." In Climate Governance in the Developing World [edited by Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria], pp 134-154. Malden, MA: Polity, 2013.
"India's Progress in Combating Climate Change: Briefing Paper for UNFCCC COP 20 Lima, Peru." Paper presented at COP20 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, Government of India, Lima, Peru, December 1-12, 2014.
Kallbekken, Steffan. “Observations from the climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa." In Toward a New Climate Agreement – Conflict, Resolution and Governance, [T. Cherry, J. Hovi and D. McEvoy], pp. 3-15. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014.
Ki-Moon, Ban, "Final Summary from the UN Secretary-General," Presented at the United Nations Climate Summit, New York, New York, September 23, 2014. Web. Accessed November 10, 2014. http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/un-climate-summit-ban-ki-moon-final-summary/.
Lee, Jae-Seung. "Low Carbon Green Growth and Climate Change Governance in South Korea." In Climate Governance in the Developing World [edited by Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria], pp. 91-112. Malden, MA: Polity, 2013.
Ministry of Environment and Forests. "Letter including India's domestic mitigation actions." United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, January 30, 2010. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/copenhagen_accord/application/pdf/indiacphaccord_app2.pdf.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea. "Note Verbale including Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions of Developing Country Parties." United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, January 25, 2010. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/copenhagen_accord/application/pdf/koreacphaccord_app2.pdf.
Nakamura, David and Mufson, Steven. “China, U.S. agree to limit greenhouse gases.” The Washington Post, November 12, 2014, accessed November 12, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/china-us-agree-to-limit-greenhouse-gases/2014/11/11/9c768504-69e6-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html.
National Development and Reform Commission. "China's Policies and Actions on Climate Change." Paper presented at COP20 by the Government of China, Lima, Peru, December 1-12, 2014.
Noguiera, Milton. Interview by Brady Hummel at the Development and Climate Days, Lima, Peru, December 7, 2014.
People's Republic of China. "China's Submission on the Work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhanced Action." United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, March 6, 2014. http://unfccc.int/files/bodies/application/pdf/20140306-submission_on_adp_by_china__without_cover_page.pdf.
Phillips, Gareth. Interview by Brady Hummel at COP20, Lima, Peru, December 8, 2014.
Pulver, Simone. "A Climate Leader? The Politics and Practice of Climate Governance in Mexico." In Climate Governance in the Developing World [edited by Held, David, Roger, Charles, and Nag, Eva-Maria], pp. 174-195. Malden, MA: Polity, 2013.
Republic of Korea Ministry of Government Legislation. “Chapter I, Article 2.2: Definitions.” In Framework Act on Low-Carbon, Green Growth. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/South%20Korea%20Framework%20Act%20on%20Low%20Carbon%20Green%20Growth%202010.pdf.
Republic of Korea Ministry of Government Legislation. “Chapter I, Article 2.2: Definitions.” In Sustainable Development Act. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www.moleg.go.kr/english/korLawEng?pstSeq=57720.
"Shoots, greens, and leaves." The Economist, June 16, 2012. http://www.economist.com/node/21556904.
Speth, James Gustave. "A New American Environmentalism and the New Economy." Lecture, Tenth Annual John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture on Science and the Environment from the National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC, January 21, 2010.
Stavins, Robert. June 5, 2014, "Chinese and US climate interests are converging." Chinadialogue, June 5, 2010.
Sussman, Bob. “The US-China Climate Deal: Not a Free Ride for the Chinese.” Brookings Institute, November 25, 2014. http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/planetpolicy/posts/2014/11/25-us-china-climate-deal-sussman.
Torre Vega, Alfonso de la. Interview by Brady Hummel at the 20th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Lima, Peru, December 9, 2014.
United Nations and Asian Development Bank. Green Growth, Resources, and Resilience: Environmental Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific. Accessed 9 October 2014. http://www.unep.org/dewa/Portals/67/pdf/G2R2_web.pdf.
United Nations. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), Article 3, Paragraph 4. Accessed November 12, 2014.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Decision 1/CP.17: Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.” December, 2011. Accessed January 28, 2015. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/cop17/eng/09a01.pdf#page=2.
World Bank. “World Development Indicators 2014.” accessed November 12, 2014, doi:10.1596/978-1-4648-0163-1.
World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 41. Accessed November 11, 2014. http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf.
“World DataBank: World Development Indicators. World Bank Group. Accessed February 4,, 2015. http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/reports/tableview.aspx#.
Zervas, Efthimios. “Green Growth Versus Sustainable Development.” Recent Advances in Energy, Environment, and Economics Development: 399-404, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.wseas.us/e-library/conferences/2012/Paris/DEEE/DEEE-64.pdf.