PRE PRINT PAGES Ecology, Economy and Society Volume 1, Issue 1, January 2018 Indian Society for Ecological Economics ISSN: XYZA: BCDE Released under Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial license (Attribution 4.0 International) by the author(s). CONVERSATIONS Reflections on international climate diplomacy Nitin Desai* The origins of climate diplomacy lie in the alarm bells rung by climate scientists at Villach in 1985. This led to the convening of two influential climate conferences and to the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 and the call for a climate convention (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC). Negotiations for the UNFCCC ran parallel to the preparatory process for the Rio Earth Summit and the Convention was opened for signature at Rio. It was merely a framework that did not impose any binding obligations on emission reductions on the parties, except for the indicative goal of holding emissions at 1990 levels by 2000. The negotiations were a battle between Europe, which wanted mandatory commitments, and the US—led at that time by a president beholden to oil and coal interests—which resisted this. Within the G-77, interests were widely divided—small islands argued for immediate and strong action; oil producers resisted action, to protect their economic prospects; and large emerging economies, led by India, did not want constraints on their development ambitions. The principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ was enshrined in the UNFCCC, and has now become central to the negotiating stance of China, India, and other developing countries.
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