Rapidly developing countries who see traditional energy sources as a means to fuel their development, well funded aggressive environmental lobbying groups and an established fossil fuel energy paradigm boasting a mature and sophisticated political lobbying infrastructure all combine to make global warming politics extremely polarized. Distrust between developed and developing countries at most international conferences that seek to address the topic add to the challenges.
Further adding to the complexity is the advent of the Internet and the development of media technologies like blogs and other mechanisms for disseminating information that enable the exponential growth in production and dissemination of competing points of view which make it nearly impossible for the development and dissemination of an objective view into the enormity of the subject matter and its politics. Traditional environmental challenges generally involve behavior by a small group of industries who create products or services for a limited set of consumers in a manner that causes some form of damage to the environment which is clear.
As an example, a gold mine might release a dangerous chemical byproduct into a waterway that kills the fish in the waterway: a clear environmental damage. Carbon dioxide CO 2 is produced by all animals and utilized by plants and algae to build their body structures. Plant structures buried for tens of millions of years sequester carbon to form coal, oil and gas which modern industrial societies find essential to economic vitality. Scientists attribute the increases of CO 2 in the atmosphere to industrial emissions and scientists agree the increase in CO 2 causes global warming.
However, the scientific consensus is difficult for the average individual layperson to readily see and grasp. This essential nature to the world's economies combined with the complexity of the science and the interests of countless interested parties make climate change a non-traditional environmental challenge. The vast majority of developed countries rely on CO 2 emitting energy sources for large components of their economic activity.
In addition, CO 2 emitting fossil fuels many times [ clarification needed ] dominate the utilities aspect of an economy that provide electricity for:.
Because CO 2 emitting fossil fuels are intrinsically connected to a developed nation-state's economy, the taxation of fossil fuels or policies that decrease the availability of cost-effective fossil fuels is a significant political matter for fear that those taxes might precipitate a decrease in economic vitality. The replacement of cost-effective fossil fuels with more expensive renewable energy sources are seen by many as a hidden tax that would achieve the same result of depressing economic vitality and lead to impoverishment.
Beyond the economic vitality of a single nation, some are concerned that taxation would depress economic activity in a manner that could affect the geopolitical order by providing incentives to one set of countries over another. In developing countries the challenges are slightly different. Developing countries see CO 2 emitting fossil fuels as a cost effective and proven energy source to fuel their growing economies. Sometimes renewable energy technologies are not readily available to developing countries because of cost or due to export restrictions [ citation needed ] from developed countries who own those technologies.
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Renewables in accounted for The biomass-is-carbon-neutral proposal put forward in the early s has been superseded by more recent science that recognizes that mature, intact forests sequester carbon more effectively than cut-over areas. When a tree's carbon is released into the atmosphere in a single pulse, it contributes to climate change much more than woodland timber rotting slowly over decades.
After adjustment, carbon neutral renewables account for 4. Without help developing countries usually do not have access to the advanced energy technologies like wind and solar that they require for development forcing them to rely on hydrocarbon energy sources like fossil fuels and biomass. Without adequate and cost effective post-hydrocarbon energy sources, it is very unlikely the countries in developed or developing world would accept policies that would materially affect their economic vitality or economic development prospects.
A strong contributor to these decisions is that the existing technologies are not yet adequate to replace the role of fossil hydrocarbon fuels. Arguments have been made that fostering renewable energy through subsidies and other adoption-mechanisms are the path towards increasing the percentage of carbon-neutral renewable technologies that are used. According to IEA energy subsidies artificially lower the price of energy paid by consumers, raise the price received by producers or lower the cost of production.
Subsidies to renewables and low-carbon energy technologies can bring long-term economic and environmental benefits". The IEA's report disagreed with claims that renewable energy technologies are only viable through costly subsidies and not able to produce energy reliably to meet demand. Renewable energy is subsidized in order to compete in the market, increase their volume and develop the technology so that the subsidies become unnecessary with the development.
Eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies could bring economic and environmental benefits. Since the start of , at least 15 countries have taken steps to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies. The developing world sees economic and industrial development as a natural right and the evidence shows that the developing world is industrializing. The developing world is leveraging the use of CO 2 emitting fossil fuels as one of the primary energy sources to fuel their development.
At the same time the scientific consensus on climate change and the existing global governance bodies like the United Nations are urging all countries to decrease their CO 2 emissions. Developing countries logically resist this lobbying to decrease their use of fossil fuels without significant concessions like:. There are significant disagreements over which metrics to use when tracking global warming and there are also disagreements over which countries should be subject to emissions restrictions. While the biosphere is indifferent to whether the greenhouse gases are produced by one country or by a multitude, the countries of the world do express an interest in such matters.
As such disagreements arise on whether per capita emissions should be used or whether total emissions should be used as a metric for each individual country. Countries also disagree over whether a developing country should share the same commitment as a developed country that has been emitting CO 2 and other greenhouse gases for close to a century.
Some developing countries expressly state that they require assistance if they are to develop, which is seen as a right, in a fashion that does not contribute CO 2 or other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Many times, these needs materialize as profound differences in global conferences by countries on the subject and the debates quickly turn to pecuniary matters.
Most developing countries are unwilling to accept limits on their CO 2 and other greenhouse gas emissions [ citation needed ] while most developed countries place very modest limits on their willingness to assist developing countries. In addition, most developed countries would rather not participate in greenhouse gas reduction treaties if those would lead to decreased economic activity, transfers of wealth to developing countries, [ citation needed ] or significant shifts in the geopolitical balance of power of the world.
Some developing countries fall under the category of vulnerable to climate change. These countries involve small, sometimes isolated, island nations, low lying nations, nations who rely on drinking water from shrinking glaciers etc. These vulnerable countries see themselves as the victims of climate change and some have organized themselves under groups like the Climate Vulnerable Forum.
These countries seek mitigation monies from the developed and the industrializing countries to help them adapt to the impending catastrophes that they see climate change will bring upon them.
Government politics regarding climate change and many official reports on the subject usually revolve around addressing one of the following topic areas:. The current state of global warming politics is that there is frustration over a perceived lack of progress with the establish UNFCCC overall process which has progressed over eighteen years but which has been unable to curb global greenhouse gas emissions.
It implicates virtually every aspect of a state's economy, so it makes countries nervous about growth and development. This is an economic issue every bit as it is an environmental one. Because the framework system includes over countries and because negotiations are governed by consensus, small groups of countries can often block progress.
The eighteenth conference of the parties held in Doha , Qatar , United Nations Climate Change Conference , yielded minor to modest results. At the Doha climate change talks , Parties to the Kyoto Protocol agreed to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol to As a result, some have argued that perhaps the consensus driven model could be replaced with a majority vote model.
However, that model would likely drive disagreement at the country-level-ratification by countries who disagreed with any global treaties that might passed through a majority vote at such restructured institutions. In climate change has become an increasingly important political issue in Germany. Confronting a dynamic Asian-Pacific region, Australian political institutions and welfare structures have more in common with those of Western Europe, while its culture and urban development are increasingly American.
As with the Spanish Socialist and New Zealand Labour governments, it would be relatively easy to list all the right-wing pro-market policies implemented by the alp administrations of Bob Hawke —91 and Paul Keating — One of the oldest labour movement parties in the world, the alp has had a hegemonic role within the Australian working class for over a hundred years. But like other Labour parties, there has been much dispute over whether the alp has ever been socialist and whether the Hawke and Keating governments could be accused of betraying traditions and socialist objectives they did not uphold in the first place.
It is small wonder that many social democratic parties have fallen on hard times. The long-suffering oppositional Left in Britain and Germany, or the completely marginalized Left in the us ,Canada and Japan could only dream of exercising such labour movement power. It is true that in the s and s Western European labour movements had corporatist and unofficial agreements with social democratic or labour governments.
But it was only in Australia that a powerful national union movement, the Australian Council of Trade Unions actu had an Accord with a Labor government that enabled it to uninterruptedly help shape macro-economic policy during the s and s. Moreover, the Australian parliamentary and extra-parliamentary scene represented a microcosm of many of the major debates and theories expressed by international left and social movement tendencies since the s. The combination would imply higher production costs for food producers and higher prices for consumers, resulting in losses in food security.
Furthermore, since the transformation of forest land into agricultural land accounted for the majority of deforestation over the past ten years, international agreements that constrain forest conversion will alter future food production possibilities. The increasing value of water, concern over its quality and problems of access have made hydropolitics a matter of international concern.
In Africa, Asia and Latin America, shared river and lake basins make up at least 60 percent of the total land area Barrett, Water conflicts are only expected to intensify as the number of users burgeons. Incorporating this broad range of values into sustainable food production is appealing and necessary, but difficult in practice. The question frequently posed is: how can resources be used today to enhance food security considerably, but in such a way that their capacity to generate production for future generations at the same level is not diminished?
Policy measures vary among countries depending on the nature of the problems they face. National-level resource and environmental problems can present governments with difficult trade-offs between present and future growth and food security. The trade-offs can be particularly acute in the agricultural sector including forestry and fisheries where many resource problems of the developing countries are concentrated. In addition, international agreements constrain the range of actions taken by governments to influence natural-resource use.
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If these resources are degraded, future productive capacity will be reduced and global food security, and possibly national as well as local food security, will also be reduced. Conversely, actions to protect the resource base and the environment can reduce production and incomes and, therefore, near-term food security.
For the poor countries the consequences can be very serious, as their welfare depends heavily on the productive potential of their agricultural resources. At the same time, it must be recognized that resource degradation anywhere on the planet, particularly in the major food-exporting developing countries, can make the solution of the food security problems of the poor more difficult if it reduces global food production potential. At least one early development model was based on the assumption of surplus labour in the agricultural sector. What is new in the s is the emergence of relatively high rates of unemployment in a number of highly industrialized countries and in all of the transitional economies.
In an aggregate sense, they represent potentially productive resources, but they are not contributing to aggregate output. This waste of resources reduces aggregate income and, of course, leaves the affected individuals and their dependants without earnings, thus reducing access to food at the national and household levels.
To the extent that the comparative advantage of these jobless and underemployed people is in agriculture, the aggregate availability of food is reduced. Of course a reduction in the national income reduces the ability to import food. Consequently, underutilization of labour or any other resource may reduce food availability regardless of the sector in which the comparative advantage rests.
In the developed countries, policies and institutions established over many years to protect the interests of workers have introduced rigidities into the labour market and increased the cost of labour. Changing policies and institutions is proving to be a slow and politically painful process in most countries, and safety-net approaches are being relied on to mitigate the food-insecurity problems in the interim. Thus, it is no wonder that massive unemployment has resulted. This in turn has led to serious food insecurity and undernutrition in many of these countries.
Much more of the unemployment as well as underemployment is rural and agricultural and, thus, the negative impact on both availability and access dimensions of food security is direct. While agricultural labourers are without work or underemployed for much of the year, labour is a serious constraint to agricultural production because of the high seasonal requirements of the technologies employed.
Labour markets are not well developed, but, at the same time, in the industrial and formal service sectors, some of the same policies and institutions that cause labour markets in the developed countries to be rigid and labour to be expensive have been adopted. This limits opportunities for seasonal or full-time off-farm employment for rural people. Finally, most of these countries have invested very little in education or health services to increase the productive value and mobility of their human resources.
Most have also failed to recognize that ensuring adequate nutrition is an investment in human capital as well as a current consumption expenditure. In the global economy, national policies and the instruments to implement them will be increasingly conditioned directly or indirectly by outside events or pressures of globalization, economic integration, environmental and natural-resource treaties and the process of economic liberalization.
This is when governments have to make politically difficult choices as to how reductions in spending are to be shared among various segments of the population. To a large extent, the allocations depend on the relative power that various social groups can exercise on the government. Budget austerity and efficiency considerations imply that general subsidies and assistance programmes that distort market incentives will be either severely limited or abandoned altogether.
Since those policies have been found to be counterproductive in the past, other more targeted policies and instruments will be used in support of food security. The implementation of such acceptabl e policies will require removing institutional bottlenecks and upgrading the efficiency of the managerial capacities of the public sector. Indeed, NGOs have proliferated in recent years and many have assumed important roles in the delivery of services and in the implementation of policy and programmes formerly reserved as the purview of government.
While most NGOs are serious and responsible entities, they should not always be taken as reliable substitutes for the state.
In turn, a more limited range of domestic policies less susceptibile to political manipulation and considerations can be utilized. For agriculture, such agreements require discipline with respect to any domestic agricultural policies attempting to manage the price structure in favour of agriculture. The challenge for countries is to find low-cost, decoupled methods that give a boost to the productivity of the agricultural sector. Such interventions may include improving infrastructure and research and extension or assisting in the creation of market and credit institutions in the rural areas.
At present, over 80 million people are living permanently outside their own country and a further 18 million people are migrants as a result of political problems or natural catastrophes. Each year about 1 million people emigrate definitively and another 1 million seek political asylum. In many cases, migration has been an important contributor to agricultural as well as overall growth in the recipient countries, remittances from migrant workers have represented sizeable sources of income, foreign exchange and rural capital formation and returning migrants have brought back skills and savings acquired abroad.
On the other hand, despite the apparent paradox, in many cases migration has also created labour shortages and reduced agricultural activity in the countries or areas of origin. This has occurred in part because those who migrate are often more educated, skilled and dynamic than those who remain. Increasing migration has posed difficult problems of economic and social integration in many recipient countries. They can also help to contain the massive outlays being made in recipient countries to reduce the flows of migrants.
The world is profoundly different from what it was at the time of the World Food Conference in However, several features of the old political order, and the ideologies behind it, are appropriate to be reviewed because of their contemporary relevance. Calls for developing-country solidarity, self-reliance and a new and more just economic order now manifest themselves in different ways. The solidarity principle has broadened to a global dimension as awareness of the interdependence of economic interests has increased. Solidarity and self-reliance may be seen as having evolved into a broader perspective of intraregional collaboration and integration.
At the same time, however, official development assistance has lagged behind growing needs. Official commitments of external assistance to agriculture and, hence, to food security have declined in real terms in recent years. The principle of non-alignment has lost relevance in the current context of both East-West and North-South relations. No longer are there two big superpowers vying for hegemony in the developing countries. Developing-country solidarity has given way to a more pragmatic approach, in which self-interest plays a greater role in alliances and agreements.
This new approach is exemplified by the Cairns Group, in which developed and developing country members worked together to pursue common objectives of trade liberalization. Most striking in this process is NAFTA; negotiations are now under way to broaden its scope and create other forms of North-South economic and trade agreements.
North-South disagreements have also been moderated by the fact that a number of rapidly industrializing developing countries can now claim a developed-country status in some important respects. The possibilities for improved food security at both country and household levels are, however, more problematic in this global context. Improvement in food security at the country level depends heavily on the ability of a given country to integrate its economy into the international community and compete in an interdependent world.
Improved food security at the household level depends on the ability of individual household members to gain greater access to food. This, in turn requires access to employment opportunities and participation in the rewards of a growing and dynamic economy. For poor households without prospects, safety-net programmes are necessary to assure food security. This process accentuates problems of food insecurity, specifically, and security, generally.
Dismantling a nuclear arsenal of a destructive power that defies comprehension, doing it safely and avoiding proliferation in the newly created states and elsewhere are but one aspect of the problem; realizing and utilizing peace dividend resources in productive ways that inter alia help countries improve their food security situation is another. Helping new states stabilize and consolidate their political and economic situation is a further challenge.
It is fundamental that the past 50 years of peace through fear give way to a new period of peace through shared wealth. Trade and capital market liberalization combined with capital mobility motivates developed and developing countries alike to improve their position by creating credible investment opportunities. But the prerequisites are political stability, stable institutions and macroeconomic policies that avoid large and protracted disequilibria. Creating such an environment is a challenge that each country must face. Barring increased protectionist tendencies by the developed countries under the pressure of labour market adjustment problems, these opportunities should continue as more and more countries present themselves as credible and stable investment locations.
Some countries are searching for the political consensus necessary to undertake economic reforms that may harm some domestic interests in the short term; others are struggling to rebuild their economies and to create proper institutions and infrastructure. Some countries will have to rely more on their own efforts, internally generated resources savings and official assistance for several years to come. Although countries could, in principle, isolate themselves from such influences, it is unlikely that they will do so, given the catastrophic consequences of such policies in the past.
It may be difficult to achieve agreement on all elements of such an ideal environment, but it would surely include most of the following:. International coordination and liaison is necessary. The global community and international organizations can be helpful, but they are no substitute for the actions and political will to achieve food security within the country itself. Barraclough, S. An end to hunger? Barrett, S. Conflict and cooperation in managing international water resources. Policy Research Working Paper No.
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