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Multinational Corporations as Actors in International Environmental Politics and the Mitigation of Climate Change

Autor:   •  March 31, 2014  •  Research Paper  •  4,374 Words (18 Pages)  •  1,019 Views

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Introduction

Among the many issues in international relations, those to do with climate change are moving to the forefront of global political discussion. To briefly give one a sense of what climate change entails, here is a concise explanation: carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, which results in the Earth's overall temperatures increasing therefore making ocean temperatures rise as well as making glaciers melt. This in turn alters the global climate. These effects not only pose threats to the existence of ecosystems around the world, but also to the security of the global supply of energy, the global economy, and to human civilization. Natural disasters are growing in frequency and severity due to the changing climate, and the imminent devastation that they can and will inflict upon infrastructure and industrial utilities has flagged down much attention from many international political actors. However, it is evident that the increased attention has not necessarily come hand in hand with immediate and meaningful action on the part of the world's nation-states. The burdens of climate change are unevenly distributed and the fact that the costs fall disproportionately around the world makes global environmental governance fragmented and weak.

Regardless of the ineffectiveness of climate change mitigation initiatives to date, the environmental prerogative of the international community is gathering momentum and the idea of a globally driven initiative for climate change mitigation is more prevalent in the agendas of nation-states than it ever has been before. As climate change attracts more attention worldwide, all eyes turn to the nation-states and how they purpose to address the situation. To their credit, nation-states have taken part in international conferences and have at least recognized the problem at hand and then discussed possible solutions. On the other hand, managing to agreeing upon one while taking everyone's interests into consideration, has proven to be extremely costly, time-consuming and unprolific, thus resulting in the past four world summits in becoming almost redundant. To be specific, the failure of nation-states is defined here as the shortcoming of nation-states in the past world conferences to collectively come to an official and legally binding agreement on immediate action to effectively mitigate climate change. The fact that this official agreement has not been achieved is explicit evidence to the lack of capacity in the international community to address climate change appropriately.

With an issue as tenacious as climate change, political policy and agenda cannot sufficiently address the issue on its own. From a behavioural perspective, climate change incorporates an array of human activities originating from cultural, social, economic, and political spheres and furthermore the roots of these behaviours must

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