Speaker: Robert Falkner, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Abstract of ‘From Copenhagen to Legoland?’ seminar

The rise of the building blocks approach in international climate policy

In this talk, Robert Falkner reviewed the options for future international climate policy after the 2009 Copenhagen conference.

He argued that we needed a major reassessment of the current approach to building a climate regime, which is focused on the idea of a comprehensive, universal and legally binding treaty that prescribes, in a top-down fashion, generally applicable policies based on previously agreed principles.

From a review of the history of the ‘global deal’ strategy from Rio (1992) to Kyoto (1997) and beyond, Robert concluded that this approach had been producing diminishing returns for some time, and that it was time to consider an alternative path – if not goal – for climate policy.

An alternative that is most likely to move the world closer towards a working international climate regime is a ‘building blocks’ approach, which develops different elements of climate governance in an incremental fashion and embeds them in an international political framework.

This alternative is already emergent in international politics.

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