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The limits of climate change agreements: from past to present

Chandra Lal Pandey (Political Science and Public Policy Program, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)

International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management

ISSN: 1756-8692

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




This paper aims to show why very little progress was made in arresting climate change. Managing climate change is one of the greatest challenges humanity has encountered in the 21st century. Responding to this greatest challenge, the United Nations has organized numerous climate change conferences. Four agreements (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], Kyoto, Copenhagen and Doha) have emerged in the process of developing a potential international climate change policy but failed to produce any ambitious agreement to arrest climate change.


The pledges made by Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to reduce the greenhouse gases (GHGs) are contextualized with the ever increasing emissions of GHGs by exploring the databases of UNFCCC, International Energy Agency (IEA), Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Netherlands Energy Assessment Agency (NEAA) for this study.


However, GHGs have continued to rise and no globally binding agreement is seen to be forthcoming. Quantified targets to address the problem have yet to be agreed while major emitters remain free riders. This paper argues that the state-centric negotiating framework and the principles of the climate change negotiations were the main reasons for the inadequate outcomes leading to the continuing rise in emissions.


This is an original research. It has presented the overview of climate change agreements, finds the problems and presents a way forward. The research is useful for governments of the world, climate negotiators, students of climate change, researchers, NGO communities and every single human being who understands that managing climate change is not only complex but also extensive.



The author would like to thank Dr. Alan Simpsom for his insightful comments and suggestions throughout the preparation of this article.


Lal Pandey, C. (2014), "The limits of climate change agreements: from past to present", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 376-390.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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