Small island developing states and international climate change negotiations: the power of moral ‘‘leadership’’

I. de Águeda Corneloup, A.P.J. Mol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Being at the frontline of climate change, small island developing states (SIDS) hold a serious stake in climate negotiations. However, these countries usually are marginalized in the international political arena, due to their lack of structural power. This paper explores the strategic influence of SIDS and its representative organization, the Alliance of Small Island States, in the negotiations leading to the Copenhagen summit of December 2009. Using the concepts of leadership and discourses, the position, strategies, and impact of SIDS are analyzed on negotiation processes and their final outcome, focusing on three core demands of small island countries at Copenhagen: a temperature rise limit of 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels, funding for adaptation, and a legally binding outcome. Results reveal that SIDS practiced entrepreneurial, intellectual, and environmental leadership strategies and especially made use of moral claims in the debate. Given their near absence of structural power, they managed to secure a surprisingly large part of “their” agenda and interests in the final Copenhagen Accord, especially through (discourse) coalitions with various other state and non-state stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-297
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • regime formation
  • fragmentation
  • policy
  • aosis

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