Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WHY COGNITIVE and EPISTEMIC REGIME THEORISTS PREDICT that CHINA, INDIA, BRAZIL, and other large developing states will join the Kyoto Global Warming R

WHY COGNITIVE and EPISTEMIC REGIME THEORISTS PREDICT that CHINA, INDIA, BRAZIL, and other large developing states will join the Kyoto Global Warming Regime

By Kevin Stoda, Europe

At the G-8 Summit in Italy last week, many observers were disappointed when India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico did not commit themselves to targeting Co2 and other gas reductions along as they had been asked to do by many signatory states of Kyoto Climate Control treaty. It surely would have been helpful to the entire planet if these other five key developing states had done more than orally recognize that global warming is as a reality and that they are part- and parcel of the problem, too.

Steffan Bauer and Carmen Richerzhagen in a 2007 article entitled “Pent-Up Demand, Development and Climate Change” call lands, like China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa “anchor” states. Most regime or hegemony theorists would call these same states either regional hegemons or centers of various regional regimes.

Stephen Krasner in 1983 defined “regimes” as “principles, norms, rules, and decision making procedures around which actor expectations converge in a given issue-area.” Like the concept of capitalism (i.e. a term which is so elastic as to allow conservatives, neo-liberals, and socialists to have their own different description of what capitalism should look like), regime theory has been embraced by almost every part of the political-economic perspective, as well, in terms of explaining how international organizations and systems form, grow, and wane. Further, neo-marxists and cogntivists have also adopted the language of regime theory in describing how regional communities along with their common norms of behavior develop over time.

Using the prism of regime theory (and setting aside hegemonic theory), Bauer and Richerzhagen focus on what they call “anchor states” within regimes or regional communities of states and developing peoples. In using their terminology, an “anchor state” may function similar to any large body in the universe whose gravity, magnetism, radioactivity, and energy are pulling or pushing other state and regional actors or organizations into their common norms and activities. In their article, Bauer and Richerzhagen focus specifically on the “anchor states” of China, India, and Brazil—nations which have lots of good reasons to join the Kyoto Climate Control Regime.

On the other hand, I should note, in a different article, Richerzhagen and Imme Scholz appropriately reported in 2008 that “so far China’s climate-relevant actions have not been influenced by climate considerations. Potential emission reductions are mainly a by-product of measures embedded in energy and transport policies aimed at cutting energy costs and increasing energy security.” The same critique, however, goes for many of the other developing anchor states worldwide.
Nonetheless, according to Bauer and Richerzhagen, the world’s climate warming regime is where the roles of anchor states will increasingly stand out over the coming years. Bauer and Richerzhagen explain that “ideally, these anchor states will play locomotive roles by which the activities and targets of the regime will be created and become global norms.”

NOTE: To some degree, South Africa is the best example of a state which already carries out a very clear role as both international and regional norm and target leader in terms of developments on the African subcontinent. However, it is the country on the planet furthest demographically from any other OECD state and has, therefore, not played a dominant role in the global warming regime’s development as a regional actor, partner, nor leader.


Since China is expected to be surpassing the United States in a few short years as Green House Gas Producer #1 on the planet, China has a particular global burden to carry—not just as leader of developing states—but on behalf of the entire planet. In short, whether the entire planet comes to meet anti-global warming targets in the next years and decades will likely be the result of how major Asian state actors, like China, India, Russia, and Indonesia evolve to become stronger (or weak) members of the Climate Control regime.

The Pacific coastal emphasis of China’s phenomenal current development projects, i.e. over the last three decades, has created a situation whereby Chinese coastal region is filled with megacities. Such coastal megacities are in line to be extremely adversely affected by both rising sea levels and climate changes.
Moreover, as many of China’s rural non-coastal regions are still vastly underdeveloped, the stream of 100s of millions of Chinese moving to the mega-cities is simply going to increase for the next decade. Therefore, coastal flooding and climate changes leading to typhoons and other major storm will thus effectively soak both the poorest and richest in China.

On the one hand, this pressure from Mother Earth’s changing climatic forces should lead to more-and-more concern by Chinese elite and their bureaucrats for the plight of the Chinese people, i.e. as the planet is expected to warm by 1 ½ to 2 degrees by 2050 (and more thereafter if global greenhouse gases are not soon capped and reduced annually across the planet). On the other hand, the poorer desert regions of China could become even more adversely affected by the oncoming climate changes—leading to greater desertification and loss of habit in many rural and former agricultural areas. This, in turn, might hence lead to even more increase migration to the Eastern Coast of the Communist-controlled state.

In short, even thought the Chinese government has not fully responded to nor reacted to the increasing threats of climate change, it is not likely that the Chinese leadership will be able to ignore the threat to stability for much longer. Similarly, the climate changes affecting China will likely cause China and in neighboring regions to face conflicts due to the increased intra-state migrations caused by climate an topographical change.

Already, China has increasingly begun importing grains and other food stuffs. This affects productions in neighboring states. Meanwhile, changes in climate will certainly lead to agricultural shortfalls in China—at least until the agricultural producers comprehend which crop varieties will soon need to be planted as the climate changes and China’s pent-up demand for further development in food production are transformed to meet the regions’ evolving physically transforming geography.


Likewise, India, with its historical dependence on annual monsoon seasons for its agricultural production is another Asian coastal country threatened by an increase in climate change. Flooding and loss of coastal agriculture and tourism industries due to sea level rise is another worrisome reality for India as the planet face the hottest century since man began keeping track.

Great wealth along the coast, like in Mumbai and Calcutta or Trivandrum, will simply go lost if the sea rises. However, in all likelihood, it will be India’s poorest who will be hurt most by global climate warming and change. This is because India’s agricultural sector is still heavily dependent on family farming and on extended family help from sometimes-landless-peasants on the farms.

The deserts in India also are likely to grow with increasing regional warmth, and flooding may destroy parts of the millennium-old ways of life disappear with glaciers in the Himalayas. That is, erosion and further aridification of mountainous areas seem to be very likely in coming years.

In neighboring Bangladesh and Pakistan, similar climate stress is also predictable. With a great amount of Bangladesh’s coast at sea level, there will be great pressures for further emigration to India and to neighboring states. This will cause intergovernmental and possible small wars for the Bangladeshi government. That is, increasing emigration is certain to cause problems with all regional states in South and Southeast Asia in the near future due to climate warming and potential sea rise.

Both Sri Lanka and Myanmar also suffer from bad developmental practice and civil war. The increasing environmental threats seem not to be on the top of the governments worries. However, like a tsunami, rising temperatures and rising seawater will effect these lands, too.


Both Brazil and Indonesia play dual roles concerning the solutions and problems related to greenhouse gases and actions to reduce global warming. On the one hand, both countries provide a large number of so-called “climate sinks”, which are their tropical rain forests which can and do take-in greenhouse gases, such as Co2. However, these forests are also where some of the poorest peoples on the planet live and survive.

The need for more equitable development in the rain forest regions is extremely important for the whole planet at this junction. International assistance and investment is likely to continue to come from OECD lands, but monitoring on the ground of both development and protection of these forests is a national responsibility, which both countries need still need to improve on so as to secure a more future sense of national and regional stability. Otherwise, topsoil will disappear and lands will become deforested. Finally, migration will be heavier.
Moreover, deforestation would further hurt development potential in both countries, in terms of tourism and diversified agriculture. Erosion in both countries has already been bad for the past several decades but could get worse through further underdevelopment and deforestation.

Worse still, both Indonesia and Brazil are geographically lands with heavy overdevelopment on their coastlines. This means that sea rises will affect the most industrialized parts of these countries--as well as tourism and the wealthiest investment or productive neighborhoods. Moreover, in terms of storms and cyclones, climate changes will hurt the urban dwellers greatly—potentially stopping or severely stunting urban growth as the Katarina Hurricane did to the Caribbean underbelly of the USA over these past 5 years.

Brazil already has trouble expanding its agricultural production due to its current population growth—as well as the loss of good arable land due to storms, desertification , and erosion. In short, further damage from global climate warming is not something that any Brazilian government can afford (in terms of making the country more sustainable for either its own investors or for any other long term improvement for its poorer populace).

Indonesia lacks “living space” for many of its urban dwellers already. Growth in population will likely force future peoples on the archipelago to move to formerly underdeveloped regions. However, as Indonesia is made up of many islands, land will likely be disappearing into the sea as the sea rises in coming decades if global warming is not stabilized soon.

On the other hand, in contrast to the United States of America, the Brazilian government has always shown a strong interest in the environmental- and developmental issues related to global warming. In this context, Brazil has set an example for China, India, and Indonesia. The saving of the Amazon Rainforest and fighting global warming has been part of the national government’s policy for over a decade. This has likely reduced the overall threat to the rainforest system of the Amazons to some degree. Alas, this has not been the case at the local and state level in (federal) Brazil. Enforcement has often been lax across much of the federation—as has been the case for enforcement of laws on the books to protect the environment in Indonesia.


One important thing that OECD nations have to offer all of these developing Anchor states, including South Africa, is in the area of partnerships for technology transfers concerning further developments in efficiency, alternative energy production, and in environmental protection. This concept of major technological transfer partnerships was part- and parcel of the Kyoto Protocol from the beginning.

In summary, Kyoto’s man offer to non-signatory states starting in 1998 has been (1) its offer to help increased the number of climate sinks on the planet and (2) its intent to increase the transfer of anti-global-warming technologies. In other words, from the beginning, the Annex 1 signatories of Kyoto were interested in recruiting as soon as possible all corners of the globe to become more fully involved in the fight against global warming through all kinds of incentives and transfers.

Now-a-decade later, China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico are all very anxious to have more technology and technical know-how related to conservation of energy and for replacing green house gas causing technologies through development and use of cleaner models of production, transportation, etc.
The catch is that these developing lands do not want to stop developing and modernizing at the highest optimal rate over the next decades.

This does not mean that these large “anchor states”, like China and India, want a free lunch, but that they want to be part of a global warming regime if they can both enjoy the goods of development while at the same time implementing the various global (and regional) anti-global warming targets on energy- and gas emission over the coming years and decades.

In short, they are looking for partnerships, which is something that developed nations should be able to offer them—even at this very moment in history, i.e. before even newer anti-global warming technologies are invented.


In short, both the USA and Australia are likely to fully join the Climate Control regime in the next years—POSSIBLY without signing the Kyoto Treaty or its successor TREATY. This is because the peoples have been educated and the project is clear to intragovernmental actors and scientists. The anchor states will join, too, in this project if the OECD states work hard (and quickly) to create partnerships with these large developing lands.

A model already exists. Just today a huge European consortium (supported by EU governments) and North African regimes have signed an agreement to produce in North Africa solar energy for Europe in decades in the future. This DESERTEC project will cost at least 400 billion dollars, but the project is historic and doable. The European project is described thus. “The Desertec plan requires a new grid of high-voltage transmission lines from the Maghreb desert to Europe. No new technology needs to be developed, according to Hans Müller-Steinhagen, who works at the German Aerospace Center and has researched the feasibility of Desertec for Germany's Environment Ministry. The idea has existed for years, but the high cost of building the infrastructure has kept investors away.”

More than that particular project is historic here. The precedent for such a technological transfer and partnership is one that various regional anchor states, like China and India are willing to work with each other, OECD lands, and neighboring states on right away.

Similarly, the USA and Mexico could work together on such vast projects. Why can’t Australia and Indonesia take on a similar partnership? What about eventually South Africa, Namibia and all their neighbors? Surely they can get involved.


Cognitive and Epistemic regime theorists believe that power-plays and putting-oneself-first are not always the best way for cooperation to take place internationally, in order to solve multinational problems. They also feel that short-term costs of the free market do not always provide the best incentives (if there are no common beliefs, norms, and common education concerning the facts). This is why education and educational transfers are important among key governmental and civic actors. We have seen these educational, research, and civic actors making the world well aware of the effects of global warming over the past 12 years or more.

Now, by 2009, the facts about our warming planet are becoming more well-known and more commonly understood than every before. Not only intra-governmental panels, like the IPCC (Inter Panel on Climate Change) have been actively educating government officials and congressmen, but the internet has been spawning a global understanding among individuals, groups, news media, and nation states. These stakeholders in great unison in America and elsewhere now all finally give-a-damn about global warming and what-its-effects-on-us will be.

[The Bush-Cheney regime had tried to fudge for nearly a decade the facts, but Americans as a whole have been very concerned despite the misinformation fed to them.] Likewise, China, India and other anchor states cannot ignore the data and information accessable on the internet and in their daily papers. Even the most rural peoples have noted that something is up with their climate.

Being educated about the problem is the first step. Now the world has the potential for decades of common action on this issue if global partnerships are formed by OECD lands with developing countries to get alternative energy on the table for them (and if technological transfers take place which reduce overall greenhouse gas production).

Let’s get on with it—Planet Earth--start acting in partnership on this anti-global warming project now!!


Bauer, Steffan & Richerzhagen, Carmen (2007), “NACHOLENDE ENTWICKLUNG UND KLIMAWANDEL”, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 47/2007, pp. 20-26.

Stoda, Kevin (1998), Hybrid Regime Theory, http://www.geocities.com/eslkevin/kyoto.html



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