Online Journal of Peace and
Conflict Resolution 1.4
A Genealogy of Climate Change:
Deterritorializing Space, Respatializing International Community
Nayef H. Samhat
The question of community in international relations is one not often considered. The presence at this particular historical juncture of the sovereign state system has effectively defined a legitimate political community with reference to territorial borderlines. Political philosophy, democratic theory, nationality and economy all operate to demarcate in the field of international relations the state as the primary mode of community. Yet, the proliferation of literature in the discipline and other related fields such as anthropology, history, and sociology, for example, are calling into question the historical patterns of the modern state system. Economic and cultural globalization are said to be redefining notions of identity, blurring the distinctions so well set into place by over three hundred years of sovereignty. In contrast to the past, the present time may be witnessing subtle transformations in the organization of world politics. These transformations are the consequence of alternative identity patterns or, perhaps, the fluidity of identity patterns among individuals, the application of technology to more and more aspects of our daily lives, to the expansion and accessibility of knowledge, and, finally (though certainly not the last) the increased capacities of various actors to respond to all of the prior changes.
In this paper I shall explore the effect of these new conditions of world politics, what James Rosenau refers to as 'turbulence'(1), in an attempt to discern emergent forms of political community arising from the reasons that are offered by actors for an international regime in climate change.(2) Elsewhere I have described political community in international relations with reference to three principle characteristics: a commitment to universally agreed upon ethical principles, the activation of non-state actors, and universal membership.(3) Here I want to reflect on the idea of political community by emphasizing the foundation on which the three criteria above can be framed. The argument is that community emerges from those spaces of social activity that foster universally shared ethical principles, that legitimate the role of non-governmental actors, and that provide for universal inclusion. Unlike modes of community generated by proximity and identity - neighborhoods, towns, particular ethnic or racial groups within these localities, or even, on a larger scale, the historical sense of national community - international political community is derived from what John G. Ruggie calls 'nonterritorial functional space,'(4) those domains of functional activity that exist above and across territorial borderlines. Thus, political space is effectively deterritorialized as the three elements of community noted above acquire greater salience in a given issue. In the first section of this paper I will discuss briefly the notion of the three criteria that constitute political community in international theory. I then examine in a genealogical form the case of climate change in international politics in order to first, identify a new nonterritorial functional space and, second, to describe emergent forms of political community that transcend the traditional territorial state. The key moment for this essay is the decision to institutionalize this space with the United Nations Framework Convention signed in 1992 (UNFCCC). This agreement is notable not for the obligations imposed, but for the very decision to collectively recognize climate change as a significant international problem. This act reflected a commitment to the moral and ethical principles embodied in the new regime, rather than a resolution of pure distributional questions of equity and justice - questions which have since been the focus of negotiations in Berlin and more recently, Kyoto, Japan. Finally, I discuss some implications of this argument for recognizing changes in our practice and understanding of international relations.
A Concept of Political Community
The idea of political community is derived from a specific institutional form - the international regime. Prior to this form, those elements that constitute community: ethical principles, the activation of non-state actors and universal inclusion, are relatively disordered and may lack the credible recognition of all actors in world politics. For instance, prior to any formal agreement, the universality and applicability of notions of human rights are vague, the ability of nonstate actors to monitor and expose violations is often limited and viewed as lacking legitimacy, and the subjects of such norms are unclear, perhaps as a result of the ambiguity regarding the universality of the principles under consideration.(5) Environmental regimes confront similar dilemmas. To what degree, for instance, do actors regard global warming or biodoversity as a universal moral challenge, especially when other issues such as economic development are seen as priorities? What role should NGOs play in the promotion and implementation of environmental and developmental principles? Or, perhaps a better question: why is it that their efforts are seen by many as legitimate?(6) The conclusion of a regime, however, institutionalizes principles, enhances NGO capacities, and specifies the inclusiveness of those principles in a manner that transcends the cultural, historical and ethnic loyalties which characterize the global polity. In a real sense the regime takes a political space, an area of shared understandings that structure or open up intellectual and perceptual avenues for action and consciousness, and forges common purpose from immense difference.
The idea of political community is therefore intrinsically bound with a collective sense of morality among its members. This standard is difficult to attain in a world of diverse cultures and historical experiences, accentuated by the presence of borderlines that reinforce rather than bridge otherness. In essence, before political community can be realized, it is necessary for there to be a dialogue among the potential constituents of this community. Here, then, the concept of political space, as an arena of politics that precedes the community per se is significant. It is within this space that discourse occurs, that actors engage in necessary substantive debate on the meaning and relevance of things. Where, in other words, perceptions can be reconciled in order to establish intersubjective meanings that foster common purpose.
This process is undertaken by a diverse set of actors - state and non-state, local and global, representing an array of viewpoints across boundary lines, organized by functional interests or national interest. These actors may operate across borderlines -the largest and most well known of transnational NGOs such as Amnesty International or Greenpeace; or they may operate at the local level assisting and representing micro communities in the political arena. As the dialogue within this political space expands, so to does the legitimacy and relevance of these actors, a network of NGOs that are increasingly recognized as global civil society. The existence of this civil society, its empowerment within specific issue areas and expansion of activities is integral to the articulation and dissemination of moral principles that transform mere political space into something infused with identity and organized into an institutional form - the political community.
It is the acceptance of ethical principles on which to ground arguments for action and the interconnectedness of peoples across boundary lines and economic and political circumstance that expands the membership of this emergent community. The political space within which dialogue and activism occur is not, at its inception, universally inclusive. Rather, this space is an arena of sorts within which claims are recognized and consensus created. While the expression of universalism - both in the application of principles and the sense of membership within a community - is one component of the debate, no formal institutional mechanism exists to accord such inclusiveness. But in arriving at a consensus on moral and ethical principles, the notion of inclusiveness becomes implicit within the discourse and, subsequently, recognized in a formal institution. So, for example, the very meaning of any agreement to protect human rights, whether they are construed as political and civil, economic and social or cultural, is intended to apply to all individuals and not those residing in a specific group of countries. Similarly, agreements to limit weapons of mass destruction are designed to promote peace and security for humankind, even if, as in the case of the Cold War, the primary participants in strategic arms negotiations were the superpowers. And finally, of course, environmental regimes have as their goal the betterment of the planet for present and future generations. Protecting and managing the sea, the ozone layer or regulating emissions in order to minimize the impact of global warming are regimes characterized by nonexcludability and thus, by their very nature, are inclusive.
International political community, then, is the consequence of dynamic interaction of the three characteristics above in issues that are, finally, enhancing of human security. Andrew Linklater notes, for example, that political community is characterized by their emancipatory intent.(7) The forces that converge in a community seek to remove constraints imposed by prevailing relations of political and economic power on the capacity of human beings to realize security - not only from threats of violence, but also those deriving from ecological, cultural, and economic forces as well. This realization and, perhaps as important, the process by which it is attained, is a manifestation of an alternative identity to that provided by the state. Yet as Chris Brown notes, arguments that demand the complete shedding of particularistic forms of identity as a means to community require an 'implausibly high level of loyalty, overriding all other obligations.'(8) That is certainly not the argument here but it is one that deserves consideration.
The politics of identity have been muted in international relations theory because of the existence of the territorial state as the preeminent form of political unit (and community). The practice of sovereignty facilitated the hegemony of political realism, while other historical practices of statecraft confirmed theory. While much has been made of the end of the Cold War as providing the opportunity for new theoretical avenues of research, the edifice of realism was coming under broad based challenge by the middle of the 1960s. Theories of interdependence helped to account for the inability of realism to explain the persistence of cooperation despite the decline of American hegemony. Nonetheless, the accounts did not countenance the idea that identities might experience a fundamental shift, only that states are finding themselves increasingly enmeshed in networks of relations that were transcendent on two dimensions - in the form of actors and in the nature of the issue area.
In the first instance, Robert Keohane and Jospeh Nye's edited Transnationalism and World Politics(9) offered a new paradigm that sought to account for and explain the proliferation of nonstate actors in world politics who operated in parallel with state actors. Since that time, much has been written about networks of interdependence and the variety of actors participating in the shaping of the global agenda: human rights and environmental activists, scientists and other professional groups, as well as the more amorphous activities of broad based social movements and the array of locally operating networks that effectively connect micro and macro level political and social phenomena.(10) The pluralization of world politics has thus given rise to notions of the world polity in 'turbulence' or the efficacy of 'civil society' networks that make the dual concepts of political space and the subsequent development of political community, possible.
Of course, as I have noted above, political community does not merely exist, but is derived from commitments to particular ethical principles. And here the rise to the top of the international agenda of issue areas that were once considered 'low-politics' has facilitated the expansion of relevant actors. Keohane and Nye argued both in their early edited work and in the later volume, Power and Interdependence(11) that issue hierarchies were changing as too were the relevant actors. The significance of this shift is that we are able to better to incorporate into mainstream international theory the kinds of normative issues that, Steve Smith has argued, have long been marginalised but are central to communitarian - cosmopolitan debates in the field.(12) The environment and human rights in particular, but also issues of economic equity and sustainable development have acquired a prominence in global forums that were unthinkable thirty years ago. With this shift in concerns the expanding role of NGOs and IGOs has laid the foundation for fundamental transformations in global politics.(13)
Perhaps the most significant change has come in the form of questioning the durability of the sovereign state. This questioning is not about whether sovereignty as we have known it will disappear, but rather the possibility of its reconfiguration in terms of the authority traditionally accorded to the state over its territory and, more importantly, the absolute and undivided loyalties it has commanded from citizens. In this sense, issues of identity are central to international theory in an era characterized by complexity, rapidity, intensifying interdependence and pluralization. On the one hand, identity politics have been captured in analyses of ethnic and religious nationalism which seek to remap the sovereign state system not in a manner that transcends borderlines, but for the purposes of redrawing those lines to promote exclusiveness.(14) There is little in this movement that is emancipatory or fulfills the criteria of political community as formulated here. On the other hand, however, identity and international relations are at the center of a growing body of literature that seeks to uncover profound changes in world politics which are transformative in nature. For example, Alexander Wendt has led a now considerable movement in the direction of constructivism, arguing that anarchy, while a fundamental feature of international politics, does not necessitate conflict.(15) Building on this foundation, he explored the possibility of an 'international state' wherein state authority derives as much from the rules and norms consented to at the international level as it does from the practices of sovereignty itself.(16) At a different level, the significance of global civil society as described by Ronnie Lipschutz, for example, is precisely that actors in 'physically separated locations' are forging bonds on the basis of shared or collective meanings and sentiments on specific issues.(17) That is not to say that citizen bonds anchored in the nation are disregarded, but it is to suggest that individual identities are plural and coexistent in nature.(18) Thus, while demanding of political communities a standard of identity and loyalty equivalent with that of the nation or state may be unreasonable, it is not unreasonable to expect or assert that parallel identities are sufficient to foster ties across boundary lines that require our recognition of their durability and efficacy.
Propelling these changes are variables such as learning and knowledge, enhanced competencies at micro levels, improved NGO organization and mobilization capacities, all of which have worked to establish issue priorities that may not always be those of traditional state actors and which have coupled and cohered diverse groups according to their shared interests. The spatial boundaries of this activity is of necessity different from that of the state itself. It is this difference that is, I argue, a deterritorialization of the space of the state and the respatialization of community. The political space exists as a consequence of the shared and collective understandings that have opened up avenues for action and consciousness. The formalization of this space, through an international regime is, in turn, the reflection of an emergent political community.
The understanding of how issues become 'deterritorialized' in terms of the state, but 'respatialized' in terms of community is born out through the application of a critical theoretical approach that permits us to ask what things mean. In particular, I am concerned with understanding how an international political community can emerge from the events, knowledges and discourses that circulate within a given political space. What is the moral authority on which such community might be constructed? To what extent do origins reveal the structure of the present? How does contingency and interpretation shape our changing code of values and beliefs? Two issues thus arise: the nature of a critical method and the role of genealogy in interpreting the present.
In the first instance, critical theoretical approaches are reshaping the study of international relations, compelling a disclosure of questions, forces and processes heretofore closed off by the rationalist impulse of the neo-paradigms.(19) As Robert Cox argued, 'Critical theory stands apart from the prevailing order of the world and asks how that order came about'.(20) This perspective takes nothing for granted, rather its primary concern is the historical processes that give rise to institutions, order, and their transformations, thus alerting us to the many potential alternative orders available to societies. One alternative may very well be forms of political community that transcend the state, constructed on the basis of identities that arise from shared interpretations, what Mark Neufeld refers to as the 'web of meaning.'(21) These meanings inform the social practices that in turn shape social structures. Thus, the approach implies a rejection of the 'immutability thesis', the idea that social structures are natural and unchangeable rather than contingent and renegotiable'.(22) Rather, critical theory is about understanding human consciousness as constitutive of the social world and, therefore, having the capacity to transform that world.(23)
How meanings are created, how institutions constructed and therefore how this world becomes transformed in a certain way are the essential questions posed by genealogy.(24) The point of an inquiry into meaning is, as Nietzche relates, to come to understand how one ideal accumulates such extraordinary power:
this goal is, putting it generally, that all the other interests of human life should, measured by its standard, appear petty and narrow; it explains epochs, nations, men, in reference to this one end; it forbids any other interpretation, any other end; it repudiates, denies, affirms, confirms, only in the sense of its own interpretation (and was there ever a more thoroughly elaborated system of interpretation?); it subjects itself to no power, rather does it believe in its own precedence over every power (25)
Richard Price has used a genealogical method to 'uncover the discursive strategies employed to delegitimize the category of (chemical weapons)'.(26) By contrast, the project here is to attempt to uncover the discursive strategies that legitimized a climate change convention. The topic of global warming has acquired the character of a 'given' in world political discourse, and therefore the international institutional framework that is emerging to govern this issue area - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the more recently signed Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC - has the potential to enmesh states in a network of constraints that appear to have little history. The question, then, posed by a genealogy is 'why' this has idea come about? The question is not insignificant for the beginnings of a 'thing' - the interpretations, the places in history, the ways in which it has 'become' - reveals the rather contingent nature of the world and, in so doing, the intricate pathways to its transformation. The moments of the present, in other words, 'serve as starting points for other histories and our present sense of identity '(27) Thus, a deployment of genealogy is to fully know the present, to, as Jens Bartelson explains with reference to sovereignty, ' put everything evident at present in historical motion'(28)
In this sense, the genealogical method and the idea of political community are inextricably connected. If, as the argument here asserts, the formation of a climate change regime in 1992 is reflective of an emergent international political community, then, indeed, its presence is transformative in the world polity. The identities, the morals, the participants are - at first glance, unconnected to deeper historical patterns of knowledge and discourse. But in fact, this transformation does not simply 'happen'. It happens precisely because of these patterns that have reconfigured identities, creating an alternative political space to that offered by the territorial state. A method that looks back discloses the great temporal and conceptual distance between the origins and the potentialities. To know, or at the very least, to have the capacity to recognize these potentialities, entails the unmasking of those threads of meanings, symbols, words and deeds, that run through a disordered and seemingly disconnected past. They are said to begin in one place when they actually find their origins in another. They are, too, said to end in one place, when in essence, the history set into motion by a genealogy argues to the contrary: the moment if known may be transformative.
A Genealogy of Climate Change
Most interpretations of climate change have their origins in the 1980s when global environmentalism reemerged after a decade long pause. The rise to prominence of green politics in Western Europe and nuclear accidents such as Three Mile Island in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Chernobyl in the Soviet Union, drew attention to the fragile nature of our existence on the planet. These events, in conjunction with improved satellite imaging technology and the expanding networks of scientific investigation which highlighted new global concerns such as ozone depletion and deforestation, all fit in quite well with the core environmental crises, global warming and biodiversity. The prioritization of these two issues was apparent at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development with the signing of two framework conventions that have since guided their management at the international level.
Seen in this regard, climate change is a relatively recent phenomenon and the moral authority it carries is intimately bound to issues such as sustainable development and the new paradigm of global change. But to trace back its origins to a different time with limited scientific capabilities and, importantly, the absence of the kinds of global civil society networks that have since transformed international politics, one can identify an alternative moral essence to the desire to manage the climate. In so doing, we discern as well the evolution of the three components of political community - ethical universalism, the activation of non-state actors in world politics, and inclusionary membership - in an intensely symbiotic manner. Over time, the nature of the space within which the climate change issue develops evolves from merely a political arena to something akin to an embryonic international political community institutionalized in an international regime.
The place where the origins of the politics of climate change are to be found is in the discourse of weather modification. The science and politics of modification was the result of rapidly growing awareness of the significance of weather to human affairs. Technological developments during World War Two, including rockets, radar, high-performance aircraft and the promise of computers held out great potential for atmospheric research and improved weather forecasting.(29) In contrast to later years, the early efforts were characterized by particularity in science - national activity whose moral and ethical justifications were anchored in national security arguments.
This linkage was evident in an early report by the Advisory Committee on Weather Control issued in 1958. With endorsements from such prestigious names as Vannevar Bush, Henry Houghton (who would later be a leader of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research), both of MIT, and Edward Teller of the University of California, the report brought together socio-economic and security justifications to the attention of Congress, urging that 'encouragement be given for the widest possible competent research in meteorology and related fields.'(30) Houghton, for example, told the House Sub-Committee on Health and Science that:
I shudder to think of the consequences of a prior Russian discovery of a feasible method of weather control... International control of weather modification will be as essential to the safety of the world as control of nuclear technology is now. Unless we remain ahead of or abreast of Russia in meteorological research, the prospects for international agreements on weather control will be poor indeed. An unfavorable modification of our climate in guise of a peaceful effort to improve Russia's climate could seriously weaken our economy and ability to resist.(31)
Teller raised similar concerns as well, arguing that unless something is done to match Russia's scientific effort the United States would become 'a second class power without a war.' The claims were sweeping, sufficiently so to instill considerable concern in decision makers. As Teller explains:
The Russians can conquer us without fighting through a growing scientific and technological preponderance. The Russians may advance so fast in science and leave us so behind that their way of doing things will be 'the way,' and there will be nothing we can do about it.(32)
Howard Orville raised the specter of the Soviets having the capacity to design a system whereby the Arctic Ocean could be turned into a warm water lake. This proposal, by Arkady Markin, a Russian engineer, would raise the temperatures of New York, London, and Berlin by 11 to 14 degrees and flood seacoast towns, but also it could provide Russia with the warm water ports and the climate of the South Atlantic United States.
These appeals to national security justified the long term commitment recommended by the ACWC as equally a moral commitment. Yet, as scientists were acknowledging, claims for success in weather modification were constrained by a lack of knowledge. For example, Chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau, Francis Reichelderfer, argued that research on cloud seeding was inconclusive because of the lack of basic knowledge, and 'that many of the unsubstantiated claims which have led people to think these problems already solved, stem from this lack of knowledge.'(33) According to the Weather Bureau the ability to ascertain the effect of human intervention and to calculate statistical probabilities was (and is) dependent on a knowledge of the atmospheric forces that shape weather. Hence, research on weather modification necessarily entailed an understanding of general atmospheric processes, including radiation budgets, global atmospheric circulation, the genesis and movement of large-scale storms, dynamics of cloud motions, etc. The ACWC assessed the current state of knowledge of these atmospheric processes as meager, but it was this basic science that was essential for the technology of weather control.
The convergence of an ethical basis for weather modification research and the framing of the requirements of this project by scientists themselves encouraged the creation of specialized programs in both the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Science. These programs were intended to assess the state of the field and to examine the larger knowledge requirements necessary to achieve operational success in modification activities.(34) At this point, phrase 'climate' is absent from much of the political discourse - which is not to suggest that it did not matter to the science and politics of weather modification. Rather, the contention here is that indeed climate change was present in the very call to expand the study of weather modification to incorporate basic research into the atmospheric sciences and, more importantly, the notion that this research must be interdisciplinary. Second, the urgency for expanding weather modification research was couched in terms of national security for fear that the Soviet Union, whose commitment to weather modification began earlier and was much more extensive, would surpass American capabilities in the field. This was not merely a matter of controlling rainfall, for instance, it was, as Edward Teller argued, an issue of a way of life. In that sense, the idea of weather modification and atmospheric research in general could only be construed, given the environment of the Cold War, as particularistic and competitive, hence, exclusionary in nature and conducted primarily under the guise of state administered science networks.
In these early stages climatology, from which the study of climate change was a sub-field, was viewed a descriptive science addressing itself to macro-scale meteorological phenomena. This was due to a lack of standardization of measurement and observation, inconsistent conceptualization of terminology and technological limitations, issues largely ignored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) until the late 1950s.(35) Only with the gradual accumulation of systematic data on climate and the development of technology could the discipline change from qualitative to quantitative in nature. Thus, the idea of climatic change could not constitute an autonomous issue in political discourse, rather it was necessarily subsumed under the rubric of 'modification and control' in the larger weather modification debate.
An important constraint in both political discourse and scientific institution building revolved around the issue of predictability. The idea of control implied that one knew what to do and when to do it, with the expectation that it could be done on a macro-scale; on the other hand, it was micro-scale climates that had the potential of being modified.(36) But without an emphasis on predictability, no clear determination of actual modification could be made in any case.(37) This dilemma had two consequences. One, it called for the development of mathematical models based on physical realities that would allow climatologists to construct extended causal models for the prediction of climatic trends; and a necessarily second consequence was the need to develop transnational observational and data collection networks.
Beyond the United States, the growing realization of the importance of weather to human affairs and the development of new technology generated interest among states in meteorology. The expansion of commercial aviation created new demands for meteorological information and weather forecasting, and this in turn created a need for revision in weather codes and the standardization of transmission of weather data. In addition, weather modification programs existed in many states: Australia, Japan, France, Israel, and the most extensive program was in the Soviet Union. The NAS estimated that the Soviets had about 70,000 persons employed in meteorological research, a level which corresponded to an annual budget of $700 million to $800 million annually. Exclusive of satellite operations the NAS calculated that as much as $25 million annually was being spent by the Soviets on weather modification, a commitment to the science that surpassed the United States by two to three times.(38) These programs were, too, characterized by challenges similar to those facing the United States, especially, for example, the particularism in the structure of research and application, a consequence largely attributable to the role weather modification might have in enhancing security.
The publication in the United States of an NAS study, Scientific Problems of Weather Modification highlighted an emerging division between operational and theoretically oriented meteorologists.(39) The latter group were unenthusiastic about large-scale engineering programs particularly in the absence of a comprehensive understanding of the atmosphere. They argued that the connection between weather modification and climate was premised on a need to couple prediction to modification in order to 1) accurately assess the results of an operational experiment, and 2) to identify where precisely in any atmospheric process, the best point of intervention is likely to be to attain a measurable degree of success. Predicting the effects of modification, these scientists argued, required an understanding of 'both the general circulation and the interaction of the general circulation with the phenomenon of interest.'(40) While the conclusions undermined the promise of weather modification, at the same time they focused attention on the larger issue of climate. The general circulation and variation in radiation budgets are the central components of climate, and by making success in weather modification dependent on expanding climate research, the panel was effectively shifting the locus of popularized atmospheric research away from modification and control.
Though the discourse of climate is absent from science and politics, the technoscientific network that ultimately facilitates its emergence begins to take shape - thus reconfiguring the boundaries of political space. The construction of programs such as the World Weather Watch (WWW) for observational data, and the Global Atmospheric Research Program, designed to further basic knowledge of atmospheric processes, under the leadership of the World Meteorological Organization and the International Council of Scientific Unions, in effect, broadened the comprehensive study of the atmosphere - in operational and theoretical terms - beyond the territory of any particular state. These international institutional developments are a consequence of scientists themselves who are describing both the boundaries of extant knowledge and the requirements for greater understanding. Though the primary goal remained the realization of success in weather modification, the expanding base of scientific activity lays the foundation for the emergence of environmental consciousness which, in its turn, facilitates the formation and diffusion of the broad based social movements of the period. For the moment moral and ethical issues are unconnected to weather modification beyond the expectation of enhanced security - broadly defined to address the threat from the Soviet Union and to enhance economic well-being. But this notion of security which informs the purposes of atmospheric research is increasingly at odds with the growing recognition of the limits of the territorial state to resolve the scientific questions posed by weather modification.
This linkage between climate and weather modification acquired salience as the latter half of the 1960s evinced a movement towards holism in scientific and ideological - environmentalist - terms. This shift was a turning point in the conceptual and discursive relationship of the two fields, with the assertion of climate over weather modification as a dominant interest in politics and science. The holistic approach induced by weather modification regarded research into modification technologies as one aspect of a larger scientific phenomenon. Gordon MacDonald argued before the Senate in 1966 that:
In weather modification we see illustrated really the main characteristic of modern science. It is not so much the expanded scale of discovery or application, but it's rather than that the interpenetration of science into all aspects of human endeavor and in weather modification these are, of course, greatly amplified...weather modification forms part of what we would call the sciences and technology of the atmosphere. In turn, this forms part of the science and technology of the environment as a whole - oceans, and solid earth.(41)
This forging of discursive and conceptual bonds between weather modification, climate and, ultimately the human environment, signaled a fundamental modification in the ethical justifications for continued research support on the one hand, and, on the other, in the spatial scale of the scientific and political challenge. As Thomas Jones, Director of the Environmental Sciences Division of the NSF, argued: the basic research being discussed in the context of weather modification should be directed toward the changing nature of 'man's interaction with his environment... which will constitute the central scientific problem for the next generation or two.'(42)
As the 1960s drew to a close, the WMO, UNESCO, and the UN were responding to the politics of the environment. In the former case, a newly established program on the 'Interaction Between Man and His Environment' placed the weather organization in the midst of an expanding debate on the structure of global environmental governance. The WMO's Commission for Climatology recognized the potential role for climate study when it re-established a Working Group on Climatic Fluctuations to examine the influence of natural and human activities on climatic changes.(43) UNESCO was also moving forward in its institutional expansion by planning for a new, anthropocentric study of the environment, 'Man and the Biosphere', as the successor to its 'International Biological Program'. Finally, the UN General Assembly decided to convene a major international conference in 1972 on the 'Human Environment.' All three organizations and their programs served as a core around which global science began to rapidly expand its network of observation, study and understanding, providing the kind of knowledge that would enhance the credibility of a parallel network of non-governmental organizations.
This latter group of actors were an essential part of the 'New Environmentalism', an activist social movement that sought a direct political impact, primarily in the United States. As McCormick argues, this movement was part of a larger phenomenon in Western society, enmeshed with other social and counter-cultural patterns.(44) The importance of the new environmentalism and its ideology is in the way it influenced how society regarded its relationship with the biosphere. No longer could the idea of holism remain within the science community or within a narrow set of interest groups. Rather, the capacity of social movements to generate an image of humanity existing in the context of finite limits(45) was a vital element of the ecological transformation of the 1970s.(46) It was not a protectionist movement aimed at wildlife and habitat, rather it was a movement that defined as its principle goal the survival of humanity itself. Such a goal entailed a 'broader conceptualization of humanity in the biosphere, a more sophisticated understanding of that relationship, and a note of crisis that was greater and broader than it had been in the earlier conservation movement...man was rediscovered as a part of nature.'(47) The movement and its vision popularized in political discourse the kinds of interconnections that scientists had been making with reference to climate and weather. Thus issues such as weather modification could be articulated as part of more complex natural phenomenon instead of being regarded as discrete fields of study and application.(48) Furthermore, this popularization and attendant social transformation dramatically altered both the ethical basis for scientific research into climate and, in fact, the breadth of humanity to be incorporated into this endeavor.
From this point in time onwards, the study of atmospheric processes concentrated on environmental issues such as the impact of human activities on air pollution and, logically, the resulting potential for worldwide climatic changes. This shift beyond weather modification came about however because the context of science and politics was experiencing a profound alteration. The environmentalism of the period was an expression of new fundamental principles on which to manage the global political economy. Though it was not entirely a direct challenge to the paradigm of unfettered economic growth, it did seek to place an important condition on such growth by articulating an alternative moral and ethical framework for human behavior. By asserting that humanity must be cognizant of the planet's finely balanced ecological limits, environmentalism firmly situated a considerable portion of politics and science within this framework.
The international political moment, then, was the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (the Stockholm Conference), held in June 1972. As William Ophuls notes: 'Virtually ignored by diplomats in 1969, the environmental crisis had by 1972 rocketed right up alongside nuclear weapons and economic development as one of the big issues of international politics.'(49) The Conference brought together representatives from 113 countries, 19 intergovernmental organizations and over 400 nongovernmental organizations. Importantly, the attention paid to UNCHE reflected the institutionalization of the new environmentalist discourse. There emerged, according to Barbara Ward '...a fundamental shift in the emphasis of our environmental thinking' that demanded the coupling of humanity and the biosphere.(50) In this context, the understanding of climate and climate change acquired enormous social and economic, hence moral and ethical significance for the entire globe, not simply a single state.(51) Indeed, it was (and is) this essential global nature that would render climate change such an inclusive political phenomenon.
In fact, the role of climate in lesser developed nations was the focus of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's speech at the United Nations in April 1974, He drew attention to 'the possibility of climatic changes in the monsoon belt and perhaps throughout the world' and called on the ICSU and the WMO to offer guidelines for action.(52) Following his appearance, the International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study (IFIAS) organized a 'Workshop on the Impact of Climate Change on the Quality and Character of Human Life'. The conference statement, drawing of the recognition of planetary limits, asserted that
A particular world climatic pattern, generally thought of as normal, has prevailed during the lives of most people now on earth. During this time the population of the world has more than doubled; the resource demands of affluence have increased; the easy arable land has been occupied; and the barriers to migration have increased.
Noting that the 'studies of many scholars of climatic change attest that during the last few years the climatic pattern has been altering...there is no reason to believe that the climate will soon return to the pattern of the recent past.'(53)
The growing consensus among scientists that the climate was a vital issue for human society motivated the WMO to take action on several fronts. Planning began, in accordance with the decisions of the Seventh Congress, to develop an integrated international effort to study climatic changes and their implications. The WMO, well aware of attention being given to climatic change also decided to prepare an authoritative statement on the issue.(54) The attention suddenly focused on climate change exposed the high degree of uncertainty about the nature and timing of such changes. An Expert Panel organized by the WMO drew a distinction between short-term fluctuations and longer term trends, which would be nearly imperceptible. The short-term fluctuations were of consequence to human activities in large measure because they were larger and because they may be more susceptible to man-made influences. The Panel also noted the diverse interests reflected in the issue: climate change was relevant to at least three technical commissions within the WMO, as well the Joint Operating Committee for GARP (JOC/GARP), UNEP, UNESCO, FAO and the ICSU. It was suggested that representation be granted to outside organizations so that they could participate in the climate change debate. Such participation, however, would necessarily occur under the rubric of the WMO, thus placing the organization in the forefront of institution building. This was further underscored when the Executive Committee decided to convene an international conference to review climate change issues.(55) Thus, the institutions, the knowledge, and the networks that were being constructed around climate change reflected a coalescing of nonterritorial political space - wherein the boundaries of the issues and actors are no longer defined by territorial borderlines, nor necessarily by states themselves. Ultimately, as Stephen Schneider, an atmospheric scientist and author of the Genesis Strategy, suggested, climate change issues provided 'sort of a last-ditch symbol to realize the need for global reorganization and management of global problems, of which the climate is one.'(56)
The WMO was certainly prepared to assume the lead in organizing the study of climate. At its Twenty-ninth meeting the WMO Executive Committee began to define the issues around climate in order to establish an organizational framework for research. In response to the suggestion of the Panel of Experts on Climate Change, Resolution 15 of the meeting approved the establishment of a Research and Monitoring Project on Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. The project was to be managed by a workgroup of the CAS with representatives of UNEP and the ICSU, though activities were to be nationally sponsored. The focus on CO2 represented a growing acceptance among most, but by no means all, scientists that it was this atmospheric component that represented the most significant threat to climate. It was linked to the long-term energy requirements of states, particularly given the growing concern over petroleum supplies and alternatives such as coal. In fact, the shift to carbon dioxide as the focus of climatic change - hence, warming - hinged on the attention to energy issues in the United States in particular.
In addition, the Panel advocated a 'major international effort to deal with the climate problem' in a world climate program with the WMO as the lead organization.(57) Such a program required adequate support from other international organizations which, given the response from other IGO's represented at the meeting, appeared likely. In announcing their desire to participate, representatives from SCOR, UNESCO, and UNEP also outlined their own particular agendas. SCOR, for example, noted the link between oceans and climate, while UNESCO - having established its Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) - identified the links between climate and hydrology, cryosphere, oceans and atmosphere, and asserted that it was prepared specifically to identify areas of involvement in a world climate program in its next budget. Finally, UNEP noted its early involvement in climate related issues, including monitoring, and attached special importance to securing a role in understanding the carbon cycle. Together these organizations formed the core around which a climate program could be designed.
With this broad based IGO support, the Executive Committee decided to convene a high level conference - a 'World Climate Conference' - to be cosponsored by UNEP, UNESCO, FAO, and the ICSU and a new World Climate Program (WCP) with four elements:(58)
1. Climate monitoring and climate data services.
2. Natural climatic change and variability.
3. Human impacts on climate.
4. Impact of climatic change and variability on human activities.
The establishment of a World Climate Program in 1979 thus marked an important turning point for the place on climate study in international politics. The initial connections to environmentalism were reflected in the breadth of participation of other IGOs in particular; the moral bases were, too, framed in a growing recognition of a holistic approach to the understanding and care for the planet, and together these elements provided the basis for NGOs activities on a global scale. At this time the character of the climate problem was clearly nonterritorial, hence much of the impetus for its emergence on the international agenda came from IGOs and, to a lesser degree, NGOs as well. Eventually these forces would converge along the lines of what I refer to as political community - the desire, in other words, to formally codify this nonterritorial functional space through an international regime. As Branislav Gosovic notes, climate change as a principal global systems issue 'had become a conceptual and political lever which was forcing an integrated and sustained view of the planet Earth as a system, including the all-important interrelationship between biosphere, geopshere and humankind.'(59)
Creating Political Community within Political Space
As climatology resonated with the environmentalism of the 1970's, so it was once again becoming enmeshed with the interdependence and holism of the new environmentalism and scientific geo-centrism of the 1980's. The decade witnessed the rise of an environmentalism that, like its predecessor movement in the 1970s, was enmeshed with other social concerns. This socio-political milieu served, as well, to give context to science and knowledge, reflecting what Steven Breyman describes as 'remote symbolism' wherein knowledge for social movements assumes a variety of forms: awareness of a problem through mass communication, formulating the science of the problem, recognition of the connections between the problem and the larger world, and finally, knowledge that seeks to reconcile local practices and their consequences with global problems. He concludes that the 'dilemma of remote symbolic discourse is one of producing these separate components of knowledge and weaving them into an effective mobilizing blend.'(60) This challenge, then, is the very essence of the politics of nonterritorial functional space that developed in the period and were reflected in the formation of two foundational concepts, both of which revolved around the climate change issue, both of which facilitated the rise of new forms of political activity, and both of which provided complimentary ethical and moral justifications for addressing the global environmental problematique. The emergence of 'global change' as a planetary research paradigm in both the natural and social sciences, and the articulation of a 'sustainable development' concept fostered the development of green parties, the expansion of scientific networks, and the proliferation of NGO activities that spanned the industrial and developing worlds, linking local and global phenomena, and truly forging a notion of global civil society.
Infusing politics, economics, and social issues with a sense of urgency about human interactions with the planet, this environmentalism played on the same kinds of 'post-materialist values' as it did in the 1970s. The new social movements cohered what were a variety of loose political organizations on the left. By the latter half of the decade, Green parties were electorally competitive in the pan-European elections and, nationally, made an impact in Britain, Belgium, France and West Germany. Clearly, conservatives and the traditional left had to respond in order to generate electoral appeal among a polity whose environmental consciousness was activated by social movement politics, as well as real events such as Chernobyl, acid rain, and images of an ozone 'hole.' In this context - and that is what the environmental movement provided - the all-encompassing discourse of ecological disaster that accompanied warnings of climate change acquired an urgency that compelled political leaders to react, both by identifying the global nature of environmental threats, particularly climatic change, and by actively seeking international agreements to manage them. The discursive power that characterized the climatic change issue and its rise to the top of the global environmental agenda can therefore best be interpreted by situating it in the social milieu of this resurgent environmental activism of the 1980s. The force of the latest environmental movement not only promoted global warming as one of the most daunting of ecological crises confronting humanity, but it did so in such a manner as to attach overwhelming moral and ethical significance to resolving the dilemma and other such environmental challenges. Thus the greening of international politics initiated a new generation of global science and global activism more extensive and intensive than its predecessors.
In the first instance, this greening appeared through the establishment of a global environmental change paradigm. As Martin Price has noted, the all encompassing nature of the climate change issue placed it unavoidably at the heart of the new geocentric paradigm of global change.(61) This conceptual shift was an attempt to develop a 'study of whole systems of interdisciplinary science in an effort to understand changes in the terrestrial environment and its living systems.'(62) The fusion of technoscientific networks, the gradual harmonization - at least in discourse - of the dilemmas of environment and development which drew together a vast NGO network in itself, and the new social movements generated a sense of globality that shaped an extraordinarily expansive agenda. To this end the ICSU's General Committee argued in 1983:
A central intellectual challenge of the next few decades is to deepen and strengthen our understanding of the interactions between the several parts of the geosphere and biosphere. This knowledge base underpins the societal management of our global life support system to enhance biological productivity and to respond to the increasing needs of a growing population.(63)
The declared challenge brought together two different systems: the earth (geo-) and the life (bio-), under one global effort designed to create a more habitable planet. The precise institutional form emerged with the establishment of an 'International Geosphere-Biosphere Program: A Study of Global Change'(IGBP), under the leadership of the ICSU in 1986. The objective was
To describe and understand the interactive physical, chemical, and biological processes that regulate the total Earth system, the unique environment that it provides for life, the changes that are occurring in this system, and the manner in which they are influenced by human actions.(64)
In its scope the IGBP was one of two pillars that anchored this new paradigm of research, understanding and application - the other being the WCP.(65) Thus the timing of this new program was not altogether 'random' but rather was coupled with the emerging consensus on climate change that characterized the 'International Conference on the Assessment of the Role of Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases in Climatic Variations and Associated Impacts,' held in Villach, Austria during October 1985. Improved climatic modeling and greater understanding of the impact of anthropogenic gases on the atmosphere provided grounds for increased scientific confidence in asserting that doubled atmospheric CO2 concentrations were likely to lead to increased global mean temperatures of between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees centigrade.(66)
The IGBP's emphasis on biogeochemical processes came to be viewed as an integral component of the basic understanding of climatic change, just as climatic change was regarded as one of the most fundamental elements of global change. This mutually reinforcing network of science and the environment established a moral and ethical foundation for understanding the entire planet in its complexity, and in that sense it could be said to be inclusionary. Yet, such an emergent worldview was not yet able to accommodate development issues into its consideration. In other words, the conceptual distinctions between the needs of development and those of the environment remained profound. The bridging of this gap would be essential to drawing together not only the breadth of potential NGO activity - to this point in the climate change issue a dominant role was played by scientific organizations, but to expand in a practical manner the notion of inclusion by incorporating the needs of the poor throughout the world into the logic of climate change. By so doing the ethical dimensions of climate change became transformed from solely an ethics of environment to an ethics of sustainable development, recognizing an essential balance between economic growth and the planet's ecology.
The significance, then, of the 1987 report by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) chaired by Gro Harlem Bruntland, is that it provided the rationale for blending two objectives often thought as morally and practically at odds. The idea of sustainable development did not originate with the WCED, but was first expressed by the World Conservation Union in the early 1980s. As Bruce Rich describes, the WCED 'multilaterally canonized' the idea of sustainability in preparation for the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development.(67) And though the WCED report makes reference to climate change, the relationship between it and sustainable development is not necessarily explicit. Instead the connections rely on issues such as deforestation and biodiversity, on the one hand, and the assumption that practices carried out at the micro level, in their totality, are compatible with the dual and interrelated objectives of preserving the planet's ecological balance and addressing climate change.
Three elements are central to the concept: economic growth, sustainability, and participation.(68) In the first instance, poverty is seen as a contributor to environmental degradation and therefore what is required is not to reduce growth per se, but to 'change the quality' of growth.'(69) Second, sustainability entails both the use of resources for long-term consumptive and productive purposes and the notion of social sustainability. As Lélé describes, an emphasis on the 'social' dimension is difficult to capture, though it encompasses structures, institutions and even cultures.(70) In effect, the design of social institutions must be durable and considerate of the larger environmental context in which they are situated. Finally, the focus on participation encompasses the role of local actors in tandem with broad based NGO involvement. The sum of these elements should be expected, it is argued, to promote ecological and economic equity in the development process.
Fundamentally, too, the acceptance of these elements at the international level effectively institutionalized the role of NGOs within the UN system, thereby legitimating their activities at the local level.(71) This was reflected in the growth of NGO assistance from official sources. For example, between 1975 and 1985, the amount of foreign assistance channeled through NGOs increased from $100 million to $1.1 billion, rising to $2.1 billion in 1988.(72) As Paul Wapner argues, this pattern is related to the focus of development theory on small-scale projects and a growing recognition of the importance of NGOs to effect environmental and developmental goals.(73) Furthermore, he concludes,
we are witnessing an upgrading of the status of NGOs concerned with development and environmental issues. Development and environmental work is no longer the sole responsibility of the state. Nonstate actors are proving to be more efficient and knowledgeable than states and thus undertaking significant amounts of development/environmental activity.(74)
The convergence of environment and development in the form of sustainable development broadened the political space of the environment by incorporating non-state actors into the discourse of international politics. As these actors work at both the global and local level, they serve as a vital nexus of inclusion in an expanding global civil society. Matthias Finger, Thomas Princen and Jack P. Manno describe this NGO role on two dimensions: the biophysical/political and the local/global. In the first case, NGOs such as SCAR generate and provide scientific information filling a knowledge gap or verifying relevant knowledge, while politically oriented groups emphasize consciousness raising that seeks to directly mobilize populations. On the second dimension, NGOs work intensely at the local level to encourage sustainable development projects in the South. For example, though NGOs confront daunting challenges in overcoming political, economic and environmental injustice and exclusion, Julie Fisher notes that grassroots activity is beginning to have an impact on local organizing and enhanced roles for economic participation.(75) Other NGOs, such as World Wildlife Fund or Greenpeace, operate at the global level to influence the nature of the international system.(76) These expanding NGO activities on both dimensions developed from an acknowledgement of their effectiveness in achieving desired goals, and, equally important, the moral and ethical value placed on those goals in their own right. Thus, the combination of a new global science paradigm and the emerging influence of NGOs in sustainable development arose in a dramatic fashion during the 1980s, due largely to the growing attention directed to global scale environmental challenges symbolized by climate change.
The international politics of global warming acquired great intensity after the 1985 Villach Conference. Support for an international convention came in the form of follow-up conferences at Villach and Bellagio, Italy, in 1987, both of which reinforced the conclusions of the early Villach meeting and called for 'the examination of the need for an agreement on a law of the atmosphere as a global commons '(77) Such a position, when considered against the early treatment of the atmospheric sciences during the enthusiasm for weather modification, was revealing for the nature of the transformation in international politics. From origins read here in weather modification for particularistic security purposes, the expansion of science, the growth of non-state actors, and the logic of new research paradigms and principles of eco-development, all contributed to the formation of a global political space that contained elements of a new political community. And the actors operating within this community were rapidly coming to terms with the idea that an international instrument to organize this nonterritorial space was necessary.
The Toronto Conference on 'The Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security' held in June 1988 came in the wake of NASA scientist James Hansen's dramatic testimony in the US Senate's Natural Resources Committee on June 23rd. While noting the variability associated weather extremes, he said in a prepared statement that 'global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming.'(78) Suddenly popular attention focused on global warming and the Toronto conference. Over three hundred policy makers, scientists, IGO and NGO representatives reiterated the growing consensus about the importance and urgency of addressing climate change by offering recommendations for action, calling on governments and industry to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 20 percent of 1988 levels by 2005.(79) Following the meeting, conference diplomacy relating to the atmosphere acquired momentum: Hamburg in November 1988, Ottawa in 1989, London in 1989, Noordwijk in 1989, Washington, Cairo, Nairobi and Helsinki in 1990. All of which led up to the Second World Climate Conference in November 1990. The WCC urged the UN General Assembly to establish formal negotiations for a Framework Convention on Climate Change based on the work of the Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change established in 1988 by the WMO and UNEP.
At the end of the decade, then, the global warming issue was well entrenched in a political discourse characterized by ethical and moral rationales on several dimensions. First, the care and preservation of the planet was now acknowledged to be a global concern to be undertaken by all nations. This was reflected in the dense network of science that developed around the WCP, the IGBP, and importantly, the IPCC, which, in itself represented a powerful thread of NGO activity at the international level. Second, such care and concern it was widely acknowledged could be achieved without compromising the right to development, hence, sustainability was intimately linked to this moral quality. Third, the scale of the challenge and its significance for humanity rendered climate change truly a problem of global security; it was part of a corpus of ecological and other nonmilitary issues that were now becoming defined as new security issues.(80) With this definition, the role and function of nonstate actors - always scientists but also the numerous local NGOs who participated in sustainable development activities, as well as the larger global environmental NGOs become important actors in the debate on climate, biodiversity, deforestation, and other environmental issues now seen as part of an integrated and inclusive global phenomenon.
It was in this discursive and symbolic framework that the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. Pressure for an accord on climate change was intense as the United States along with oil producing countries and several developing states resisted West European arguments for substantial and obligatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.(81) As a result of these divisions that found their way into the accord, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been the target of considerable criticism from various quarters: environmentalist, scientists, industrialists. But its significance for the purpose here is not a matter of the binding quality of the commitments. Rather, it is in the recognition of the interrelationships that are constitutive of the idea of political community.
The convention contained new norms and principles of a climate change regime and legitimated a set of values considered universally ethical for their reflection of concern for the planetary environment. They were ethical too for their incorporation of sustainable development into the terms of the new regime - though the details of how to achieve emissions reductions and sustainable practices consistent with the terms of the convention were not addressed. The crucial point to note here is that there are two moral issues arising in the discussion of the formation and implications of a climate change regime. The prior moral and ethical issue is to ask whether or not climate change should be addressed. The second and necessarily subsequent question concerns equity and justice, and asks how climate change should be addressed. Much literature emphasizes this question because its resolution is essential to reconciling the intensely divisive politics of global warming.(82) However, issues of equity and justice assume issues of ethics and morality have been answered in the affirmative and such an assumption implies participants have engaged in a substantive debate over the values and goals attendant to global climate change. In this case, those values and goals are transcendent in nature, encompassing the totality of human and natural phenomena.
Andrew Linklater, drawing on the work of Jurgen Habermas, characterizes this process as 'discourse ethics', in which 'moral codes are malleable social products rather than immutable conventions' to which agents must submit.(83) Hence, the validity of argument and the principles they contain must be established through dialogue among actors whose personal, cultural, or economic preferences may diverge. The above discussion suggests that in the case of climatic change, the sources of moral and ethical action have shifted as a consequence of new knowledge, the deliberation of state and non-state actors, primarily scientists, and the role and influence of social movements. The early debates centered on weather modification science as a security and hence moral response to challenges - real or potential - from the Soviet Union. As the awareness of complexity grew, so too did the desire for expanding knowledge networks grow, typically at the urging of scientists and international organizations. The emergence of environmentalism and social movements of the 1960s fostered a sensitivity to global ecological linkages. To this point, development and environment were compartmentalized; and it was not until the early 1980s that the integration of these two political economic issues provided a powerful foundation for an expansion of science and environmental NGOs. In the form of sustainable development discourse, the ethical and moral tenor of environmentalism acquired new salience - green movements, ozone depletion, global warming, biodiversity and poverty became a unified issue that was articulated in the wider agenda of a global change paradigm.
The direct result of this discursive evolution was that NGO activities had a vital role in promoting the kinds of practices that are compatible with ecological goals on a local level and which, in sum, would contribute to alleviating the larger environmental and climatic changes that were of concern to advocates of global change. Of course the role of NGOs was well established before Rio. However, at the Conference itself over 20,000 participants representing 9,000 organizations from 171 countries attended sessions at the parallel Global Forum.(84) Given the underlying transformations in world politics deriving from environmentalism and climate change, the rise to prominence of these organizations sought not merely implement environmentally sustainable practices, raise consciousness and influence governments, but also to incorporate heretofore excluded segments of the world polity into the debates, agendas and policies of state actors.
Thus another element of political community, inclusion, is attained on two dimensions through the activation or legitimation of these networks in a climate change convention. First, the desire to improve and protect the environment for humanity is by definition universally inclusive. As the character of these issues is global, the consequence of inactivity is similarly global for present and future generations. While any solution must address the distributional consequences, at the same time, any solution is expected to enhance the well-being of individuals irrespective of income, status, ethnicity, or geography. Second, the emphasis in the UNFCCC and other international environmental accords on sustainable development seeks to ensure that the interests of even the heretofore most marginalized are accounted for. The right to development is intended to apply to all; the role of NGOs is to incorporate these segments of society and therefore make explicit not only their due protection from eco-degradation, but in so doing to ensure their access to social and economic development will not be compromised.
Achieving this balance is difficult, to be sure
for any suggestion of universalism either in membership or in principles
confronts challenges from relativist arguments - that either the principles
or policies are intended to address the concerns of the most developed states.
Nor is it correct to assume that local practices and global ends always mesh.
But achieving a reconciliation of the two is the essence of the dialogue
and debate that establishes the moral and ethical criteria for
action.(85) In this context, the evolution
of climate change from obscure origins in weather modification to a central
pillar of global environmentalism and its institutionalization in the UNFCCC,
is indicative of an emergent international political community on the basis
of shared ethical principles, networks of non-state actors, and the aspiration
for universal inclusion.
Some Considerations of International Political Community
The argument of this essay is that an agreement to address climate change reflects the formation of an international political community on the basis of shared ethical and moral principles, the activation of non-state actors, and a commitment to universal inclusion. The story of climate change recounted here reveals how and why this community came about, noting in particular the sources of change in the nature of the political space of climate change. Its shift from an intensely territorialized realm within which weather modification was regarded as a security, hence moral project, to a deterritorialized space - in Ruggie's terms, a nonterritorial functional space - in which new environmental rationales and new networks of non-state actors circulated, represented a fundamental transformation in world politics.
This transformation is a consequence of the institutionalization of principles, actors and the demands for inclusion that are expressed in certain international regimes. In other words, the argument suggests that international regimes may be regarded as means for reconceptualizing international life by virtue of the commitment they imply to overcome practices of exclusion while fostering the conditions for humans to realize enhanced security. The issues where one might identify these kinds of regimes include, for example, the expanding body of global environmental governance, or those conventions, declarations and covenants that express support for human rights broadly defined, or perhaps those international agreements that seek to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. These are issue areas where debate and dialogue have sought to reconcile divergent perspectives that reflect historical and cultural experience, where as a result of this dialogue there has emerged an acknowledgement and acceptance of the role of global civil society networks in identifying issues, encouraging compliance, and linking globalized norms to local practices, and therefore the notion of inclusion is not merely rhetorical, but through the efforts of these NGOs, becomes a reality.
Clearly not all regimes would be suitable for consideration as forms of international political community. Liberal economic regimes, for instance, are a point of contestation over the merits of such core tenants as free trade, and the structural inequalities of the international economy have been the source of division between rich and poor in world politics. But the consideration of the development of regimes as potentially something more than merely artifacts of state power would permit scholars and practitioners of the discipline to build on new normative foundations for the global polity, recognizing and therefore responding to profound changes in the structure, actors and issues of international relations. Traditional international theory simply does not countenance this transformation - the laws of political realism that dictate the scales of power politics cannot account for fundamental change through institutional innovation. On the other hand, a critical genealogical approach has as its object precisely the uncovering of social possibilities by exploring the (dis)connections that have forged the present moment, thereby doing away with presumptions of false origins and false endings. The moment is only one place in a history and it must be recognized for the potential offer it contains of an improved world order. A move to alternative critical approaches, then, may work to liberate a discipline while it searches to promote emancipatory ends for the world polity.
The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of Heather Bradley in the preparation of this article.
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2. Note that I am emphasizing the construction phase of regime analysis. The issue area considered in the paper, climate change, has had little time to evolve since the signing of the recent accord in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997.
3. See Nayef H. Samhat, 'International Regimes as Political Community', Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol. 26, No. 2, Winter 1997), pp. 349-378.
4. John G. Ruggie, 'Territoriality and Beyond: Problematizing Modernity in International Relations', International Organization (Vol. 47, No. 1, 1993), p. 165.
5. On human rights in general see R. J. Vincent, Human Rights and International Relations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), especially Chapter Seven. For a discussion of NGOs activity in the area of human rights, see Ramesh Thakur, 'Human Rights: Amnesty International and the United Nations', Journal of Peace Research (Vol. 31, No. 2, 1994), pp. 143-160.
6. See for example Paul Wapner, Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics (Albany, NY: State University Press of New York, 1996), and Julie Fisher, The Road From Rio: Sustainable Development and the Nongovernmental Movement in the Third World (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993).
7. See, for example, the arguments in Andrew Linklater, 'The Question of the Next Stage in International Relations Theory: A Critical Theoretical Point of View', Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol. 21, No. 1, 1992), pp. 77-98; 'The Achievements of Critical Theory', in Steve Smith, Ken Booth, and Marysia Zalewski (eds.), International Theory: Positivism and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
8. Chris Brown, 'International Political Theory and the Idea of World Community', in Ken Booth and Steve Smith (eds.), International Relations Theory Today (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995), p. 95
9. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., and Robert O. Keohane, (eds.), Transnational Relations and World Politics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971)
10. See, for example, Kathryn Sikkink, 'Human Rights, Principled Issue-Networks, and Sovereignty in Latin America, International Organization (Vol. 47, No. 3, 1993), pp. 411-42; Peter M. Haas, Saving the Mediterranean (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990); Paul J. Nelson, 'Internationalising Economic and Environmental Policy: Transnational Networks and the World Bank's Expanding Influence', Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol. 25, No. 3, 1996), pp. 605-633; James V. Riker, 'Linking Development from Below to the International Environmental Movement: Sustainable Development and State-NGO Relations in Indonesia', Journal of Business Administration (Vol. 22-23, 1995); Ronnie D. Lipschutz with Judith Mayer, Global Civil Society and Global Environmental Governance: The Politics of Nature from Place to Planet (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996).
11. Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Power and Interdependence (Boston: Scott, Forseman and Company, 1977).
12. Steve Smith, 'The Self-Images of a Discipline: A Genealogy of International Relations Theory', in Booth and Smith (eds.), International Relations Theory Today, pp. 9-10.
13. See Ronnie D. Lipschutz, 'Reconstructing World Politics: The Emergence of Global Civil Society', Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol. 21, No. 3, 1992), pp. 389-420.
14. See, for example, Daniel P. Moynihan, Pandemonium (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
15. Alexander Wendt, 'Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics' International Organization (Vol. 46, No. 2, 1992), pp. 391-425.
16. Alexander Wendt, 'Collective Identity Formation and the International State', American Political Science Review (Vol. 88, No. 2, 1994), pp. 384-396.
17. See Lipschutz, 'Reconstructing World Politics', p. 393.
18. This is essential to Samuel Huntington's recent argument on civilization clashes where there exists a hierarchy of identities the most foundational of which is civilization. Others include nation, state, local community, tribe, klan, etc. See his Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996). See also Emanuel Adler's argument on multiple identities in the area of security communities in his 'Imagined (Security) Communities: Cognitive Regions in International Relations', Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol. 26, No. 2, 1997), p. 265. The argument here suggests that these identities may be functional in nature, as well as being related to one's sense of self.
19. Not that there was any failure on the part of neo-liberalism and neo-realism, rather it is that they could not ask the kinds of 'deep' questions offered by critical approaches. This is the charge Robert Cox levies against neo-realism in his 'Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory', Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol. 10, No. 2, 1981), pp. 126-155.
20. Ibid., p. 129.
21. Mark Neufeld, The Restructuring of International Relations Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 76.
22. Linklater, 'Achievements of Critical Theory', in Booth, Smith and Marysia (eds.), International Theory, p. 282.
23. Ibid., p. 281; Samhat, 'International Regimes as Political Community', p. 361.
24. These are questions of meaning, to be distinguished from the 'why' question of explanation. See Richard Price, 'A Genealogy of the Chemical Weapons Taboo', International Organization (Vol. 49, No. 1, 1995), p. 86.
25. See Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic, trans. By Horace B. Samuel (New York: Russell and Russell, 1964), p. 191.
26. Price, 'A Genealogy of the Chemical Weapons Taboo'.
27. Jens Bartelson, A Genealogy of Sovereignty, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 74.
29. Despite this great potential and the resources that were soon directed to weather and meteorology, even in the early 1960s the science of weather was so little understood that Science News felt compelled to describe the atmosphere as 'a huge envelope of air surrounding the earth up to altitudes of more than 500 miles. In its lower layers, tornadoes and hurricanes are born; in its upper layers the sun's rays are trapped and short wave radio signals are reflected.' See 'Plan Atmosphere Study', Science News, (August 5, 1961), p. 82.
30. Advisory Committee on Weather Control. Final report of the Advisory Committee on Weather Control (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1958).
31. United States House of Representatives Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, Subcommittee on Health and Science, Weather Modification Research: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Health and Science. Eighty-fifth Congress, Second Session, March 18, 19, 1958 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1958), p. 55.
32. Ibid., p. 53.
33. Ibid., p. 35-36.
34. In 1958 Congress authorized the NSF to create an Atmospheric Sciences Program within the division of Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, while in 1956 the NAS instructed its Committee on Meteorology (later renamed the Committee on Atmospheric Sciences) under the chairmanship of Lloyd Berkner to 'consider and recommend means by which to increase our understanding and control of the atmosphere...' See Henry Lansford, 'To Understand the Atmosphere', Weatherwise (August 1985), p. 185 and 'Research and Education in Meteorology,' an interim report of the Committee on Meteorology to the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, Washington, D.C., January 25, 1958.
35. H. E. Landsberg, 'Trends in Climatology,' Science (Vol. 128, October 3, 1958), p. 749.
36. Ibid., p. 756.
37. H. E. Landsberg, 'Goals for Climatology,' Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences (April 1962), p. 90.
38. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Weather and Climate Modification: Problems and Prospects (Washington, D.C. National Academy Press 1966), p. 17; A. Korol, Soviet Research and Development: Its Organization, Personnel and Funds (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1965).
39. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council Panel on Weather Modification, Committee on Atmospheric Sciences, Scientific Problems and Prospects of Weather Modification (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1964); 'Weather Modification: NAS Panel Report and New Program Approved by Congress Reveal Split on Policy', Science Vol. 147, pp. 274-276.
40. National Academy of Science, Scientific Problems and Prospects, p. 30.
41. United States Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs; Subcommittee on Water and Power Resources. Weather Modification: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Water and Power Resources. Eighty-ninth Congress, Second Session, March 21-23, April 11, 14, 1966 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966), p. 86.
42. Ibid., p. 104.
43. World Meteorological Organization,Commission on Climatology, Abridged Final Report of the Fifth Session of the Commission on Climatology (Geneva: World Meteorological Organization, 1969), Resolution 10.
44. John McCormick, Reclaiming Paradise (Bloomington: Indiana University Press: 1989), pp. 49-68.
45. Environmentalism not only generated an imagery of holism, but it also helped to promote the 'limits to growth' thesis. This idea grew out of deliberations of the 'Club of Rome,' a group of scientists, industrialists and economists established in July 1970. The 'Club' outlined global models in order to identify and analyze specific components of the environmental problem confronting humanity. The model, released in March 1972 as The Limits to Growth, argued that the roots of the environmental crisis lay in exponential growth. See Donella H. Meadows, The Limits to Growth; A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind (New York: Universe Books, 1972).
46. See, for example, Francesco Alberoni, Movement and Institution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), pp. 6-8; and Robert H. Lauer, Social Movements and Social Change (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1976), pp. 123-198.
47. McCormick, Reclaiming Paradise, p. 48.
48. For example, the NAS noted that Weather modification, both deliberate and inadvertent, had become 'part of the large group of problems concerned with man's influence on his environment.' See National Academy of Sciences, The Atmospheric Sciences and Man's Needs (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1971), p. 54
49. William Ophuls, Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1977), p. 216.
50. Erik P. Eckholm, Down to Earth: Environment and Human Needs, International Institute for Environment and Development (New York: Norton, 1982), p. xii.
51. The extent of the concern was evident in two preparatory reports for the 1972 UNCHE. SCEP's Man's Impact on the Global Environment (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970) and the Study of Man's Impact on Climate (SMIC) report, Inadvertent Climate Modification (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971).
52. Kathleen Teltsch, 'Kissinger at U.N., Tells Poor Lands to Avoid Threats', The New York Times (April 16, 1974), p. A1, 13.
53. International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study, 'Statement of IFIAS on Climate Change and World Food Production', October 3, 1974, Boulder, Colorado.
54. World Meteorological Organization, Executive Committee, Abridged Report with Resolutions of the Twenty-seventh Session of the Executive Committee of the World Meteorological Organization (Geneva: World Meteorological Organization, 1975), Resolution 25.
55. World Meteorological Organization, Executive Committee, Abridged Report with Resolutions of the Twenty-eighth Session of the Executive Committee of the World Meteorological Organization (Geneva: World Meteorological Organization, 1976), Resolution 12, p. 108..
56. Stephen H. Schneider and L.E. Mesirow, The Genesis Strategy (New York: Plenum Publishing, 1976), p. 84.
57. World Meteorological Organization, Executive Committee, Abridged Report with Resolutions of the Twenty-ninth Session of the Executive Committee of the World Meteorological Organization (Geneva: World Meteorological Organization, 1977), p. 45.
58. Ibid., p. 47.
59. Branislav Gosovic, The Quest for World Environmental Cooperation: The Case of the UN Global Environment Monitoring System (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 118.
60. Steven Breyman, 'Knowledge as Power: Ecology Movements and Global Environmental Problems', in Ronnie D. Lipschutz and Ken Conca (eds.), The State and Social Power in Global Environmental Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993) p. 140.
61. Martin Price, 'The Evolution of Global Environmental Change: Issues and Research Programmes', Impact of Science on Society (No. 166 , 1992), pp. 171-182.
62. House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Agricultural Research, and Environment; Subcommittee on International Scientific Cooperation, The National Climate Program Act and Global Climate Change: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Agricultural Research, and Environment and the Subcommittee on International Scientific Cooperation, July 22, 23, 29 and September 30, 1987 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987), p. 461.
63. Ibid., p. 462.
64. International Council of Scientific Unions, The International Geosphere-Biosphere Program: A Study of Global Change, Final Report of the Ad-Hoc Planning Group (Paris: ICSU, 1986).
65. See Gosovic, The Quest for World Environmental Cooperation, p. 188. I have argued elsewhere that the development of global environmental change is a reflection of expanding technoscientifc networks. See 'Networking Technoscientific Knowledge: Reading Foucault into Global Environmental Change', paper presented to the International Studies Association Meeting, Toronto, Canada, March 18-22, 1997.
66. World Meteorological Organization, Report of the International Conference on the Assessment of the Role of Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases in Climatic Variations and Associated Impacts (Geneva: World Meteorological Organization, 1986), p. 2.
67. Bruce Rich, Mortgaging the Earth: The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994, p. 196.
68. Sharachchandra M. Lélé, 'Sustainable Development: A Critical Review', World Development (Vol. 19, No. 6, 1991), p. 614.
69. World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 52-54.
70. Lélé, 'Sustainable Development: A Critical Review', p. 615.
71. See Ann Hawkins, 'Contested Ground: International Environmentalism and Global Climate Change', in Lipschutz and Conca (eds.), The State and Social Power, p. 237; and Fisher, The Road From Rio.
72. Wapner, Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics, p. 109. His data is drawn from Michael Cernea, 'Nongovernmental Organizations and Local Development', Regional Development Dialogue (Vol. 10, No. 2, 1989) and Paul Lewis, 'Fixing World Crises Isn't Just a Job for Diplomats', New York Times, (4 April 1992).
73. Ibid., 109-110.
74. Ibid., p. 110.
75. Fisher, The Road From Rio, pp. 16, 167-169.
76. Thomas Princen and Matthias Finger, with Jack P. Manno and Margaret L. Clark, Environmental NGOs in World Politics: Linking the Local and the Global (London: Routledge, 1994), p. 221.
77. Jill Jaeger, Developing Policies for Responding to Climate Change, A Summary of the Discussions and Recommendations of the Workshops held in Villach (28 September - 2 October 1987) and Bellagio (9-13 November 1987), under the auspices of the Beijer Institute (Geneva: World Meteorological Organization, 1988), p. v.
78. Quoted in Matthew Paterson, Global Warming and Global Politics (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 330.
79. Ibid., p. 34.
80. See, for example, Norman Myers, 'Environment and Security', National Forum (Vol. 70, No. 1, 1990).
81. For a concise discussion of this process, see Paterson, Global Warming and Global Politics, Chapters Three and Four.
82. Ibid., and see Matthew Patterson and Michael Grubb, 'The International Politics of Climatic Change', International Affairs (Vol. 68, No. 2, 1992), pp. 293-310.
83. Linklater, 'Achievements of Critical Theory', in Booth, Smith and Marysia (eds.), International Theory, p. 286.
84. Fisher, The Road From Rio, p. 3. For a detailed discussion of NGOs at the UNCED, see Pratap Chatterjee and Matthias Finger, The Earth Brokers: Power, Politics and World Development (London: Routledge, 1994).
85. See for example, Hawkins, 'Contested Ground' in Lipschutz and Conca (eds.), The State and Social Power; and Hugh Dyer, 'EcoCultures: Global Culture in the Age of Ecology', Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Vol. 22, No. 3, 1993), pp. 483-504).