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Formation of the new political geography of climate change: the role of the United States and China

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Helena Margarido Moreira
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Wagner Costa Ribeiro; Wanderley Messias da Costa; Leila da Costa Ferreira; Andre Roberto Martin; Cristina Soreanu Pecequilo
Advisor: Wagner Costa Ribeiro

Climate change is one of the planetary boundaries that guarantee the safe operation of the earth system. The current development model, based mainly on the high consumption standards, is incompatible with the conservation of the planetary boundaries. The climate change boundary has already been surpassed and it is one of the dimensions of the civilizational crisis that we live in modern times. This crisis characterizes the transition to a risk of systemic environmental collapse zone. At the same time that the scientific knowledge about this complex problem rapidly evolves, these threats are not realized as reals and immediate by the overall population, which inhibit the necessary revision of our way of living. Ultimately, states are responsible for the adoption of measures to regulate human action and protect the earth system. These actions have been negotiated at the international level for more than twenty years, in a multilateral process under the United Nations auspices. The question is that this process is characterized by a deadlock that has the United States and China as its protagonists, being the biggest greenhouse gases emitters and the major economies worldwide. Since the beginning of the 21st century, two changes were decisive to draw the scope of this research, which are its main contribution: a change in the territorial distribution of GHG emissions and a change in the distribution of power in the international system. Both of them revolve around these two great world powers. The geographical and political basis allow us to analyze the formation of the new political geography of climate change, from a dialogue between theoretical references of Political Geography and International Relations. The new political geography of climate change is being defined by the positions assumed by the US and China in this multilateral process, which characterizes the climate change international environmental order. Thereby, this work analyzes the positions of these two countries in the period 2005-2012 to identify their interests that are reflected in the final documents of the international negotiation rounds of the Climate Change Convention. This new political geography, still under construction, will be designed by the possible new climate agreement to be adopted by 2020. This agreement is conditioned by the apparent opposition between the interests defended by the US and China, and will hardly bring the expected results. Such opposition has generated a convenient cooperation for both countries, which exercise their sovereignty and safeguard the protection of their interests at the climate change international environmental order. This position results in the paralysis of the negotiations. This research aims at contributing to the understanding of this situation, which dangerously postpones the urgent decisions to deal with a problem that brings a complexity that worsens and is worsened by the difficulties of this multilateral process. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/11247-1 - New geopolitics of climate change: the roles of United States and China
Grantee:Helena Margarido Moreira
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate