December 20, 2009

PROF. KENNETH ANDERSON: Copenhagen as UN Politics, Not Climate Change Substance. “At bottom, the question is one of legitimacy and what it means to say that a climate change deal requires, in Secretary General Ban’s words, an ‘equitable global governance structure’ to administer it, and the many, many, many things that apparently fall under its tent. What is this global governance? What makes it equitable and, therefore, legitimate? Is it legitimate to do a deal of global proportions, on climate change or anything else, and not involve everyone? If your issue is simply the substance of climate change policy, and not UN politics, then you don’t much care about these abstract issues of legitimacy, global governance, and the UN. Until the end of Copenhagen, in which it turns out that — given the breathtaking scope of things to be governed under the rubric of climate change, starting, really, with the whole of the global economy — that the meanings of global governance, legitimacy, and the UN matter after all. . . . That’s not a problem for me, because I ascribe minimal legitimacy to the UN and zero to the General Assembly and its members qua members. But for a large number of international law experts and devotees, among others, this is a problem.”

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