Shocker from UEA: 'consensus-based decision … stifles progress'

From the University of East Anglia , home of Dr. Phil Jones and “hide the decline” comes this telling missive suggesting that we just need to dump that inconvenient consensus thingy if we are ever going to get new laws passed.

Call to modernize antiquated climate negotiations

The structure and processes of United Nations climate negotiations are “antiquated”, unfair and obstruct attempts to reach agreements, according to research published today.

The findings come ahead of the 18th UN Climate Change Summit, which starts in Doha on November 26.

The study, led by Dr Heike Schroeder from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, argues that the consensus-based decision making used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) stifles progress and contributes to negotiating deadlocks, which ultimately hurts poor countries more than rich countries.

It shows that delegations from some countries taking part have increased in size over the years, while others have decreased, limiting poor countries’ negotiating power and making their participation less effective.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Dr Schroeder, Dr Maxwell Boykoff of the University of Colorado and Laura Spiers of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, argue that changes are long overdue if demands for climate mitigation and adaptation agreements are to be met.

They recommend that countries consider capping delegation numbers at a level that allows broad representation across government departments and sectors of society, while maintaining a manageable overall size.

Dr Schroeder, of UEA’s School of International Development, will be attending COP18. She said: “The UN must recognize that these antiquated structures serve to constrain rather than compel co-operation on international climate policy. The time is long overdue for changes to institutions and structures that do not support decision-making and agreements.

“Poor countries cannot afford to send large delegations and their level of expertise usually remains significantly below that of wealthier countries. This limits poor countries’ negotiating power and makes their participation in each session less effective.”

The researchers found that attendance has changed in terms of the number and diversity of representatives. The number of delegates went from 757 representing 170 countries at the first COP in 1995 to 10,591 individuals from 194 countries attending COP15 in 2009 – a 1400 per cent increase. At COP15 there were also 13,500 delegates from 937 non-government Observer organisations.

Small developing countries have down-sized their delegations while G-7 and +5 countries (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa) have increased theirs. The exception is the United States, which after withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol started to send fewer delegates to COPs.

The study, Equity and state representations in climate negotiations, also looked at the make-up of the delegations and found an increase in participation by environmental, campaigning, academic and other non-Governmental organisations.

“Our work shows an increasing trend in the size of delegations on one side and a change in the intensity, profile and politicization of the negotiations on the other,” explained Dr Schroeder. “These variations suggest the climate change issue and its associated interests are framed quite differently across countries. NSAs are well represented on national delegations but clearly the government decides who is included and who is not, and what the official negotiating position of the country and its level of negotiating flexibility are.”

Some countries send large representations from business associations (Brazil), local government (Canada) orscience and academia (Russia). For small developing countries such as Bhutan and Gabon the majority of government representatives come from environment, forestry and agriculture. The UK has moved from mainly environment, forestry and agriculture to energy and natural resources. The US has shifted from these more conventional areas to an overwhelming representation from the US Congress at COP15.

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Tom Jones

What we need is a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”. Hmm….That expression seems familiar.

Mike Bromley the Kurd

According to “research” published today????? Holy Cow! They’ll let any old thing pass as research, huh?

Brian Johnson uk

Mitigate nothing, adapt nothing, close the door on any AGW Summit and leave us sceptics alone.
Tax the AGW Greens if they must believe in Myths and Euhemerisms as a means of “Saving the Planet”

KevinM

The structure and processes of United Nations climate negotiations are “antiquated”, unfair and obstruct attempts to reach agreements, according to research published today.
Reading between the lines “reach agreements” would be code for “agree with a particular side”. Sounds like somebody needs to have it their way now,now, now.

Climate Change panel chief says ‘not invited to COP18’
By Bonnie James
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will not be attending the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) in Doha, chairman Dr Rajendra K Pachauri has said.”
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=544308&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16

BrianJay

I think I have just found another hockey stick. No of delegates vs time

Gary Pearse

Yeah but, the addition of all these NGOs and activists act as one – it should carry the day for those who want to bring down civilization.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

The researchers found that attendance has changed in terms of the number and diversity of representatives. The number of delegates went from 757 representing 170 countries at the first COP in 1995 to 10,591 individuals from 194 countries attending COP15 in 2009 – a 1400 per cent increase. At COP15 there were also 13,500 delegates from 937 non-government Observer organisations.

How utterly unexpected: the whiff of a huge ‘climate change’ windfall attracts parasites like the odor of excrement attracts flies.

Do you sense an inconsistancy here?

They recommend that countries consider capping delegation numbers at a level that allows broad representation across government departments and sectors of society, while maintaining a manageable overall size.

This recommendation is apparently to change the current make-up of delegations:

“[The Study] also looked at the make-up of the delegations and found an increase in participation by environmental, campaigning[1], academic and other non-Governmental organisations[2].”

So, they want to reduce the size of delegations, but keep the “broad representation across” “sectors of society.” Who will be the first to go? People who know the science? What sectors of society seem to be unrepresented today? People who make things?
[1] – At least they admit it!
[2] – Exxon, Intel, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Shenhua are all non-Governmental organisations, but I doubt they are on the list of invitees.

SasjaL

COPxx – The political version of Woodstock …

MarkW

I could have sworn they have been telling us that there already is a consensus. Now they are admitting there isn’t one?

Mike McMillan

Climate is a big and complex thing. You need a big delegation to handle it. I’m volunteering.

MarkW

BrianJay says:
November 19, 2012 at 7:36 am
I think I have just found another hockey stick. No of delegates vs time

Typical beaurocracy.

tadchem

The future may reveal that the inability of the UN to sucessfully “reach agreements” may be a major factor in saving the world from the unintended consequences of the misguided efforts of naive control freaks who deeply and sincerely believe that only they know what is best for everybody else in the world.

Resourceguy

The new Rome is here.

James

The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

What-A-Pimple--For--Christ-Sake!

Beautiful!
Now UNFCCC has to adopt a ‘Cap’nTrade’ on themselves before they ‘Debby’ the world!
Bartender at UNFCCC, I’ll take 100,000 euros for not attending please. XD
Bartender at IPCC, I’ll take 10,000 euros for not reviewing the ‘Consensus’. XD
Got’a love the UNFCCC and IPCC Lemmings; more laughs than watching The Smurfs.

Jimbo

FOIA, release the key.

To be honest, I kind of agree. The number of people pushing for conflicting ends will never reach a consensus. However I don’t agree that that is a bad thing.

Alan the Brit

Is this euphemism for we can’t seem to get what we want as fast as we want it so let’s change the rules to bully everybody else into an agreement they don’t fully understand, & don’t relaise the consequaences of? Reminds me of someone taking another to court over & again because the court keeps finding for the other fella, then eventually, (probably by sheer grinding down & despair) the court finds for the plaintif (again probably just to get shot of them), & they claim full vindication!

Coach Springer

This just in: A consensus must be engineered to produce the right consensus or the poor countries get it. In the alternative, it will be easier to just do what we say.

Marcelo

“Poor countries cannot afford to send large delegations and their level of expertise usually remains significantly below that of wealthier countries. This limits poor countries’ negotiating power and makes their participation in each session less effective.”
Imperialism at its best!

knr

Amazing the author is moaning about people jumping on band wagon which the CRU its self has done much to create , meanwhile how many more people from advocacy groups go to this ‘events’ than they used . ?
But another call from AGW proponents for democracy to set aside in the name of ‘the cause ‘ hardly a surprise is it ?
Illogically the author calls people that have control he wants banned, while the people he wants to see there bring nothing but buckets they want filling with cash. So if there ideas do get used they will achieve nothing anyway.

“This limits poor countries’ negotiating power….” So, arriving at the truth about (global) climate is a “negotiation.”

john robertson

Defund the Useless Nutjobs.

Not once did I see the researchers state or even imply that the science of climate has been significantly censored in public in an attempt to preclude coverage of scientifically skeptical positions.
The authors of the article just accept as an unquestioned premise that the science is settled.
John

RCon

What is the argument you are trying to make here? That UAE suggestion is an attempt to, unfairly, distort the voting process in order to push climate change legislation through? If so, I’m not sure you understand the crux of their suggestion.
If a decision is to be made by a pure vote count, then all affected parties of the decision should be represented equally in the vote. It’s kind of like that democracy thingy.
Imagine your presidential election had only one voting station in New England. Sure, it is technically open to everyone in the country to come and vote but it is significantly more difficult for people from LA to vote than it is for people from Boston. Furthermore, those with lower disposable income may not be able to afford to travel to the voting station. Therefore, you do not have equal and fair representation in your voting results. Sure you still have that “consensus thingy”, but it is a skewed consensus based upon the unequal opportunity for people to vote.
By capping the number of representatives, and it does not say if this is an “across-the-board” cap or a weighted-average cap, you make it more managable to get equal representation.
But please elobrate on the point that is trying to be made here if my assumption was incorrect; the “telling missive” comment is rather vague.

JPeden

“…argues that the consensus-based decision making used by the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) stifles progress and contributes to negotiating deadlocks,
which ultimately hurts poor countries more than rich countries.”
Do they need a “consensus” – whatever that means anymore – to do away with consensus-based decision making? Or will the existing self-anointed UN Totalitarians simply act to try to further gratify their apparently unsuppressible need for total control via their very own World Government without further ado or pretense?
Whatever, surely we can agree that the the rest of us should all be hurt “equally”. For the “Fairness” and, of course, the “Justice”!

Chuck Nolan

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution, it’s that they can’t see the problem.
– G. K. Chesterton
The problem is their chosen solutions will keep much of the world’s population in poverty.
Helping the poor develop cheap, abundant electricity, drinking water, sanitary systems, agriculture, and hospitals, that’s the solution for helping the poor.
Wasting money trying to save the coastline (In the US mostly owned by the wealthy and various governments) is not going to feed the poor.
We need to develop water containment and distribution system to save some of the fresh water from glacier, ice cap and ice shelf melt. There are plenty of places to store our future water supply.
Let’s get the NGOs out of the dam business.
If the world needs to redefine its coastline to lift a quarter of the world’s population out of poverty, that’s ok with me.
You want to save the polar bears just take a few breeding pairs to the South Pole. Plenty of cold water, ice and penguins. (yum) Might not be able to control the poleybear population.
cn

u.k.(us)

When you keep getting the wrong answer, it must be time to change the question.

William

Andres Valencia says:
In reply to to Bonnie James’
November 19, 2012 at 7:36 am
Climate Change panel chief says ‘not invited to COP18’
By Bonnie James
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will not be attending the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) in Doha, chairman Dr Rajendra K Pachauri has said.”
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=544308&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16
Clearly they did not invite the IPCC chairman to the climate negotiations as they do not want to politicize the process.
It is difficult to imagine what 13,000 delegates (COP-17) could possibly be meeting to discuss.

David A. Evans

RCon says:
November 19, 2012 at 9:54 am
If you want to us a US Election as an analogy, I would suggest that what they’re asking is more like giving Kaukauna, WI the same say as the whole of California.
DaveE.

beesaman

Good grief! Politically astute foreigners coming to our meetings rather than the usual biddable uneducated activists, where will it end? They will be wanting proof and verifiable research next…

polistra

I suspect RCon isn’t an American…..
“Imagine your presidential election had only one voting station in New England. Sure, it is technically open to everyone in the country to come and vote but it is significantly more difficult for people from LA to vote than it is for people from Boston. ”
Pretty close to reality. Only a few precincts in a few states vote. Everyone makes marks on ballots, but your marks won’t matter unless you’re in the favored precincts.

“Dr Schroeder, of UEA’s School of International Development, will be attending COP18. She said: “The UN must recognize that these antiquated structures serve to constrain rather than compel co-operation on international climate policy. The time is long overdue for changes to institutions and structures that do not support decision-making and agreements.”
Pretty clear where Dr. Schroeder is coming from. Compulsion eh? Nice. Especially the very idea of “compelling co-operation”. Dr Schroeder has a way with words, bless her. Quite the joker.

RCon

DaveE.
From my original post:
“By capping the number of representatives, and it does not say if this is an “across-the-board” cap or a weighted-average cap, you make it more managable to get equal representation.”
There really are no details given as to how they would regulate the voting process; it merely says that the voting process needs to be more regulated. My analogy represents the problem, yours is a guess at what the solution (which is not detailed) might be.
Furthermore, your analogy is more suited to decisions at a national level, where the result, more or less, affects people proportionately. The cultural and societial differences from state to state or province to province are much more subtle than country to country. Here it makes sense for population to be a key factor in the “equal representation”.
At the international level, the effect and magnitude from country to country varies greatly. Population and Power are not appropriate measures for assessing “equal representation” when it comes to humanitarian issues, which the UN is predominately involved in. Specifically with the issue of climate change, the risk to implement some sort of legislation or not affects developed and developing nations (and geographic locations) very differently. Therefore, the issues and concerns of a developing country with a smaller population may be just as prudent as the issues and concerns of the USA (as hard as it may be for some Americans to believe). So I reject the assertion that these nations are less deserving of an equal say. And THIS is what the UAE is trying to say.

Matt G

“Poor countries cannot afford to send large delegations and their level of expertise usually remains significantly below that of wealthier countries. This limits poor countries’ negotiating power and makes their participation in each session less effective.”
Talk about avoiding the real problem with poor countries compared with wealthy ones. Third world countries want the means for basic life involving electricity and clean water. The problem is these wealthy countries due to the myth CAGW are preventing them from using fossils fuels to achieve these basic necessaries for improving life and living longer than 3o years. Solar power is not too bad an idea in hot countries near the equator, but just this doesn’t generate enough electricity to supply millions.

Old Ranga from Oz

There’s more going on here on the US front. The news item about the IPCC not being invited to COP18 appeared briefly on the GWPF home page before being bumped by this bigger story. Looks like Pachauri et al are being sent off down a branch line.
WASHINGTON PONDERS DISARMING UNFCCC
Date: 16/11/12EurActiv
The US is considering a funnel of substantive elements of the Doha Climate Summit away from the UN framework and into the Major Economies Forum (MEF), a platform of the world’s largest CO2 emitters, EurActiv has learned.
Since 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has provided an umbrella for talks to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, and on 26 November, will host the COP18 Climate Summit in Qatar.
But it has been confirmed to EurActiv that Washington is increasingly looking to shift policy action to the MEF whose members account for some 85% of global emissions, and which the US views as a more comfortable venue for agreeing climate goals.
If the idea gains traction, it could demote the UNFCCC to a forum for discussing the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions reductions projects, sources say.
http://www.thegwpf.org/washington-ponders-disarming-unfccc/

Old Ranga from Oz

There’s more going on here on the US front. The news item about the IPCC not being invited to COP18 appeared briefly on the GWPF home page before being bumped by this bigger story. Really sounds as though Pachauri et al are being sent off down a branch line.
http://www.thegwpf.org/washington-ponders-disarming-unfccc/

Old Ranga from Oz

Oops…double post. Apologies

David A. Evans

RCon says:
November 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

DaveE.
From my original post:
“By capping the number of representatives, and it does not say if this is an “across-the-board” cap or a weighted-average cap, you make it more managable to get equal representation.”
There really are no details given as to how they would regulate the voting process; it merely says that the voting process needs to be more regulated. My analogy represents the problem, yours is a guess at what the solution (which is not detailed) might be.
Furthermore, your analogy is more suited to decisions at a national level, where the result, more or less, affects people proportionately. The cultural and societial differences from state to state or province to province are much more subtle than country to country. Here it makes sense for population to be a key factor in the “equal representation”.

My analogy is apt. I’m sure that the wants & needs of Kaukauna, WI are quite different to California.
I could have easily said the Maldives given equal weight to the USA.

At the international level, the effect and magnitude from country to country varies greatly. Population and Power are not appropriate measures for assessing “equal representation” when it comes to humanitarian issues, which the UN is predominately involved in. Specifically with the issue of climate change, the risk to implement some sort of legislation or not affects developed and developing nations (and geographic locations) very differently. Therefore, the issues and concerns of a developing country with a smaller population may be just as prudent as the issues and concerns of the USA (as hard as it may be for some Americans to believe). So I reject the assertion that these nations are less deserving of an equal say. And THIS is what the UAE is trying to say.

So now we get to the crux of it. Those that perceive they are under threat should be given disproportionate representation. Could their perception be driven by those $$$$$ signs?
DaveE.

David A. Evans

For what the UK is spending on renewables, about £18Bn per year; we could power Africa in a few years.
DaveE.

RoHa

‘consensus-based decision … stifles progress’
Do 97% of decision makers agree?

Problem is, quite a few of those NGO’s have budgets greater than some smaller countries.

Jeff Alberts

Thug #1: “You’ve got a nice consensus ‘ere, minister. We’d hate to see somefin’ ‘appen to it.”
Thug #2: (Drops vase onto floor, breaking it) “Oh dear. See, accidents ‘appen, minister.”

DirkH

Suddenly, when they realize there’s no consensus they like, the rent-seeking political charlatans from the Tyndall centre discover that consensus isn’t that useful to them after all.

DirkH

RCon says:
November 19, 2012 at 9:54 am
“Imagine your presidential election had only one voting station in New England. Sure, it is technically open to everyone in the country to come and vote but it is significantly more difficult for people from LA to vote than it is for people from Boston. ”
That’s simple. You extrapolate out to 1200 miles and homogenize. /sarc

DirkH

RCon says:
November 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm
“At the international level, the effect and magnitude from country to country varies greatly. Population and Power are not appropriate measures for assessing “equal representation” when it comes to humanitarian issues, which the UN is predominately involved in.”
So you abandon democratic principles.
You’re a leftist, right?

David Cage

They clearly have insider knowledge of this seeing that “climate scientists must be right because there is consensus” has stifled the debate as to the soundness of climate science and resulted in dismally low standards of research in this field. This is happening to the point we still have global warming as a threat, even though they insist now on fraudulently labelling it climate change, long after it is clear we are getting cooling.

M Courtney

“They recommend that countries consider capping delegation numbers at a level that allows broad representation across government departments and sectors of society, while maintaining a manageable overall size.”
And does this also include a ban on NGO representatives? No?
Oh, then this is just asking for a relative increase in the influence of those NGOs. Hmm.
But wait, who funds the NGOs? Rich governments through profile-rasing support and distributed taxes, that’s who.
So what we really have here is a call for more influence to be retained by the very rich (the G7) over the rising powers of the quite rich (the +5).
This report will be welcomed in some quarters.