There has been a striking dichotomy in the aftermath of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18) in Doha: on one hand, exhausted but rather satisfied negotiators talk about making progress, while on other negotiators, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and think tanks offer very critical, even desperate assessments of a “failed” process.

The critics point to the growing body of research showing the world is on a path to greatly exceed the 2°C target – and, as the World Bank recently warned, is likely to reach 4°C of warming, with the potential for major negative impacts. Many argue that the negotiations are out of step with reality and must be overhauled. But practical suggestions for reform are rare or unrealistic.

Here, Kjellén argues that this dichotomy reflects a lack of understanding of the conditions and mechanics of negotiations on sustainable development and the real character of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other so-called Rio Conventions.

Download the discussion brief (PDF, 1.54MB)

Note: This essay was first published on the Europe’s World blog.