Getting a Seat at the Table: Fair Participation in the UNFCCC

  • Luke Tomlinson


Having made a case for fair procedures, Chap.  4 now turns to the question of what procedural fairness requires in the UNFCCC by considering who should participate in its decisions. Procedural justice is often understood as requiring that all those who are affected by the outcome of a decision should have some say in the decision making process (the All Affected Principle). Yet, there are many objections to this approach, there are also many other principles of fair participation to consider, and it is not immediately apparent that this principle should be applied in the UNFCCC. Furthermore, increasing the number of participants in a decision is often detrimental to the ability to reach agreement on an issue. In this chapter, I discuss the merit of the All Affected Principle and consider how fair participation can be achieved in the UNFCCC. I analyse several alternative principles for fair inclusion in the decisions of the UNFCCC and argue that fair processes are those provide representation to states on a global scale. I then consider what procedural rules are required in order to achieve this in the UNFCCC.


Procedural Justice Procedural Fairness Mitigation Policy Direct Version Civil Society Actor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abizadeh, A. 2008. Democratic theory and border coercion: No right to unilaterally control your own borders. Political Theory 38: 111–120.Google Scholar
  2. Agné, H. 2006. A dogma of democratic theory and globalization: Why politics need not include everyone it affects. European Journal of International Relations 12(3): 433–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Archibugi, D., D. Held, et al. 1998. Re-imagining political community: Studies in cosmopolitan democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  4. Arrhenius, G. 2005. The boundary problem in democratic theory. In Democracy unbound, ed. F. Tersman. Stockholm: Stockholm University.Google Scholar
  5. Bäckstrand, K. 2006. Democratising global governance? Stakeholder democracy after the world summit on sustainable development. European Journal of International Relations 12(4): 467–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bäckstrand, K. 2010a. Democratizing global governance of climate change after Copenhagen. In Oxford handbook on climate change and society, ed. J. Dryzek, R.B. Norgaard, and D. Schlosberg. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bäckstrand, K. 2010b. Environmental politics and deliberative democracy: Examining the promise of new modes of governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Banuri, T., K. Goran-Maler, et al. 1995. Equity and social considerations. In Economic and social dimensions of climate change, Contribution of working group III to the second assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ed. J.P. Bruce, L. Hoesung, and E. Haites. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Beerbohm, E. 2012. In our name: The ethics of democracy. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Biermann, F., K. Abbott, et al. 2012. Navigating the anthropocene: Improving earth system governance. Science 16.335(6074): 1306–1307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bodansky, D. 1999. Legitimacy of international governance: A coming challenge for international environmental law? The American Journal of International Law 93(3): 596–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bodansky, D. 2012. The durban platform: Issues and options for a 2015 agreement. Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions:
  13. Bodansky, D., and L. Rajamani. 2013. Evolution and governance architecture. In International relations and global climate change, ed. D. Sprinz and U. Luterbacher. Cambridge, MA/London:MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Brandi, C. 2010. International trade and climate change: Border adjustment measures and developing countries. Bonn: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik/German Development Institute.Google Scholar
  15. Buchanan, A.E., and R.O. Keohane. 2006. The legitimacy of global governance institutions. Ethics and International Affairs 20(4): 412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bulkeley, H., and P. Newell. 2010. Governing climate change. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Caney, S. 2009. Climate change, human rights and moral thresholds. In Human rights and climate change, ed. S. Humphreys and M. Robinson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Dahl, R.A. 1975. Procedural democracy. In Philosophy, politics and society, ed. P. Laslett and J. Fishkin. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Dimitrov, R.S. 2010. Inside Copenhagen: The state of climate governance. Global Environmental Politics 10(2): 18–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dombrowski, K. 2010. Filling the gap? An analysis of non-governmental organizations responses to participation and representation deficits in global climate governance. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 10(4): 397–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dryzek, J., and S.J. Niemeyer. 2006. Reconciling pluralism and consensus as political ideals. American Journal of Political Science 50(3): 634–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dryzek, J., and H. Stevenson. 2011. Global democracy and earth system governance. Ecological Economics 70(11): 1865–1874.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dryzek, J., and H. Stevenson. 2012a. The discursive democratization of global climate governance. Environmental Politics 21(2): 189–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dryzek, J., and H. Stevenson. 2012b. Legitimacy of multilateral climate governance: A deliberative democratic approach. Critical Policy Studies 6(1): 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Falk, R., and R. Strauss. 2000. On the creation of a global people’s assembly: Legitimacy and the power of popular sovereignty. Stanford Journal of International Law 36: 191–220.Google Scholar
  26. Fraser, N. 2008. Scales of justice: Reimagining political space in a globalizing world. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  27. Goodin, R.E. 2007. Enfranchising all affected interests and its alternatives. Philosophy & Public Affairs 35(1): 40–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gupta, S., D.A. Tirpak, et al. 2007. Policies, Instruments and Co-operative Arrangements. In Climate change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of working group III to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ed. B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, and L.A. Meyer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Haas, P.M. 2008. Climate change governance after Bali. Global Environmental Politics 8(3): 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Held, D. 2004. Global covernant. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  31. Helm, D. 2012. The Kyoto approach has failed. Nature 491: 663–665.Google Scholar
  32. Huq, S., and M.R. Khan. 2006. Equity in National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs): The case of Bangladesh. In Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change, ed. N.W. Adger, J. Paavola, S. Huq and M.J. Mace. Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Jagers, S.C., and J. Stripple. 2003. Climate governance beyond the state. Global Governance 9(3): 385–99.Google Scholar
  34. Karlsson, J. 2006. Affected and subjected-the all-affected prinicple in transnational democratic theory. Social Science Research Center Berlin. Discussion Paper SP IV 2006–304.Google Scholar
  35. Karlsson, J. 2008. Democrats without borders: A critique of transnational democracy. In Gothenburg studies in politics, ed. Bo Rothstein. Gothenburg: Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg.Google Scholar
  36. Kravchenko, S. 2010. Procedural rights as a crucial tool to combat climate change. Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law 38(3): 613–48.Google Scholar
  37. Lamond, G. 2000. The coerciveness of law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 20(1): 39–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lawrence, P. 2014. Justice for future generations. Cheltenham: Edward ElgarGoogle Scholar
  39. Lijphart, A. 1984. Democracies: Patterns of majoritarian and consensus government in twenty-one countries. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Macdonald, T. 2008. Global stakeholder democracy: Power and representation beyond liberal states. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Miller, D. 2009. Democracy’s domain. Philosophy & Public Affairs 37(3): 201–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Miller, D. 2010a. Against global democracy. In After the nation: Critical reflections on post-nationalism, ed. K. Breen and S. O’Neil. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  43. Miller, D. 2010b. Why immigration controls are not coercive: A reply to Arash Abizadeh. Political Theory 38(1): 111–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Moore, M. 2006. Globalization and democratization: Institutional design for global institutions. Journal of Social Philosophy 37(1): 21–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Näsström, S. 2011. The challenge of the all-affected principle. Political Studies 59: 116–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nozick, R. 1974. Anarchy, state and utopia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  47. Oberthür, S., et al. 2002. Participation of non-governmental organisations in international environmental governance: Legal basis and practical experience. Berlin: Ecologic.Google Scholar
  48. OHCHR. 2009. Report of the office of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights. In The office of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and the office of the high commissioner and the secretary-general.
  49. Palerm, J.R. 1999. Public participation in environmental decision-making: Examining the Aarhus convention. Journal of Environmental Assesment and Policy Management 1(2): 229–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rapp, T., C. Schwägerl, et al. 2010. The Copenhagen protocol: How China and India sabotaged the UN climate summit. Der Spiegel, 5th May 2010.Google Scholar
  51. Raz, J. 1988. The morality of freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Scholte, J.A. 2002. Civil society and democracy in global governance. Global Governance 8(3): 281–304.Google Scholar
  53. Shelton, D. 2007. Equity. In Oxford handbook of international environmental law, ed. D. Bodansky, J. Brunnée, and E. Hey. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Thomas, D.S.G., and C. Twyman. 2005. Equity and justice in climate change adaptation amongst natural-resource-dependent societies. Global Environmental Change 15: 115–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Toth, F.L., M.J. Mwandosya, et al. 2001. Decision making frameworks, Climate change 2001: Mitigation. Contribution of working group III to the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. UNCED. 1992. United Nations conference on environment and development. Agenda 21. (The Rio Declaration). In U.N. conference on environment and development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 3–14, 1992.Google Scholar
  57. UNECE. 1998. United Nations economic commission for Europe. Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters, June 25, 1998 (Aarhus Convention). Geneva: UNECE.Google Scholar
  58. UNFCCC. 1992. United Nations framework convention on climate change. Convention Text.Google Scholar
  59. Victor, D. 2006. Toward effective international cooperation on climate change: Numbers, interests and institutions. Global Environmental Politics 6(3): 90–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vidal, J. 2009. Secrecy prevails at Bangkok climate talks. London: The Guardian.Google Scholar
  61. Whelan, F. 1983. Prologue: Democratic theory and the boundary problem. In Nomos XXV: Liberal democracy, ed. J.R. Pennock and J.W. Chapman. New York/London: New York University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luke Tomlinson
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

Personalised recommendations