Ok so clearly there’s been a certain degree of tardiness in my blog postings for the past few months. But hey, what can I say… its been a pretty busy period.
Back on the scene, after submitting my Masters dissertation today – entitled Democracies and Effective Climate Change Mitigation – An Indonesian Case Study. Like any post-graduate course – what more working at the same time – it has been an excruciating experience but nevertheless a big relief off me after handing over those 2 soft-bound copies across the Graduate Students Office’s reception counter. *PHEWWW!….. (for now..)*
The rationale for the topic was simple. Literature on Democracies seem to suggest that democratic states have the best political system to address environmental problems as they allow for multi-stakeholder participation, a freedom of information and association and accountability. Yet, with this back drop, why is it then that the leading democratic countries still fail to address global climate change? The US, which is the bastion of liberal democracy, is ironically the biggest carbon emitter and has not signed the Kyoto Protocol. Several European states also falter in meeting their carbon emission targets, and this is further exacerbated by the issues of carbon leakage from EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
More importantly, what does mean for young democracies in the developing world – many of which have already been struggling to adapt to the new circumstances that come with democratisation. Can these young democracies withstand the pressures of democratisation, economic development and environmentalism? The Indonesian case study is significant for future research and policy implications given the fact that not only is Indonesia a young democracy in the developing world, it is also considered the 3rd largest carbon emitter in the world (when emissions from degradation is included). Moreover, the need to conserve their forests is all the more vital as global carbon sinks – as seen by the big chunks of funding being pumped in to support REDD projects across the archipelago.
I must say it has been challenging putting this paper together… something so theoretical such as democracy, and something so technical like climate change mitigation.
Below are some sources which found fascinating and definitely worth referring to for future research and policy deliberations.
Battig, M. & Bernauer, T. 2009, National Institutions and Global Public Goods: Are Democracies More Cooperative in Climate Change Policy?, International Organization, Vol. 63, pp. 281 – 308 (available in pdf)
Barr, C., Dermawan, A., Purnomo, H., & Komarudin, H. 2010, Financial governance and Indonesia’s Reforestation Fund during the Soeharto and post-Suharto periods, 1989-2009: A political economic analysis of lessons for REDD+, CIFOR Occasional paper 52, Center for International Forestry Research
Nomura, Ko, 2007, Democratisation and Environmental Non-governmental Organisations in Indonesia, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 495 – 517
Payne, R. 1995, Freedom and the Environment, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 6, No.3, pp. 41-55
Walker, Peter A. 1999, Democracy and environment: congruencies and contradictions in southern Africa, Political Geography, Vol. 18, Issue 3, pp. 257-284