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Tactical Factors for Climate Negotiations

In addition to the context in which negotiations take place (win-win or win-lose) and the extent to which national, domestic interests and priorities are reflected in negotiation positions, negotiations and their eventual outcomes also depend on several tactics-related factors with respect to the circumstances under which negotiations take place, the personality of the negotiators, whether the negotiation is a stand-alone process or a step in an on-going process, whether all negotiators have clear upfront targets, etc. These tactical factors are briefly described below and illustrated with anecdotes taken from past climate change negotiation sessions.

Upfront negotiation target

According to Wertheim (n.d.), “too many negotiations fail because people are so worried about being taken advantage of that they forget their needs.” This could make parties decide to break off or complicate negotiations, even if a reasonable deal is about to be closed, because they are reluctant to accept any deal due to their fear that they will be taken advantage of and lose. Such situations could be prevented if negotiators clearly explore a priori what would be a fair and reasonable deal and what would be minimally acceptable (Fisher and Ury 2011).

An example of how such reluctance by a Party to accept a deal eventually blocked an agreement, was the final stage of the negotiations at the sixth COP held in The Hague (November 2000). After two weeks of intense negotiations, COP-6 President Jan Pronk (Dutch Minister of the Environment, see earlier in this chapter) presented his so-called President’s Note which contained compromises on all the crunch issues that had remained on the agenda. This Note brought the negotiations close to an end and when US negotiator Frank Loy and UK Minister John Prescott proposed a final agreement on the hottest issue (i.e. to account for carbon sequestration investments in agricultural soils as a way to comply with Kyoto Protocol commitments, which the USA was in favour of, thereby opposed by the EU negotiators), which addressed the concerns of the EU on this issue, the COP meeting was about to be closed successfully. However, at the last minute, the EU rejected the deal in the person of its main negotiator, French Minister Dominique Voyner, because she was not convinced about the environmental integrity of the

US-UK proposal. According to Mr. Prescott, Ms. Voyner “got cold feet. She was exhausted and tired and could not understand the detail” (Oakley 2001).

 
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