The international versus global frame

The difference between the International and Global frame is that the first sees the world as a collection of nation states and the latter sees the world as one. Adopting the global frame is necessary as climate change is essentially a global problem that has no regard for national borders.

International action on climate change depends on agreement being reached through negotiations between the governments of countries with widely differing circumstances and widely differing, and often conflicting, interests in the context of climate change. The obvious and now widely recognised result is that it is extremely difficult, perhaps even impossible, for the nations of the world to agree about something as contentious and complicated as climate change and what to do about it.

The system the world needs in order to address the global problem of climate change must be global in scope, but not hierarchical (that is to say ‘command and control’) in character. The participants should be as diverse as possible. What will hold the system together is not top-down authority, or a compromise agreement thrashed out over years of negotiation between politicians and civil servants (as was the intention of the UNFCCC process), but a clear ethos shared throughout the system by everyone engaged in it.

“Can a fragmented and often highly conflictual political system made up of over 170 sovereign states and numerous other actors achieve the high (and historically unprecedented) levels of cooperation and policy coordination needed to manage environmental problems on a global scale?” – Bulkeley and Newell

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