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Testing the Boundaries of Subnational Diplomacy: The International Climate Action of Local and Regional Governments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 May 2015

Joana Setzer*
Affiliation:
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London (United Kingdom). Email: j.setzer@lse.ac.uk.

Abstract

Since the 1990s, a number of local and regional governments around the world have started to engage in a real international or ‘paradiplomatic’ climate agenda. While the multilevel governance approach has advanced the examination of the actors and levels involved in climate governance, there is within this body of literature a limited consideration of the legal capacity of non-state actors to act across scales. This article addresses this gap and examines the potential limitations imposed on subnational diplomacy by international and domestic legal orders. The article draws upon the example of Brazil where, despite constitutional limitations on the involvement of subnational governments in international relations, paradiplomacy has been termed ‘federative diplomacy’ and institutionalized within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and within the Presidency of the Republic. The article shows that the diplomatic activity of local and regional governments is still constrained by international and domestic legal frameworks. If cities and regions are to help in addressing the inadequacies of the international climate regime, then domestic and international legal frameworks will need to further accommodate subnational diplomatic activities.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2015 

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Footnotes

I am grateful for the constructive feedback by two anonymous reviewers for this journal on earlier versions of this article.

References

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28 Abbott, n.1 above, at p. 61.

29 Indeed, subnational governments are involved in a large number of transnational interactions that go beyond the types of interaction that are generally considered by the MLG literature. When engaging in an international environmental agenda, subnational governments promote at least six forms of rescaling. A consideration of this wider and more nuanced picture of the rescaling processes promoted by subnational governments can be found in J. Setzer, ‘How Subnational Governments Are Rescaling Environmental Governance: The Case of the Brazilian State of São Paulo’ (2014) Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1523908X.2014.984669#.VQq22fmsXTp.

30 There is a substantial debate on the adequacy of the term ‘paradiplomacy’. Other terms suggested to describe the participation of subnational actors in the international arena are ‘multilayered diplomacy’ (B. Hocking, Localizing Foreign Policy: Non-central Governments and Multilayered Diplomacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 1993)), ‘catalytic diplomacy’ (Hocking, B., ‘The Woods and the Trees: Catalytic Diplomacy and Canada’s Trials as a Forestry Superpower’ (1996) 5(3) Environmental Politics, pp. 448–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar), and ‘sub-state diplomacy’ (N. Cornago, ‘On the Normalization of Sub-State Diplomacy’ (2010) 5(1–2) The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, pp. 11–36).

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33 See Acuto, n. 19 above; see also Pluijm, R. & Melissen, J., ‘City Diplomacy: The Expanding Role of Cities in International Politics’, in Netherlands Institute of International Relations (ed.), Clingendael Diplomatic Studies Papers, Vol. 10 (Netherlands Institute of International Relations, 2007), pp. 536Google Scholar.

34 Pluijm & Melissen, ibid., at p. 6.

35 Acuto, n. 19 above.

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38 Criekemans, e.g., suggests that the ‘full spectrum’ of diplomatic instruments that regions can utilize encompasses seven activities: (i) political representation abroad; (ii) treaty-making power; (iii) entering into agreements of a formalized nature (political declarations of intent and/or cooperation agreements, transnational contracts, and cultural agreements and partnerships); (iv) developing programmes of assistance and sharing of know-how (bilateral or multilateral programmes, programmes on cross-boundary cooperation); (v) participating in multilateral frameworks and organizations (observing or participating in technical committees, becoming an associate member of multilateral organizations); (vi) participation in formal or informal networks; and (vii) developing a public diplomacy, both domestic and international: see D. Criekemans, ‘Introduction’ (2010) 5(1–2) The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, pp. 1–9.

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51 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto (Japan), 11 Dec. 1997, in force 16 Feb. 2005, available at: http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/items/2830.php.

52 Levit, J.K., ‘Bottom-up International Lawmaking: Reflections on the New Haven School of International Law’ (2007) 32 Yale Journal of International Law, pp. 393–420Google Scholar, at 395.

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54 Nrg4SD, ‘Subnational Governments: Key Actors in the Rio+20 Process – nrg4SD Input to the Rio+20 Process’, Oct. 2011 – reviewed Apr. 2012, available at: http://tinyurl.com/Nrg4SD-Rio-20.

55 Happaerts, Van den Brande & Bruyninckx, n. 22 above.

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58 LaMotte, Williamson & Hopkins, n. 37 above, at p. 409.

59 Kysar & Meyler, n. 37 above; Sovacool, B.K., ‘The Best of Both Worlds: Environmental Federalism and the Need for Federal Action on Renewable Energy and Climate Change’ (2008) 27(2) Stanford Environmental Law Journal, pp. 397–476Google Scholar.

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61 The Treaty Clause is contained in Art. II(2)(2) US Constitution; the Compact Clause is a provision in Art. I(10)(3) US Constitution; the Foreign Commerce Clause is found in part of Art. I(8)(3) US Constitution,

62 California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cap-and-trade programme, available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov.

63 California EPA, ‘Auction and Reserve Sale Information’, last updated 23 Feb. 2015, available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/auction/auction.htm.

64 See, e.g., ‘EU Plans to Link Emissions Trading Scheme with California’, The Guardian, 7 Apr. 2011, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/apr/07/eu-emissions-trading-california; and L. Zetterberg, ‘Linking the Emissions Trading Systems in EU and California’, Mistra Indigo Program, 2012, available at: http://www.ceps.eu/system/files/article/2012/10/Linking%20the%20Emission%20Trading%20Systems%20in%20EU%20and%20California.pdf.

67 N. 19 above.

68 N. 23 above.

69 US State Department, Office of the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, available at: http://www.state.gov/s/srgia/resources/index.htm.

70 Kelman, I. et al., ‘Island Disaster Paradiplomacy in the Commonwealth’ (2006) 95(386) The Journal of International Affairs, pp. 561–574Google Scholar, at 565.

71 Brazilian Federal Constitution, Arts 21(I) and 24(VII)–(VIII).

72 Ibid., Art. 21(I).

73 Ibid., Art. 84(VII).

74 Ibid., Art. 84(VIII).

75 Art. 7(III).

76 Vigevani, T., ‘The Legal and Institutional Framework for the International Management of Subnational Government Players in Brazil’ (2004) 8(21) Integration & Trade, pp. 25–43Google Scholar, at 30.

77 Milani, C.R.S. & Ribeiro, M.C.M., ‘International Relations and the Paradiplomacy of Brazilian Cities: Crafting the Concept of Local International Management’ (2011) 8(1) Brazilian Administration Review, pp. 21–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Tavares, R., ‘As relações internacionais do estado de São Paulo’ (2012) 20(4) Revista Política Externa, pp. 169–184Google Scholar.

78 Chamber of Deputies, Commission of Justice and Citizenship, ‘Manifestation over the Draft Law No. 475/2005, which Proposed the Addition of a Paragraph to Article 23 of the Federal Constitution to Allow States, the Federal District, and Municipalities to Promote Acts and Enter Agreements with Foreign Entities’, PRL1CCJC/PEC457/2005.

79 C. Brigadão, Relações internacionais federativas no Brasil: Estados e munícipios (Gramma, 2005), p. 21.

80 Decree 6,207, of 16 Sept. 2007. Art. 7 establishes the attributions of the Division for Federative Affairs. It revokes Decree 5,526, of 26 Aug. 2005, which in turn revoked Decree 4,968, of 30 Jan. 2004.

81 SAF, ‘A cooperação internacional federativa da Subchefia de Assuntos Federativos’, available at: http://www.portalfederativo.gov.br/bin/view/Inicio/CooperacaoInternacionalFederativa.

82 Milani & Ribeiro, n. 77 above, p. 26.

83 26 out of the 27 governments, according to Tavares, n. 77 above, at p. 175.

84 M. Andrade e Barros, A atuação internacional dos governos subnacionais (Del Rey, 2010).

85 Bastos, C.R., Curso de direito constitucional (Malheiros Editores, 2010)Google Scholar; Husek, C.R., Direito internacional público (LTR, 2010)Google Scholar; Varela, M.D., Direito internacional público (Saraiva, 2009)Google Scholar.

86 A.P.C. Medeiros, ‘Legal Opinion on the Legal Limits of the Agreement Entered by the City of Rio de Janeiro with an International Entity (1999)’, in A.P. Cachapuz de Medeiros (ed.), Pareceres dos Consultores Jurídicos do Itamaraty, Vol. IX, 1990–2000 (Fundação Alexandre de Gusmão, 2009), pp. 227–31, at 230.

87 See Andrade e Barros, n. 84 above.

89 REDD+ is a mechanism for encouraging forest conservation and cultivation in developing countries, using funding from the developed world. REDD+ assigns financial value to carbon stored within forest resources, to make local preservation efforts eligible for foreign financing, including voluntary investment and offset credits generated through foreign carbon markets. The REDD+ terminology and concept originate from a 2005 proposal to the UN by the governments of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, in response to the Kyoto Protocol’s (n. 51 above) lack of mechanism to reduce deforestation emissions. The ‘+’ in REDD+ indicates the last category of strategies, which includes conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. For more information on REDD+ and the California REDD+ experience see J. Lueders et al., ‘The California REDD+ Experience: The Ongoing Political History of California’s Initiative to Include Jurisdictional REDD+ Offsets within its Cap-and-Trade System’, Center for Global Development Working Paper 386, Nov. 2014, available at: http://www.cgdev.org/publication/california-redd-experience-ongoing-political-history-californias-initiative-include.

90 The GCF has been working since 2009 to advance jurisdictional programmes to reduce emissions from deforestation and land use, and to link these activities to emerging GHG compliance regimes and other pay-for-performance opportunities. Based on their experience in the GCF, in 2010 the states of California (US), Acre (Brazil), and Chiapas (Mexico) signed a separate MOU. Their aim was to cooperate more closely on the technical, legal, and institutional design issues associated with the effort to link state REDD+ programmes with California’s cap-and-trade programme. See the working group report, Evan Johnson (ed.), ‘California, Acre and Chiapas: Partnering to Reduce Emissions from Tropical Deforestation’, July 2013, available at: http://www.unredd.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=9893&Itemid=53. On the California-Acre process see also E. Roessing Neto, ‘Linking Subnational Climate Change Policies: A Commentary on the California-Acre Process’ (2015) 4(2) Transnational Environmental Law (forthcoming).

91 Transcript of an interview with the author, Dec. 2010.

20
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