Laidi, 14 – Professor of International Relations at Sciences Po and director of research at the Center for European Studies at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (Zaki, “Towards a Post-Hegemonic World: The Multipolar Threat to the Multilateral Order,” Apr 25, 2014, http://www.laidi.com/sitedp/sites/default/files/IP_Towards%20a%20Post-Hegemonic%20World.pdf)//eek
Economic ‘sovereignism’ A third reason why multilateralism has suffered a serious setback has been a renewed willingness by governments to either protect key sectors in their own economy or refuse to open their economies to what they see as unfair competition. Significantly, this trend of economic ‘sovereignism’ has been on the rise in both developed and emerging countries. The turning point in this development was perhaps the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit. The United States, like many other developed countries, made its commitments conditional on the emerging countries taking a decisive position of their own. But meanwhile China was mobilizing the emerging countries and encouraging them to refuse to commit to targets or to accept monitoring on their territory (Lloyd, 2012). However – and this is where sovereignist narrative most strikingly manifested itself – the United States joined emerging countries (in opposition to Europe) in opposing the notion that each state had a shared and common interest in reaching a multilateral agreement. Politically this represented a radical shift. Thus while the United States and China may have been divided over their respective responsibilities in terms of climate change, they both agreed that no multilateral negotiation would be concluded without them. They also agreed that it would be unacceptable for them to subordinate their interests as sovereign states to multilateral constraints defined in an international forum. (Viola et al, 2012). In other words, the U.S. and China were imposing an inverted model for negotiations - moving from a top down process that set a framework under which states would be responsible for fulfilling their obligations, to a bottom up process where the premise was that each state was only responsible for that which it was willing to contribute (Falkner et al, 2010). This was a fundamental reversal of perspective, and its first consequence was to significantly reduce the ambition of climate negotiations (Lloyd, 2012). Since then other developments have only confirmed the retreat from multilateralism. Rio +20 in 2012 for example was supposed to ‘take stock’ twenty years after the famous Earth Summit of 1992. But not only did Rio +20 not yield any agreement, the event highlighted other obvious divisions, most obviously about how one was supposed to build ‘green economies. Basically, developing countries (adhering to the principle of shared but differentiated responsibility) argued this could only be achieved if there a significant transfer of technologies from the developed countries to the developing. But the consequence of this was that the United States soon lost interest in coming to any agreement. Europe meanwhile sought to reach some common agreement (Horner, 2012). As for China, though it did not challenge the concept of a green economy completely, it did make it clear that it would try to reach this goal on its own within the framework of a 5-year plan and not as a result of an international agreement. At the same time the United States and China seemed to be making their own side deal. Indeed, when in June 2013 the new Chinese President and President Obamamet in California, the two together agreed bilaterally to open the way to gradually but definitively ending the production and consumption of hydro fluorocarbons (HFC). If this agreement were extended to the rest of the international community, it would of course have led to a reduction equivalent to two years of greenhouse gas emissions18. Even so, this was still a bilateral agreement reached between the two great powers; in effect representing the demise of multilateralism as it had initially been conceived many decades back. From this perspective it is interesting to note that the two leading powers chose to integrate this agreement into the framework of the Montreal Protocol on the ozone layer even though HFCs contribute to greenhouse gas emissions rather than to the destruction of the ozone layer. It is reasonable to assume that the Americans and the Chinese preferred to tack this agreement onto an already-signed and uncontroversial Protocol rather than onto the Kyoto Protocol, which would have been a more logical fit.