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POLSCI 2I03 (101)
Andrew Lui (26)
Lecture 17

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McMaster University
Political Science
Andrew Lui

Just recently we have seen the Arab League suspending Syria, in the past the Arab League has not don’t anything in terms of human rights Environment: throughout our lifetime we will be the generation most affected by climate change. Some of the attempts formulating international agreements, accords, regimes institutionalizing the event. How the environment might play a role in the international relations going forward. The environment itself and issues are inherently global; they haven’t always been problematize in a global way. The environment only few decades ago used to be something exclusively in the domestic domains. What we have seen increasing over the years especially things like decolonization and the environmental catastrophes have transgressed regulations. Things like whether a river should be shared or regulated. But we have lacked in the past is any international law or insight into how to operate things; these regimes are pretty ad-hoc. We don’t have any enforceable regimes about greenhouse gases. Why we haven’t been able to solve this problem? The environment has not been a global issue until very recently. The very first environmental international treaties had to do with animals and catastrophe. Box 21.1: Chronology of treaties and the very first one had to do with protection of wildlife and habitat. We weren’t so much concerned with climate change, those we thought of as things in the future. They thought climate change will not have an effect globally. So what should be done in things like an oil spill, and who should be responsible, there were no international treaties starting 1960s. in 1960s and 1970s onwards the environment began to become a global concern. Part of that had to with the post-second world war boom in industrialization, increasing use of fossil fuels, development in countries where it hadn’t been before and advancements in science. The discovery of new branches of chemical engineering, and how to do with fossil fuels. Also there was a discovery that burning fossil fuels creates harmful chemicals, which are not only harmful to breath in but also produce acid rain. Today we are full aware of the chemical process involved in the production of sulfur oxide, burning of fossil fuels and the creation of acid rain. In the 1960’s and 1980s all this was not obvious. It was also highly contentious political issues in IR both bilaterally and multilaterally. In 1980s the PM Brian Mulroney, his US counterpart was Ronald Reagan both had a close relationship that the opposition always complain that Mulroney was th Reagan’s right hand man and wanted Canada to be the 54 state. Mulroney came into power in one of the largest majority’s in Canada. When he resigned the conservatives were reduced to 2 seats. He was very unpopular at the end through the GST; he negotiated the North American Trade agreements. Despite the criticism he was given the most green PM by Canada. Beyond the corruption Mulroney was the green-est PM in some ways more than the others. He set up the parks we have today and also had other initiates which might be important. He understood that a lot of factories in USA were those industries were producing greenhouse gases and also sulfur dioxide, creating acid rain which was coming in Canada and polluting Canada. Despite his close ties with Reagan, despite his belief in the environment and his recognition by other environmental agencies, he was not able to get Reagan to understand that acid rain happens. Reagan and most of the US senate didn’t believe science and said there is not enough evidence to prove acid rain. However today no one says that scientific evidence behind acid rain is weak, everyone accepts it. But the bilateral mechanism which Canada signed with USA ultimately failed. This is indicative of why the environmental agreements fail because all the power economies (USA, India, and China) are not on the same page about the environment. The only reason the USA came on par with Canada, and made it into federal law was because of domestic politics. We were not able to get United States do what it didn’t want to do, the only reason it changed was because a change in US Senate (republican to Democratic) and said that they accept the science. As a result of many of these changes only in 1960s - 1980s we see grand scale international conferences in international relations. In 1980s something called CFCs was created which deplete the ozone layer which contributes to climate change. They discovered that CFCs allow you to basically produce a very fine/ narrow spray as hair spray, and discovered that there are other compounds to have the same effect as CFCs this was only because it was cheap to do so; so they changed it from CFCs. When it is cheap and cost effective, and the great powers can they we ca
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