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last lecture - catch up part 2

School of Environment
Course Code
Mairi Mac Donald

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use of land and use of energy much more difficult to address, here is where efforts have
reached their limits
suggestion: intl law carries certain weaknesses
sovereign state: no country has to participate
participants know others can drop out at any time - thus it gives them veto power to ratify
MEA or else they too drop out
we dont have the ability to impose laws b/c there is no global government
they are implemented by countries using their own domestic policy there are no means to
enforce that at the global level
If international law is a weak instrument then why are we using it?
it is what we know
it is possible to mobilize public opinion to use MEAs for specific issues - smaller vs larger
environmental authorities which have a mandate to deal w/the physical issues of pollution etc.
but do not have a broader mandate to deal w/ larger issues like consumption would lose the issues
same kind of conflict when looking at resource conservation
laws established in order to promote consumption of the resource
they have conflicting objectives of making country richer vs saving the environment
difficulty between bodies responsible for narrowly defined issues and those responsible for
other departments
other basic problems
the US has not played a leadership role in environmental protection
why not? the movement was born in the US in the 1950s
the US has been overtaken by the EU as the global leader
part of it comes from Republican governments (Bush admin)
also the US feels it is separate from the rest of the world
most fundamental: since 2001 the US has been preoccupied w/ military rule
it is a hegemony: it is more concerned about losing control of their lead
the world leader has an inherent interest against strengthening the global governance as it
diminishes their own ruling power
only by strengthening the global governance can issues be addressed
conclusion: the system is a long way from being perfected but does not offer action
professors suggested action:
we need to strengthen the international governance systems (UN, NGOs) b/c they are the
bodies who have a mandate for environmental protection
If we want to see more effective action we need coordinating systems
We need to increase their budgets - find ways to increase the financial budget
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