Environment* .docx

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Political Science

Environment I. Introduction Perceived important and dramatically increased significance over the decade –Because 1) end of the Cold War opened space in international politics 2) Increase in environmental damage that is int’l –not relatively confined to state borders 3) We know more about the environment A. Environmental protection and development o Rio Conference: sustainable development defined as economic growth that didn’t deplete resources/destroy ecosystems that it undermined that growth; Main idea: less industrialized countries would develop with constraints at a certain cost to growth & more industrialized countries would provide technological aid (cheaper to develop without environmental constraints – tension because developed countries today didn’t have those constraints) II. Collective Goods Problem o Sustainable development is a collective good (created by members of group, available to all members of group regardless of individual contribution) – in theory, states can gain by contributing as little as possible since they still benefit Ex) Tragedy of the commons: if too many people let their animals graze, destruction of the commons but on the short run, individual benefits o Domestic society –we have collective good problems all the time but controlled by govt. by punishing free riders o Temptations to free ride (benefit from some one else’s provision of collective good) is greater internationally Ex) Air pollution; World Fishery (international waters)- must regulate to avoid depleting fish stock but tend to think in the short term worldwide fishing industry lost great amounts and depended on govt. subsidies – involves long-term thinking and gambling so you are not losing o In general, states have tried to manage environmental collective good problems through int’l institutions III. Atmosphere A. Ozone depletion o Prevents harmful UV rays from sun, certain chemicals largely from industries break up the ozone; biggest culprits- CFCs o Early 1990s: actual depleted ozone levels were detected over North America began hearing about reduced agricultural yields, general disruptions to the ecosystem, increased possibility of skin cancer o Clear example of collective good problem (one state can benefits if most other states don’t use CFCs) o Couple benefits to an agreement in this field: 1) Costs were relatively moderate 2) Consequences of ozone depletion were well known, the harmful results of CFCs were not doubtful o Montreal Protocol o 22 states agreed to reduce, eventually eliminate CFCs over a time table (and acted in real time) o Poorer states, with funding of powerful states in alternative refrigerating technologies, started to reduce levels of CFCs o BUT even the reduced levels had damage to the ozone layer, promised financial assistance was lagging cheap black market established o Was imperfect, nonetheless showed that states could agree to actions when problem was impending Environment B. Global warming: emissions of carbon dioxide, mostly results from burning coal, fossil fuels, creates greenhouse gases that causes the increase in temperature; Dramatic consequences long term: rising temperature and sea levels 1. Problems with a negotiated solution (in contrast w/ Ozone depletion) a) Problem was uncertain among scientists, disagreements over the specifics of global warming –made it difficult to agree/come together (overwhelming evidence of temperature rise so lessened disagreement) b) Short term costs of addressing global warming is high, but benefits are long term (short term costs would arguably curb economic growth that could lead to job losses etc. with indeterminate results in the future; various unions against addressing global warming at the convention) c) Concentrated costs (only apply to few –industrial workers, oil comp.) but effects of global warming/ benefits of efforts are widely diffused d) Indeterminate gains –costs & efforts will only matter if others do the same (again, an incentive to free ride; collective goods dilemma) Problem to divide costs among rich/poor countries was a critical theme to find a way for poor countries to industrialize without harming environment also important because a state’s greenhouse emissions are roughly proportionate to its industrialized activity (80% of world’s greenhouse gases come from industrialized states) 2. Kyoto Protocol: a complex formula to reduce greenhouse emissions (mostly in accordance with industrialization); poorer countries were to benefit because their per capita emissions were much lower; big tension was India and China (low per capita emissions but much more in total) o US didn’t ratify the treaty because it was giving preferential treatment to developing countries, which included China and India while they were among the largest emitters; assumed that Bush Administration would renegotiate o Later after negotiation, expected that most states except US would ratify and did come into effect but not effective, many controversial points a. Who bears what burden? o General agreement that developed countries should bear the burden, but how much and exactly why? o How much less developed countries should bear? (Emissions are not created equally, India and China were clearly going to become one of the greatest greenhouse emitters, developed countries didn’t have to constrain themselves during their development) o 2 Arguments developed countries should pay more (those who damage should bear the burden --You broke it, you pay it) 1. Everyone bears the cost of a damaged environment but even more, some bear an unequal benefit 2. Should be held more accountable because they can, have the ability to do so (those who have more to lose ..disincentive?) o Contentions: 1) damage was unintentionalBUT so shouldn’t be punished but still should be held responsible 2) our ancestors
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