The Global Environment

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Political Science
Lilach Gilady

Maninder Panach – 998998802 POL208 – Lahoma March 13 , 2013 In-Depth Summary of The Global Environment Source: Frieden, Jeffry, David A. Lake and Kenneth A. Schultz. 2010. World Politics: Interests, Interactions, Institutions. New York: W.W. Norton and Co. pp. 444-475. Introduction to Current Global Environment - Global temperatures are increasing from around 3.5 and 8 degrees (Fahrenheit) which will result in melting of glaciers/polar icecaps, rising ocean levels, and affect weather stability - Human activities have caused an approximate of 40000 species to be extinct and currently experiencing 20% of tropical rainforest to be cleared for agriculture or logged - The origin of ozone depletion was brought by the release of chlorofluorocarbons into the environment (CFCs) > important to keep ozone layer protected because it blocks harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching earth o Once internationally discovered that CFC’s were harming the planet, Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone Layer (1985) was formed followed by the Montreal Protocol (1989) which aimed to completely eliminate CFC’s into the atmosphere - Transnational advocacy networks (TANs) represent and take steps towards environmental concerns o Consists of hundreds of environmental organizations and individual activists o Ultimate goal to make everyone more environmentally aware and expand knowledge on the current issues that exist - Simply being aware of the severity of environmental degradation is not enough > countries must take powerful actions - The lack of improvement can be explained through certain actors that lose from policies made to better the environment - Four main points in explaining the difficulties of international environmental cooperation: o Suffer from collective action in the absence of international authority that can mediate and enforce o Small groups of actors are likely to cooperate versus a large group o Environmental policies distribution of costs affects how likely actors are willing to cooperate o Need for more clearer and easily verified standard in relation to environmental improvement Why Are Good Intentions Not Good Enough? - Complicated to organize a large number of states - Although most have an interest in environmental cooperation, individual action has little effect - A cleaner atmosphere is preferred but people typically expect to “free-ride” on the efforts of others o Dealing with a Prisoner’s Dilemma in which everyone individually defects and collectively creates a below standard result for society o Incentives to free ride usually win and the environment suffers > associated directly with countries  Ex: U.S does not agree to lower its emissions being the largest contributor of greenhouse gases until it is controlled in all other countries - The issues with collective action and free riding on the environmental efforts of others because through this sequence externalities are formed o An externality is produced when a decision creates costs or benefits for stakeholders opposed to the actor making the decision o In a situation with a negative externality: excess of the good is produced from the collective view o Positive externality is when too little of the good is produced  The main motivation behind externalities is that actors only care for private costs and benefits and do not consider the costs and benefits posed upon others - Specific type of externality is a public good > it is available to everyone and cannot exclude others which is known as non-excludable - Use of a given public good does not eliminate the amount of good accessible for use by others Kyoto Protocol: an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005, that establishes specific targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases - Common pool resources are good that are available to everyone, such as open ocean fisheries; it is difficult to exclude anyone from using the common pool, but one user’s consumption reduces the amount available for others - Example of overexploitation of a common pool resource is whaling o Since it is difficult to control or monitor whalers from the vast ocean the population of whales only decreases more and also reduces the availability to others o To correct this matter the whaling industry formed International Whaling Commissions in initial hopes to limit yields to then ultimately ban whaling - On an international perspective policies that work for one country often are not reasonable for others How to Solve Collective Action Problems - Noted that when there are fewer countries involved there is more effective collective action o Able to remove CFC emissions to protect ozone due to the concentration of CFC`s in U.S, China and Russia o Unable to reduce CO2 emissions for global climate change, involves larger number of countries since emissions are widely dispersed - Groups of countries that have recurrent contact between one and other are more likely to cooperate Why do Polluters Usually Win? - Bargaining issues is a main factor o Favours tighter regulations against a minority > shifting cost of policy change to others - Environmental policies will have a series of winners and losers: some will have to restrain practices that were previously allowed and some will reap the benefits of a greener planet o One sides gains come at the expense of another side’s losses - Industries that release pollution into the atmosphere benefit from easy going environmental policies > do not have to clean up their mess > leaving others to pick up cleaning cos
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