Environmentalism

Download Global Environmental Negotiations and US Interests by Deborah Saunders Davenport (auth.) PDF

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By Deborah Saunders Davenport (auth.)

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Moreover, numerous studies have raised questions about the ability of the scientific community to influence all negotiations in the same way, given the existence of “adversarial science” (Susskind 1994, 65) and the fact that increasing scientific certainty is not necessarily associated with greater interest in cooperative action unless new information or new tests lead to predictions at least as threatening as those made earlier (Downie 1996). Sprinz and Vaahtoranta (1994; see also Sprinz and Weiß 2001) also address variation in interests across countries, attempting to explain crossnational variance in support for international environmental regulation using two interest-based factors.

We will also be confronted with the paradox that the United States was the first state to propose a stand-alone forest convention in 1990, yet was unable to bring it to effective completion thanks to an unfavorable cost-benefit calculation. Finally, we will grapple with the costs and benefits to the United States of international regulation on greenhouse gas emissions, and propose new strategies for achieving US cooperation on effective international regulation based on the explanatory framework developed here.

If a treaty is negotiated that requires parties to alter their behavior significantly, at a cost to themselves, then it may be weak in having few countries sign up to it. Barrett (2003, 356) identifies this problem as a “trade-off between the depth and the breadth of cooperation”—the need to balance the threat of noncompliance with that of nonparticipation—and notes that in the negotiating process countries must sometimes choose between “broad but shallow” and “narrow but deep” treaties. Finally, if a treaty requires strong commitments of its parties but is then 26 ● Global Environmental Negotiations superseded by another treaty placing incompatible obligations on its parties, this too will weaken the prospects for effective environmental cooperation.

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