Ecuador thought they would shock the world into action with their call for international funding to prevent the exploitation of oil reserves under their Yasuní-ITT National Park. The response was silence and inaction. Why? This paper examines Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative that sought to share the costs of preserving the Amazon Rainforest and its apparent failure through the lenses of collective action theory and cost-value analyses. While the initiative was unsuccessful this time around, with some adjustments it could prove a useful model for future conservation efforts.
A consideration of NASA's asteroid observation mission highlights the possibility that for rare events observation is not unambiguously positive. Although measurement is beneficial in the long run, and is required for eventual risk management or mitigation, it may at first actually increase the expected value of the risk. In the case of the asteroid mission, observation created a substantial risk of false positives that greatly outweighed the initial potential risk reduction from early warning or asteroid diversion, such that the total risk increased. These dynamics are explored with a simple model that can be extrapolated to improve the risk calculation for any rare threat.
Climate change, while not determining power shifts on its own, often acts as a stress multiplier on existing tensions and instabilities. Using the current political struggle over the Arctic as a case study, this paper evaluates how climate change affects global power relations by altering the existing international status quo. The analysis shows how a nontraditional security phenomenon is leading to the emergence of traditional security dilemmas, such as competition over resources and interstate tensions over boundary demarcations. The status quo reflects an increasingly fragile situation, compounded by the lack of legal mechanisms for resolving and adjudicating actual and potential disputes over the Arctic region.
This paper analyses to what extent the Green party challenged traditional political practices that have driven Colombian politics for more than a century. It argues that the Green Party’s presidential campaign for the elections held in 2010 constitutes a significant advance towards the strengthening of Colombian democracy. The Green Party focused on fighting clientelism and involving the citizens as agents of its campaign. However, the weak presence of the Green Party in the rural areas as well as its lack of experience in dealing with the press led to its defeat.
The world is still far from reaching a meaningful agreement on climate change. Neither the US nor China are willing to play the role required of them to ensure the international climate change negotiations are successful. Europe is to some degree willing to lead but lacks leverage. Using a game-theory approach this paper will show the difficulties with the way the climate change negotiations are currently conducted. If leaders are to find a consensus solution to the global warming problem, they will need to consider changing the negotiation rules.
In 2006 Dale Jamieson published a paper in Climatic Change entitled “An American Paradox.” The paradox in question concerned the attitudes of the American public to global warming. Most Americans, it seemed, self-reported as environmentalists, believed that climate change was an environmental bad, and said that they were willing to pay to mitigate it. When, however, specific policies with definite costs were placed before them, their support for mitigation faded away.1
Despite the predictable nature of many threats to public health, safety, and security, governments around the world struggle to find a successful systematic response to these dangers. In fact, lawmakers often respond in a knee-jerk, emotional fashion that all but ensures that the most effective means of protecting the public from harm are ignored. Frequently, policy responses address only a primary danger, leaving us still vulnerable to an even greater secondary danger. Although cost-benefit analysis is not perfect, it carries some clear advantages to other responses such as the increasingly popular precautionary principle. This paper uses the example of lead poisoning to examine the question of why regulators struggle to accept cost-benefit analysis, and opt instead for inferior alternatives based on irrational, and sometimes unfounded, public fears.
In light of the political identification of Darfur as the first climate change violent conflict, this paper analyzes the Darfur case within the environmental securitization framework, discussing the underlying dynamics of the current situation. The paper argues that the environment-security nexus has to be analyzed in the domestic-international border and that the a-securitization of environmental policies with due regard to Darfur has been a fundamental, conceptual and operational obstacle to progress towards peace. Therefore, the internalization of this dialectic relation in politics and action is here understood as an essential step to address the root causes of violent conflict in Darfur.
Environmental impact assessments of trade agreements have gained prominence since the 1990s as tools to identify environmental effects resulting from trade liberalization. The European Union and the United States have taken similar, but different, approaches to developing assessment methods: Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) in the EU and Environmental Reviews (ERs) in the United States. Given that knowledge on both the EU and the U.S. side about what the other is doing in this regard is fairly limited, we seek to provide a basis for a more informed and in-depth discussion of the features, experiences, and potential advantages or disadvantages of the two approaches. This article is based on a comprehensive report on the topic, in which we discuss the underlying legal guidelines of trade impact assessments and examine two case studies on each side—for the EU, the agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council and Ukraine, and for the United States, the Free Trade Agreement with Chile and CAFTA-DR.
As environmental issues become a growing concern for policy makers, the difficulty of creating international policy becomes evident. With the rise of renewable energies and advances in technology, there exists the potential for using social entrepreneurship as a means of addressing environmental issues while meeting the energy demands and needs of many countries. For-profit businesses create appropriate incentives and benefits while at the same time avoid the issue of state sovereignty and bridge the divide between developed and developing countries. At the same time, social entrepreneurship has its own limitations and has the potential to fill only part of the gap that international and domestic environmental policy is unable to accomplish.
This paper explores three crucial contemporary issues to reveal the consequence of tariffs as instruments to overcome environmental concerns. In other words, we try to find under what circumstances tariffs can be considered green policy instruments. Starting with conventional trade theory, we study how country characteristics, including environmental policies, can determine each country’s comparative advantage. We then study how governments may create “pollution havens” by setting lax environmental standards in order to maintain international competitiveness. Finally, we look at the role of multilateral trade organizations such as the WTO in muddling with international environmental agreements. Using conventional theory along with contemporary environmental concerns, we argue the need for a new phase of globalization, namely one accompanied by ‘green’ trade liberalization.
While the evangelical community in the United States is often seen as wielding a great deal of political influence, particularly in opposing U.S. support for international cooperation to limit climate change, such a view obscures important—and increasing—differences among evangelicals. In this paper, I highlight these emerging differences, arguing specifically that tensions between “first-generation” and “second-generation” evangelical perspectives on the meaning of “stewardship” have spurred a widening split. In the context of a discussion of theological debates, their policy consequences, and coalitional possibilities, I suggest that this debate has important implications for the evolution of U.S. support for international cooperation to limit climate change.
Climate change resulting from anthropogenic activity is posing a serious threat to the delicate balance of natural systems that sustain life on earth. While humans are contributing to this grave problem, they also have the potential to find the solution. Through the rapid development of renewable technology, along with the promotion of conservation efforts, humans can help address the problems caused by climate change without damaging the global economy. It is important for policy efforts on the local, national and international levels to encourage the development of renewable technologies before the damage from climate change becomes insurmountable.