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323-State Actors in Environmental Politics

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Shannon Gibson

on 23 January 2017

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Transcript of 323-State Actors in Environmental Politics

State Actors in
Environmental Politics

Shannon Gibson, PhD
University of Southern California
The US - National Flip Floppers?
History of US on the Environment
US influence on global environmental issues has always fluctuated
1970s = leaders in scientific knowledge, engages in MEAs
1980s = leadership in decline, refuses many MEAs
1990s & 2000s = leadership in steeper decline, works to weaken MEAs then refuses them
Future = ????
Schizophrenia or Method to the Madness?
Strong Leadership
Endangered Species
Ozone Protection
Weak Leadership/Obstruction
Climate Change
Biodiversity Loss
Law of the Sea
Trade in Hazardous Wastes
DeSombre's Answer:
Previous US Action
Domestic Issues - the SENATE
The EU & the Environment
Burden Sharing
Fear of LCD
Positive Track Record
200+ pieces of enviro legislation
Treaty signatory
Article 176 = LCD protection
Understanding "Southness"
How do we define?
Southern Strategies / Leverage
numbers, ecological, moral
Southern Goals
minimize harms
Southern Frustrations
North dominates conference agendas
Promises of aid and technology transfer not delivered
Few concrete victories - often out negotiated
Reversals on key normative victories (SD, PPP, PP, and CBDR)
Conference fatigue
Divisions amongst themselves and Southern NGOs
"We must be careful not to take actions that could harm consumers...given the incomplete state of scientific knowledge"
- George Bush
"The post-Kyoto climate negotiations...offer an important opportunity for America to re-engage with the rest of the World."
- Barack Obama
"[we recognize our] historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere...but the sense of guild or culpability or reparations, I just categoricall reject that... We are cerntainly not going to become part of the Kyoto Protocol, so that's not on the table. If you mean basically the Kyoto Protocol and putting a new title on it, we're not going to do that either."
-- Todd Stern
What is the role of states / guides their behavior
in environmental governance?
Critical Theory
Important "Environmental" states
- US
- EU
- Scandinavian States
- Post-communist states
- Developing States
Presidential = Republican, Democrat, Green or other
Ideological = U.S. as a capitalist democracy
U.S. "exceptionalism" & "exemptionalism" (as hegemon)
Extent of Environmental harm
Corporate interest influence
Other domestic concerns = i.e., strong lobby
Competing Explanations
State of the Union 2016
"Third World"
Well played grocery store employee ;)
Full transcript