Global Environmental Politics

Global Environmental Politics
Volume 6, Number 3, August 2006
Special Issue: The Negotiation and Effectiveness of International Environmental Agreements
Festschrift in Honor of Prof. Dr. Philos. Arild Underdal on His 60th Birthday
Guest Editors: Tora Skodvin, Steinar Andresen, and Jon Hovi

CONTENTS

Contributors

Introduction

Part One: Negotiating International Environmental Regimes

    Skodvin, Tora.
    Andresen, Steinar.
  • Leadership Revisited
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    Subject Headings:
    • Diplomatic negotiations in international disputes.
    • Leadership.
    • International organization.
    Abstract:
      In the late 1980s/early 1990s the concept of leadership was introduced in the study of international regimes to describe the role negotiating parties sometimes would take on to craft agreement. The concept seemed to grasp an essential feature of multilateral cooperative efforts: that parties can be differentiated by the extent to which they are capable of, and willing to, take on a particular responsibility of guiding other parties in directions that could lead to joint solutions. The concept of leadership has only to a small extent been subjected to critical analytical and conceptual discussion. In this article we revisit the concept by asking: What are the characteristic features of leadership in international negotiations? Our analysis shows that current conceptualizations of leadership are associated with significant ambiguities that make it hard to distinguish leadership behavior from other types of bargaining behavior and that these problems are reproduced in empirical identifications of this mode of bargaining behavior.
    Hovi, Jon, 1956-
    Sprinz, Detlef F.
  • The Limits of the Law of the Least Ambitious Program
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    Subject Headings:
    • Political science -- Decision making.
    • Diplomatic negotiations in international disputes.
    • International organization.
    Abstract:
      Arild Underdal's work on the Law of the Least Ambitious Program (LLAP) is a significant contribution to our understanding of the logic of international collaboration. The LLAP, however, applies only under particular conditions. After comparing the law to the joint decision trap and the veto player concept, we discuss four observations that tend to limit the law's domain. First, while the LLAP is intended to apply to decision-making under unanimity, in a number of international bodies decisions are made by some kind of majority voting. Second, the LLAP assumes that the alternative to collective agreement is individual decision-making, yet in practice the relevant alternative (the "reversion rule") is often the continuation of some pre-existing collaborative arrangement. Third, whereas the LLAP assumes that the unanimity rule invariably favors the least ambitious program, there are interesting cases where this assumption does not hold. Finally, the LLAP does not take into account that the outcome of international decision-making not only depends on the decision rule and the reversion rule, but also on the voting sequence.
    Miles, Edward L.
  • Negotiating a New Design for a World Ocean Regime
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    Subject Headings:
    • United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (3rd : 1973-1982 : New York, N.Y., etc.)
    • Diplomatic negotiations in international disputes.
    • International organization.
    Abstract:
      In a study assessing the effectiveness of international environmental regimes published in 2002 the authors chose to exclude the negotiations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea as a case study because it was not an environmental regime per se and because the conference was far too complex to be useful as a control case. The present essay applies the analytic structure of the environmental regime effectiveness study to the UNLCOS III negotiations to assess what value, if any, would now be added to a comprehensive analysis of those negotiations. The findings are that the approach of my previous research on UNCLOS III would have been considerably tightened by such an application and a much more nuanced and evolutionary analysis would have been possible on the variable of problem type in which malignancy first increased but later decreased.
    Malnes, Raino.
  • Imperfect Science
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    Subject Headings:
    • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate change: the IPCC scientific assessment.
    • Climatic changes -- Research -- Political aspects.
    • Science -- Philosophy.
    Abstract:
      On a crucial issue, the first report of the IPCC speaks with two tongues. It expresses confidence in the greenhouse theory and, at the same time, says that evidence for the theory is indeterminate and inconclusive. This article addresses itself to two candidates for an explanation. The first hypothesis builds on the straightforward observation that people do not always speak their mind. But there is little reason to believe that contradictions in text can be traced to scientists' concern about boosting the credentials of the greenhouse theory. The second candidate for an explanation, which is the main contribution of the article, says that scientists may be diverted from the concern about truth because they take on tasks that are extraneous to the role of scientist. Thus, members of the IPCC are charged with providing premises for climate policy, and this may have affected both their research and the presentation of its results.

Part Two: The Effectiveness of International Environmental Regimes

    Mitchell, Ronald B. (Ronald Bruce)
  • Problem Structure, Institutional Design, and the Relative Effectiveness of International Environmental Agreements
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    Subject Headings:
    • Environmental protection -- International cooperation.
    • Environmental law, International.
    • International organization.
    Abstract:
      To accurately assess the relative effectiveness of international environmental agreements requires that we pay greater attention to how problem structures influence both institutional design and the outcomes we use to evaluate institutional effects. Analyzing multiple agreements allows us to move beyond claims that an agreement was influential to claims regarding which variables explain that influence, to examine how institutional influence depends on other factors, and to evaluate an agreement's effectiveness relative to other agreements and non-institutional influences. Accounting for problem structure is crucial to such endeavors because problem structure variables may be alternatives to or interact with institutional variables and because institutional design is endogenous to the problem structure-outcome relationship. The shortcomings related to incorporating problem structure in extant effectiveness research can be overcome through four strategies: carefully describing analytically useful variation in problem structure, selecting cases to limit variation in problem structure, evaluating problem structure variables and their influence on design and behavior, and evaluating effectiveness in terms appropriate to the problem structure.
    Victor, David G.
  • Toward Effective International Cooperation on Climate Change: Numbers, Interests and Institutions
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    Subject Headings:
    • Climatic changes -- International cooperation.
    • Diplomatic negotiations in international disputes.
    • International organization.
    Abstract:
      Arild Underdal's "law of the least ambitious program" is properly pessimistic about the prospects for cooperation in the international system where nations must give their consent to be bound by meaningful commitments. Those pessimistic expectations are now being revealed in the collective efforts to address the problem of climate change, notably through the Kyoto Protocol. Overcoming Underdal's law requires narrowing the numbers of countries that participate in key climate agreements and tailoring membership so that just the most important countries are engaged and there are strong incentives to avoid defection. At the same time, the effectiveness of cooperative efforts would gain from fuller use of nonbinding instruments, review procedures and high level conferences—as were put to effective use in the North Sea cooperation, for example—in addition to legally binding international law through instruments such as the Kyoto Protocol. Sadly, most of the conventional wisdom runs the opposite direction, favoring binding treaties among large numbers of countries.
    Skjærseth, Jon Birger.
    Stokke, Olav Schram, 1961-
    Wettestad, Jørgen, 1955-
  • Soft Law, Hard Law, and Effective Implementation of International Environmental Norms
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    Subject Headings:
    • Environmental protection -- International cooperation.
    • Environmental law, International.
    • International organization.
    Abstract:
      The article compares the interplay between soft law institutions and those based on hard law in international efforts to protect the North Sea, reduce transboundary air pollution, and discipline fisheries subsidies. Our cases confirm that ambitious norms are more easily achieved in soft law institutions than in legally binding ones, but not primarily because they bypass domestic ratification or fail to raise concerns for compliance costs. More important is the greater flexibility offered by soft law instruments with respect to participation and sectoral emphasis. Second, ambitious soft law regimes put political pressure on laggards in negotiations over binding rules, but this effect is contingent on factors such as political saliency and reasonably consensual risk and option assessment. Third, hard-law instruments are subject to more thorough negotiation and preparation which, unless substantive targets have been watered down, makes behavioral change and problem solving more likely. Finally, although most of the evidence presented here confirms the implementation edge conventionally ascribed to hard law institutions, the structures for intrusive verification and review that provide part of the explanation can also be created within soft law institutions.
    Young, Oran R.
    Zürn, Michael.
  • The International Regimes Database: Designing and Using a Sophisticated Tool for Institutional Analysis
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    Subject Headings:
    • International regimes database.
    • Environmental law, International -- Databases.
    • Environmental law, International -- Research.
    Abstract:
      This article presents the International Regimes Database (IRD), an analytical tool designed to (i) move regime analysis from its current emphasis on the use of discrete case studies to the use of a relational database encompassing comparable data on a large number of cases and (ii) facilitate quantitative as well as qualitative analyses of hypotheses dealing with international regimes. The article describes the architecture of this database, introduces some preliminary findings relating to compliance, decision rules, and programmatic activities, and discusses methodological issues pertaining to the use of the database on the part of other scholars. It provides a short and easily accessible introduction to the book-length treatment of the IRD contained in: Helmut Breitmeier, Oran R. Young, and Michael Zürn, Analyzing International Environmental Regimes, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.



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