THE ENVIRONMENT

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  • Created by: imogenkay
  • Created on: 14-05-17 14:31

TOPICS

1) ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

2) DEVLEOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT

3) EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

4) IR AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Traditional IR:

  • Neglect environmental issues (e.g. Realism)
  • Morgenthau (1955): natural environment as contextual factor/ constiituent of national power
  • Environmental change suspected of contriubuting to conflict in Syria (famine, drought)
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ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Climate Change:

  • Greenhouse gases altering the ability of the environment (heat trapped)
  • Increase of methane/ co2

Global Temperature:

  • Average global temp increased
  • Always occured regardless of human activity but we are speeding up processes
  • Industrial Revolution

Pollution:

  • Anthropocene period: current geological age viewed as period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the environment
  • Pacific Garbage Patch: collection of marine debris (mainly plastics)
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ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Of global concern - global solutions/response? (No individual state can deal with it alone)

Since the Industrial Revolution, humans capacity to cause harm has increased significantly

Humans living beyond carrying capacity of the planet (overusing resources)

Things we depend on as human beings (e.g water) are threatened by our activities (e.g. desertification - climate affects crops)

Complex relationship between development and environment (industrialisation = pollution but once past early devleopment society will be cleaner for it)

Water, atmosphere, and stable climate threatened

IR overlooked the environment until recently

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DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Two perspectivs on development and the environment:

Optimists: (Pro-development)

  • Economic growth essential to handle environment
  • Promotion of global integration - common standards ect..
  • Evidence of real environmental change questionable
  • Progress
  • Once past the ealy stages a state will participate in cleaner activities (e.g. Britain)

Pessimists:

  • Leading to global decay (human activities causing harm)
  • Ecological footprint of economic growth
  • Lack of concern for sustainability and inequality (Western states causing problems for other countries e.g. Bangladesh sea level rise)
  • Localisation needed? (Green IR promotes)

Many would argue that globalisation is negative for the environment

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DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT

History of global environmentalism:

Humans attempts to control nature go back 10,000 years

(Mutual resources being used e.g. metals, forests)

Industrial Revolution hugely increased human capacity to harm environment

  • Use of fossil fuels started
  • Huge population growth
  • Smogs
  • Extinctions (overfishing and overhunting)
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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Primary concerns:

  • Conservation of resources (early 20th C - concerned about Industrialisation)
  • Damage caused by pollution

No respect to borders

Post WW2: evidence increases for human damage to environment (e.g. 'hole' in ozone layer found 1985) - scientific knowledge expands

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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Sustainable development is important

There have been conferences in the last few decades

More attempts to improve recently (apart from Trump)

e.g. UN Biosphere Conference 1968, UN Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009

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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm 1972):

First global conference for State Officials

Contrasting priorities:

North = pollution, conservation ect...

South = Not stop development

Who would pay? Who was responsible? - Poverty was greatest environmental problem

Result - reconcile need for economic development with protection of environment

Showed environmental issues not taken seriously at this time

Few practical commitments (but environmental factors slowly moving to agenda)

Was 70s a good time to help environment? (Oil crisis affected the West)

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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

1980s:

  • Environmental issues go further down the agenda
  • Conservative governments elected in US and UK (less action) - Thatcher & Raegan
  • Scientists and NGOs more concerned (agreements still signed)
  • Urgency (Chernobyl & Chemical Plant explosion India 1984 - worst industrial accident)
  • Focus on sustainable development by the end of the 80s (meet needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations)
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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Brundtland Commission and 'sustainable development' 1987:

  • Our Common Future (Report)
  • Watershed in evolution of environmental debates
  • North support South in sustainable development (tried to strike compromise with economic development - positive, inevitable) - Transfer of aid and technology
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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Rio (Earth) Summit 1992:

  • UN Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED)
  • Sustainable development formed core
  • Results = UN Framework Convention on Climate Change & Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Notable documents = Rio Declaration on Environment and Development & Agenda 21
  • One of the most important conferences (normally states reluctant to take on financial burdens)
  • Set responsibilities of states
  • Hailed as great success but critics worried about lack of funds
  • More radical environmentalists attacked Brundtland and definition of sustainable development
  • Other issues picked at in relation e.g. role of women
  • 90s - environmental issues slip down the agenda again
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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg 2002):

  • Evaluate progress of sustainable development
  • Implement Millnnium Development Goals (eradication of poverty/ education ect..)
  • Added impact of globalisation on sustainable development and timetables to reach goals
  • Helped focus attention on environment
  • More realistic but not sinere? (To tackle climate change)
  • Later conferences great concern
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EFFORTS TO COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

UN Climate Change Conference (Paris 2015):

  • Did it see progress? (Won't know until 2020s)
  • 195 countries saw first universal legally-binding global climate deal
  • Enters into force 2020
  • Try to stop planet's temperature rising about 1.5C
  • Reduction in global emissions (peak soon and strive for rapid reductions afterwards)
  • Trumps approach to the environment? (Not serious)
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IR AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Green Thought:

Light greens:

  • Supportive of current structures
  • Do not interrupt economic growth (reformist - can reform withn the current system)

Dark greens:

  • Radical appraoch begins with assumption that core practices will have consequences for future generations
  • Some believe we should live in communities and remove the state (anarchy) or have environmental dictatorships
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IR AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Mainstream:

Regime analysis commonly applied (to examine environmental change)

Regime: 'sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures around which actos' expectations converge in a given area of international relations' - (Krasner 1983)

Phases:

  • Recognition of problem
  • Negotiation of rules and decision-making procedures
  • Implement agreeement to meet obligations
  • Continuing amendments

Regimes tend to be weak (don't have a powerful affect on states)

Liberal school of IR

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IR AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Ozone Regime:

  • One of the most successful (all countries on board quickly and stopped using)
  • Chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) used in aerosols, fridges ect..
  • 1974: Molina and Sherwood Rowland hypothesise CFCs are damaging ozone layer
  • 1985: 'hole' found in ozone layer
  • 1987: Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
  • Developing countries joined
  • Ozone should repair itself
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IR AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Climate Change Regime:

  • More complex problem that requires more sacrifices
  • Earth temperatures rising
  • Melting ice caps could displace millions
  • Critics see climate change occurring because of core activities (significant changes required)
  • 1997 Kyoto Protocol core agreement (US withdrew support in 2001)
  • Still need to massively reduce emissions
  • Kyoto calls for single figure reductions but Greenpeace estimates we need to reduce by 80%
  • Mainly only Europe concerned
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SUMMARY

  • Industrial Revolution has led to huge increase in human harm to the environment
  • Global problems - no single state can deal with them
  • Efforts to combat problems have grown over the years
  • What to do? How to ensure action? What action is needed?
  • Environmental probelms could become much more serious in the future
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