Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Edward A. Parson. 1993. Protecting the Ozone Layer

Edward A. Parson. 1993. "Protecting the Ozone Layer." In Institutions for the Earth: Sources of Effective International Environmental Protection. Peter M. Haas, Robert O. Keohane and Marc A. Levy, eds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 27-73.

This chapter traces the history of international action on the ozone layer and national ratifications and responses, and analyzes the determinants of the international agenda and action, in particular the influence of international institutions on the outcomes. 

  • Late 1970s: 
    • United States regulators ban CFC aerosols except for a few essential uses since aerosol sprays were regarded as a frivolous and expendable use. Other countries that did similarly include: Canada, Sweden, and Norway. 
    • First significant international initiate of ozone took place: a UN Environment program-sponsored (UNEP) Washington meeting in March 1977, with representatives from thirty-three nations and the Commission of the European Community (EC).
  • Late 1970s and early 1980s:
    • Anti-regulatory pressure from industries encouraged deadlock on discussions regarding controls. Growth and new application markets for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) reversed the declines in CFCs that followed the aerosol bans. U.S. and world production surpassed their pre-ban levels in 1984.
    • Research into substitutes for CFCs stopped in the early 1980s.
  • Late 1980s:
    • Research into substitutes for CFCs resumed. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbions (HCFCs) were more difficult and expensive to manufacture. HFCs caused no ozone depletion. HCFCs and HFCs both contributed 
    • Bills introduced in the United States in during 1987 called for unilateral CFC cuts by the United States and trade restrictions against countries who did not reciprocate. 
    • The end of international negotiations in Montreal in September 1987 results in, among other things:
      • 50 percent cuts from 1986 levels of production and consumption of five principal CFCs by 1999, with interim controls consisting of a freeze in 1990 and a 20 percent cut in 1994.
      • several restrictions on trade with non-parties; bulk imports of restricted substances from non-parties were prohibited in 1990; bulk exports were prohibited from 1993; imports from non-parties of products containing controlled substances were banned (with the possibility of opting out by formal objection) from 1992. 
      • parties pooling information about the effect of CFCs and agreeing to meet at regular 4-year intervals. 
    • In 1988, the EPA, European industry council, the Imperial Chemical Industries, and a major CFC producer Dupont all endorsed a phaseout of CFCs. 
    • In May 1989 in Helsinki, 80 nations signed an endorsement of phaseout by 2000.
  • Determinants of agenda and international decisions:
    • Information and the certainty of the science
      • Lack of information resulted in innocuous measures. 
      • Science defined key elements of the negotiating agenda.
    • Public and media attention
    • United States leadership on the issue from early 1986
    • Assessment panels provided a channel for science to feed directly into the negotiation process from a forum with the stamp of international objectivity and authoritativeness.
  • Altering state behavior: what did the institutions do?
    • Institutions advanced the process by building concern and improving the contractual environment. 
    • International institutions developed capacity to cut CFCs where it did not formerly exist and provided incentives to laggards. Trade sanctions were decisive in some countries' decision to join and in the energetic compliance by non-parties such as Taiwan and Korea. 
    • International institutions limited spurious scientific disagreement as a tactic to obstruct negotiations, increased the general level of concern and urgency, and provided formal standing for Tolba (executive director of the UNEP), enabling him to exercise strong personal leadership.
    •  Institutional changes concerning meetings, expert assessment, and treaty review ere of decisive importance for realizing stronger controls in 1990s. 

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