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Montreal Protocol Effectiveness And International Relations Theory Politics Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2845 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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International Relations theory (IR) involves the development of theoretical frameworks and theories to assist and make easy the comprehension and explanations of events and circumstances in world politics, as well as the explanations of correlate policies and practices. Three of the theories that come from the IR are: realism, that considers self-interested states struggle continuously for power or security and also considers and values the power relations between states as its fundamental variable; liberalism, which worries for power dominate by political and economical concerns and identify several ways to reduce the conflict among states, and constructivism, which think about the state behaviour is shaped by elite beliefs, social identities and common norms; additionally, considers the interests and characteristics of states as a highly malleable product of specific historical. In the arena of global environmental issues can be locate The Montreal Protocol (1987), which is an international treaty created mainly to defend the ozone layer by decrease the productions of a number of elements considered to be the cause for ozone depletion as the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The purpose of this paper is assessing the effectiveness of the Montreal protocol in relation to its objectives and explains the level of success using some of the schools of thought of the IR. To do this, will be outlined an overview of the international regime and international environmental politics, followed by an assessment of how successfully the Montreal Protocol’s objectives have been achieved making use of a few theories of regime theory. In general, it is argued that The Montreal Protocol is effective because it has been successful in regard to its aims.

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The end of the Cold War and the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) generated international environmental issues both intellectually and politically more important. The well usage of advertisements related with global environmental threats that may have a deep effect on the welfare of all humankind such as the depletion of the ozone layer and global climate change, have conferred to global environmental issues a higher status in world politics. Additionally, global economic, environmental and demographic macrotends illustrate important alterations that drive ecologic politics. The Montreal Protocol (1987) illustrates one of the most important changes in politics related with the global ecology.

Understanding global environmental politics require be familiar with terms as international regime, a concept that has been described in two singular ways. According to the first meaning, a regime is a group of norms, rules, or decision-making process, whether explicit or implicit, that generates some union in the actor’s prospects in a particular issue area. This is a general definition and has been firmly disapproved; because, include arrangements that are simply patterned interactions, operational frameworks, and even techniques to agree or disagree with no long term stability. Regarding to the second meaning, the one that will be used in this paper, a regime is a combinations of rules, principles, norms, and institutions that actors generate or admit to control and manage activities in a particular issue area of international relations. The Montreal Protocol which is the focus of this paper manages the problem related with the ozone depletion under the umbrella of a global regime.

Two of the dimensions that comprise the environmental politics are the environmental outcomes of the economic or other activity in question and the state and non-state actors involved. Even though the state, which is the principal actor in the international system, it is born the single source, and the participation of other actors often become critical. If the effects exceed more than one international region, or the actors surpass more than one region or are worldwide, the activities and the outcome are considerate to be a global environmental issue. The trouble associated with the depletion of the ozone layer surpass the country’s border, as a result the actions of The Montreal protocol are considered part of an international problem.

In many areas of the international relations such as money, trade, environment, communications and others regime can be identified. As a consequence, regime obtains a good deal of theoretical and pragmatic consideration and attention from intellectuals of international relations and are between the most important and notorious consequences of the long-standing investigation into global cooperation, mainly into why, under what kind of circumstances and how states try to collaborate or generate global institutions and what causes influence the success of such efforts. The Montreal Protocol is not the exception; it has been criticized by different intellectuals and schools of thought in relation with its creation, objectives and in general the perception that it has been a success regime.

Most regimes center on a compulsory contract or legal mechanism. For international environmental problems, the most frequent class of legal instrument is a convention. It can enclose all the obligatory responsibilities projected to be established or followed by a more specific legal instrument, called protocol that involves more explicit and precises norms and rules. If a convention is negotiated in anticipation that parties will discuss one or more following highly structured texts, it is known as framework convention. The framework convention generally set up a group of principles, goals for cooperation, and norms on the problem, additionally, how the affiliates of the regimes will get together and take decisions. In the case of the Montreal protocol, it started with a framework convention before adding regulatory protocols.

The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1985) had a significant impact over the creation of the Montreal protocol. For instance, The Vienna Convention that delineates nation’s responsibilities for conserve and takes care of the human health and the environment regarding the bad consequences of ozone depletion launched the framework under that the Montreal Protocol was discussed. On September 16, 1987 was signed by twenty four countries and the European Economic Community (ECC) the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Protocol Layer. The Protocol also was approved by over seventy states as of October 1991; this process had revealed a new stage in global environmental cooperation inception and the beginning of an international ozone regime. The Protocol was a big step forward with regard to binding requirement and specificity.

The Protocol has called for the parties to decrease the employ of human-made Ozone Depleting Chemicals (ODCs). Scientific theory and evidence comment that once send out to the atmosphere, these compound chemicals could considerably diminish the stratospheric ozone layer that defend and protect the earth from harmful and destructive UV-B radiation. For example, The Protocol requires that the fabrication and utilization of CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, hidrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), hydroclorofluorocarbons (HFCFs), methyl bromide (CH3Br) and bromochloromethane (BCM) and other ODCs have to be diminishing by 2010, 2015 and 2030.

The political development on Montreal Protocol regime is featured by a chronological approach: first of all, the acceptance of a framework convention (1985) with a small number of obligations in relation of precise measures, then agreement on a protocol (1987), and finally protocol modifications gradually increasing the member’s promise to freeze, diminish and phase out major ozone depleting chemicals (1990,1992,1995). Moreover, each step of this development appears to be linked with the progressively increased scientific understanding of the ozone problem. Since the point of Realism’s theory, the Protocol is ineffective as for this school of thought international politics is about repetition, not about change or reform.

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The neoliberalism theory in International Relations approves some arguments such as, the international system is anarchic, the significance of power, and the states are rational. In addition this theory gives an important point to the international cooperation. Robert Keohane who is one of the principal protectors of the neoliberalism school affirms that the pursuit of power may be well-matched with global cooperation. Global Cooperation has been one of the principals achievements derived from The Montreal Protocol. Currently there are hundred and ninety-one Parties to this treaty, showing a vast level of international participation than almost any other agreement administered and supervised by the UN. One example that reflects the achievements of the Protocol in relation with the collaboration within the members is that the 95% of the manufacture and employ of the substances supervised by the Protocol have been phased out. In addition, developing countries despite their multiple challenges have accomplished a diminution of over 72%. Important multinationals have contributed to the accomplishment of goal of international collaboration. For example, DuPont the world’s principal CFC manufacturer announced in March 1988 that it would discontinue the production of CFCs and halons by the end of the century and increase the speed related with new studies and investigations to find substitutes. DuPont’s resolution points up the success of the Montreal Protocol. Additionally, for the liberalism theory the uncertainty also plays a key role in this regime, because it promotes the collaborations among the regime’s members. In conclusion, since the point of view of the neoliberalism though, the Protocol has been perceived as a successful environmental treaty in relation with its goal of cooperation between the Parties.

Seeing as a perspective of the Constructivism theory, The Montreal Protocol is an effective international environmental agreement. For instance, at the same time as the states have the same opinion related with specific numerical diminution objectives within coincided timeframes, no rules were set down as the way how those decreases were to be accomplished. This feature permits to try with different applications and methods adapted to their exact situations and conditions and develop, administrate and adjust their execution performing plans to allow them to realize the agreed goals in the most professional and efficient manner probable. Under the constructivist’s vision, the Protocol’s flexibility linked with the accomplish of the objectives permit the Parties to be more focus on ideas about how to achieve the objectives instead of confer more attention to material forces such as military.

The constructivism theory in regards to the argument that states be supposed to be more center on ideas rather than material forces classify the Montreal Protocol as a success international environmental regime. For people who belong to this school of thought, the usage of military and economic as material resources only may gain connotation though the configuration of shared knowledge and information they exist in. In relation with the Montreal Protocol, it was more center on ideas rather than material forces and, as a consequence this situation help to explain its success. For instance, the science played an exceptionally significant part in supplying policymaker with a high sense of certainty that the issue of ozone layer depletion was genuine and gives good reason for instantaneous actions at the international level. The global scientific consensus permitted scientists to cooperate with diplomats; as a consequence, this allowed the economic and political heads to assertively comprehended the scientific process at hand, to totally support the necessary research, and to organize on a global basis to evaluate the hazard of a lack of action, and the necessity for an urgent and complete international solution to ozone depletion. The implementation of a closed helping procedure between scientist and diplomats confirms the effectiveness of the Montreal’s goal of global cooperation and also supports the argument of an effective treaty since the constructivism’s theory point of view in regards to the importance of the ideas.

The Montreal Protocol is considered successful as the intermediation of a multilateral institution by the constructivism and liberalism theory because it is the process, not the structure that establishes how countries interact with each other. The United Nations Environment Programs was exceptionally competent in conducting the negotiations and managing the ad hoc working groups of diplomats and scientists leading up to the Protocol. UNEP was competent to respect national interests, particularly with developing countries; organize and mobilize data and notify the public during negotiations and execution of the Protocol; force governments to become wider the Protocol to an international dimension; and supply an objective, global forum for negotiations that focused on the mission and did not become extensive, irrelevant political debates (Benedick, 1998). Under the direction of Mostafa Tolba, an Egyptian scientist, the negotiations were developed through his well-built encouragement for the role of the countries and residents not at the bargaining table, particularly developing states. UNEP and its guidance was “a model for effective multilateral action” (Benedick, 1998). In sum up, social values and communication, form state’s identities and a consequence their behaviour.

In summarize, the Montreal Protocol started with a framework convention before adding regulatory protocols. It was signed in 1987 by twenty four countries and the European Economic Community and is argued to be an effective global regime in relation with its purposes. The Protocol represented a big step forward with regard to binding requirement and specificity. The main purpose of this international environmental regime is to protect the ozone layer by phase out the fabrication and utilization of human-made Ozone Deplete Chemicals (ODCs), such as the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The Protocol incorporated precise assess and timetable for diminish the manufacturing and employs of the ODCs. Furthermore, the Protocol has been defines a one of the best regimes related with ecologic issues, as created the ecologic conscience among the members. As a consequence, different schools of thought of International Relations theory such as liberalism, realism and constructivism have pronounced different point of views in regards with the Protocol’s effectiveness. For example, the neoliberalism theory and his supporter Robert Keohane argument that the ozone regime is successful as it has contributed to the global cooperation. One reason that supports this argument is that for liberalist the uncertainty also plays a key role in this regime, because it promotes the collaboration among the regime’s members. The constructivism theory also perceives the Protocol as a successful agreement, but since other point of views. For instance, the Parties of the treaty have flexibility in regards to the techniques and processes utilized to achieve the goals of the treaty. This means that the procedures can be adapted to the diverse circumstances and capabilities of each member. Also this suggestion of effectiveness is strongly linked with the constructivism’s premise that explains that is more imperative to be focus in the ideas rather than material forces. For instance, the cooperation between scientist and diplomats shows that the material forces, such as military power or economic power, not always are the solution to international issues. In short words, the relationship among the political and the scientific sector was characterised by informal cooperation rather than formal institutionalisation. Additionally, constructivism school recognizes that social values and communication form state’s identities and a consequence their behaviour. This result comes from mainly of the well communication between Scientist and government leaders. The role of the UNEP presented an extremely relevant role in the Protocol’s success; this is one of the reasons of the success of the Montreal Protocol seeing as the liberalism school of thought. On the other hand, the Montreal Protocol is considered ineffective by the realism theory, because they argued that international politics is about repetition, not about change or reform. The Montreal Protocol is seemed as a successful regime by the liberalism and constructivism theory, however is considered as an ineffective treat by the realism point of view.


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