Controversy: Bureaucracy Power vs. Environment Term Paper

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¶ … Power of the Bureaucracy on the Environment

International agreements are difficult to come by. Finding a middle ground on which independent, sovereign nations can agree can take months, even years, to do, and is not always even possible. Compromises on all parts are necessary, since what may be in the best interest of one nation can actually be directly detrimental to another; regulations that do not overly favor or overtly discriminate against any nation or region are necessary before agreements can be reached.

One recent example of this is the debate over the Kyoto Protocol, an international set of standards regarding environmental issues; specifically regarding the emissions allowed by each nation which are negatively affecting climate change in our globe. Global emissions is an issue that cannot be regulated by one nation alone; even if one nation reduces its pollutants and improves its air quality, other nations share the same air and may not be protecting their air quality as well. As scholars in the area of environmental lawmaking have stated, the problem in pollution is not one that any nation working alone can solve;."..cross-border industrial pollution, the degradation of shared rivers, or the pollution of adjacent seas [are all issues]." IThe issue of environmental pollutants is one that has to be shared by the world's nations together, with cooperation and compromise on all sides.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Controversy: Bureaucracy Power vs. Environment Assignment

But the nations of the world do not always get along; in fact, they fight wars, dispute territories, and disagree on methods of governance. Some rule by a majority of the citizens, some rule with a single dictator, and many are still figuring out what system works best for them. Many have significant income from industry, which might make them less amenable to regulating pollutant emissions since it will cost these industries money; on the other side of that coin are the nations whose main source of income is tourism of their natural resources-beaches, clear water, lush wildlife. These nations have a vested interest in limiting pollutants because the very thing-industry-that is a source of profit for other countries is what is detracting from the appeal of their own.

Disputes in current worldwide groups like the United Nations and regional organizations (like NATO or the Organization of Latin American States, for example) do not give an optimistic outlook for the world's ability to compromise when it comes to environmental regulations. Hurrell and Kingsbury note that the dichotomy between "ecological interdependence on the one hand and the fragmentation of the international political system on the other" creates huge tensions between environmental protection and state autonomy. Even if all of the world was in agreement (which will likely never happen), the levels of bureaucracy necessary to enforce the regulations will significantly slow the process. For example, if the U.N. passes a regulation that applies to all nations, and all of the nations agree to it (a rare occurrence), there is still the need for inspections of each nation to ensure compliance, a huge undertaking with regard to manpower and time. Once inspections are completed, any nation found not to be in compliance must be first encouraged and then possibly forced to get its programs in line with those elsewhere in the world. This could take years of the nation claiming to be in compliance, inspectors finally determining that it is not, and then the nation claiming that it is taking steps toward compliance. The battle for uniform worldwide standards, in any area, not just environmental emissions, will be a complicated, drawn-out procedure involving many levels of bureaucrats-at the international, rule-making level all the way down to the "boots on the ground" level of inspectors.

There must be punishments or enforceable measures for nations that are found not to comply. The details of how long a nation has to comply and in what manner it will be determined that they have failed to comply to the standards will take a massive bureaucratic effort, using thousands of hours of research, of manpower on the ground, and then of deciding on a proper method of enforcement. This bureaucratic effort is a huge factor in why the world has not adopted a uniform model of environmental standards-even if a compromise can be reached with all the world's nations, who will pay for the inspectors? Who will pay for bringing the industries up to standard -- the nation at fault, or the world community as a whole? If a nation is found to be noncompliant, there is a likelihood that it is that way because it cannot afford to install or invent methods of industrialization that are not polluting. If this is the case, should other nations have to provide financially for the improvements?

As shown by these very general examples, creating a bureaucratic standard and enforcement mechanism for environmental regulations is going to be an incredibly difficult task. Questions of who sets the rules, of who will pay for their enforcement, and of how, logistically, this will all be accomplished are easily evident when discussing the creation of a worldwide bureaucracy. These problems are demonstrated by the issues surrounding the International Atomic Energy Agency today. The IAEA faces problems very similar to the ones listed above; as an international regulatory agency it must answer to not only a CEO, for example, or to the voting public of its home country, but to every nation in the world, many of whom have very different goals.

The issues of which countries may develop nuclear weapons and if they are complying with international treaties is always a hot topic in international relations-recent questions about Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs are at the forefront of any debate regarding nuclear power in the world; the enforcement of treaties and regulation of nuclear weapons by the IAEA is a constant struggle made more difficult by the fact that some nations haven't even signed on to the relevant nuclear treaties, making them basically independent from IAEA regulation.

For the purpose of argument, we will assume that the Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect in February 2005 and regulates the environmental emissions allowed by the nations of the globe, is the most relevant and recent point of comparison when examining the role of a bureaucracy in environmental issues. Since the adoption and enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol were so hotly debated and occurred so recently, it serves as a current, disputed issue facing the world's bureaucratic systems.

The same issue that faces the international community in regards to nuclear regulation of nations that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty described above applies to nations that are not a party to the Kyoto Protocol. The United States has "refus[ed] to contemplate anything that compels, as distinct from encourages, U.S. citizens and industry to cut their greenhouse gas emissions." This roadblock to international reduction of greenhouse emissions may effectively render the entire Kyoto Protocol useless in reducing air pollution. If the United States, a huge industrial nation, chooses not to abide by the Protocol, then the efforts of other nations to do so will be rendered basically useless as we all share the same air and same ozone layer; in other words, the emissions of the United States will not only effect the United States, they will seep into other countries' air supply and effect the globe as a whole.

The essential quality of a bureaucratic system is that it allows large organizations to be regulated in a methodical and equal manner; the international bureaucracy tries to regulate global standards on everything from the treatment of prisoners of war to the pollution of shared rivers and is hard-pressed to influence powerful nations who do not wish to be regulated. This is evident in the United States' refusal to abide by Kyoto; when a powerful actor does not want to abide by the bureaucratic rules, the flaw in these large organizations becomes obvious-allowing voluntary participation encourages independent behavior, even at the cost of other members. U.S. unwillingness to regulate its own emissions controls leaves the rest of the bureaucracy -- the nations which have chosen to abide by the protocol-at a loss for enforcement measures.

As a completely voluntary association, international bureaucracies like the IAEA and the UN face the incredible difficulty of convincing powerful actors that abiding by standard rules is not only in the best interest of the world, but in their best interest as well. The IAEA faces this dilemma with the proliferation of nuclear weapons in nations who are not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, namely, Israel, Pakistan, and India.

It is impossible for the IAEA, a voluntary organization, to regulate these nations since they have not, as sovereign entities, agreed to international regulation. In much the same manner, UN protocols on the environment like Kyoto are impossible to impose upon the entire world without the consent of each and every independent actor to whom they would apply.

These organizations have been helped in recent years by the influence of non-governmental organizations, or NGOs. These… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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