International Community in Convincing Developing Nations Term Paper

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¶ … international community in convincing developing nations to enter into, implement and enforce treaty obligations.

In recent years there have been numerous signals coming from scientists regarding the aggravating condition our planet is in. In this sense, it is considered that man, through its continuous development and industrial evolution represents a constant strain on the limited natural resources. The signal was drawn decades ago, when the level of mechanization of the means of production was somewhat limited. Given the current state of affairs, it can be said that the situation is worsening, especially taking into account the increasing number of the world's population as well as the desperate attempts of the national economies, supported by the transnational actors, to face up to the growing demand of the global society.

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From this perspective, it is important to consider the wide range of actions that have been taken or are designed to be implemented in order to limit and afterwards reduce the effects the world population, with all it encompasses, has on the environment. However, there are voices that fail to consider the implications of pollution seriously and adopt a national policy for intervening in this area. Therefore, while there are industrialized countries that have indeed signed a number of important projects, there are others that have constantly rejected to reduce its emission gas, an element that plays a major role in creating the greenhouse effect. (E.U., 2007) Therefore, the major problem facing humanity at this point is not so much the lack of professional assistance in terms of dealing with the effects of globalization, but rather the impossibility of reaching an unanimous agreement over the need to act against pollution and gas emission on the one hand and over the imperative duty of every nation, especially those which play significant roles in the world economy, to refrain from additionally jeopardizing the current state of the environment, as well as to act constructively to improve the situation.

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In order to perceive the complexity of the issue at hand, it is important to take into consideration a few elements that define the overall framework of the global environmental policy. First and foremost, throughout decades of intense debate on the matter of the ecology, a few considerations in relation to the actual causes of the degradation of the environment have emerged. For instance, according to Gjalt Huppes, one of the most important aspects that led to the pressure placed on natural resources was the 20th century energy crisis. (Huppes, 1993) in this sense, as the end of the Second World War demanded a rapid reconstruction of the economy, more and more accent was placed on the primary sources of energy. Consequently, due to the geopolitical moves that took place, especially in the Gulf area, there was a stringent need for finding either additional means of energy supplies or a firmer grip on the oil prices. Nonetheless, agreements were reached to such an extent that instead of diminishing the dependence of the developed nations on oil supplies, it only increased it, transforming crude oil in one of the most important trade currencies in the world. (Huppes, 1993)

Another cause for this extensive depletion of natural resources, a segment that represents an essential area in the overall debate on the future of the environment, is the great discrepancies that are more and more visible between the developed countries and the developing ones. On the one hand, the countries that make up the G8, along with their similar in size trading partners tend to minimize the importance of environmental issues due to the increased revenues the exploitation of natural resources brings. On the other hand, developing countries, despite the fact that their pollution capacity is smaller, in part due to their limited industrial production, cannot afford to improve their exploitation conditions and thus reduce the level of pollution and their impact on the environment. At the same time, due to the double standard that seems more and more obvious today in terms of applying the treaties related to the protection and preservation of the environment, they tend to fall behind any possibility of improving their capacity to operate according to environmentally friendly criteria. From this perspective, while some nations lack the will to abide by the rules they themselves decided upon, others cannot afford to do so. Therefore the discrepancy becomes even more obvious.

The results of these causes have been constantly estimated by scientists and today they show an aggravating situation. Huppes, when discussing the matter of energy supplies, points out that there is a considerable reserve of fossil fuels; however, "if they are used in the current manner, without real limitation on emissions, the world will become a less hospitable place." (Huppes, 1993, p317) He goes on, "all other emissions related to fossil energy consumption, such as oxides of nitrogen and sulfur (...) may make life for man, animal, and plant unpleasant, unhealthy or even impossible. It does not seem wise to use the limited capacities for regulation on a problem as improbable as energy depletion, while so many risks on real calamities and hazards still remain, such as those of substantial climate change." (Huppes, p317)

Analyzing the issue from this perspective, the question then arises over the causes and effects of the lack of action, both political and practical, coming from developed and developing countries alike.

The legal framework, more or less, is a rather coherent sum of politically and even legal binding acts. Most international organizations have taken the matter of the environment as a serious threat concerning all human kind, current generations and future ones. Relevant at this point are the Stockholm Declaration in the early 70s, the different UN resolutions on the issue of environmental protection, the environmental declarations of the OECD, as well as other act that resulted from the sessions of major organizations, think tanks, and policy units around the world. (Hohmann, 1992, Introduction) However, the most important document to date in the matter of environmental policy is considered to be the Kyoto Protocol, a document that, despite its binding nature, it failed to deliver the results it was entrusted to give.

Adopted in 1997 as the first Protocol completing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Agreement sought to legally force its signatories to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 2012. (Freestone) the revolutionary aspect concerning this new type of mechanism included the strategy of aiding by offering financial support to those less developed countries unable to cope with the pressures the complete reorientation of the economy and industrial sector in particular experienced. Still, so far, taking into account the simple fact that it took seven years to become legally binding, it comes to prove the limited political initiative and support for the initiative.

There are a certain number of issues that must be pointed out in this respect.

First and foremost, the Kyoto Protocol demands a series of certain measures that are, to a large extent available only to developed nations. In this sense, for instance, the "protection and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol (...) the promotion of sustainable forest management practices, forestation and reforestation; the promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture in light of climate change considerations; the research on, and promotion, development and increased use of, new and renewable forms of energy, of carbon dioxide sequestration technologies and of advanced and innovative environmentally sound technologies" (United Nations, 1997) all these initiatives imply additional costs on the national budgets. Poor countries such as Rwanda, for instance, despite the fact that they are one of the most vulnerable victims of the climate change phenomenon, cannot cope with the costs of the implementation of such lofty goals as the establishment of a national policy for preventing pollution. Nonetheless, it did agree to it is terms without any reservations. On the other hand however, taking the example of France, despite its ratification of the Protocol, it did reserve its right not to be held accountable for the eventual impossibility of reaching the imposed limit of emissions. (United Nations, 2007) Taking this matter into consideration, it can be said that the current state of affairs is rather bias, seeing that most developing nations can barely survive with the budgets their economies produce, and can be rightfully considered to be reluctant to changing the perspective of their long-term development plan. Moreover, even if there is political will, the costs for implementation cannot be supported by poor countries.

Another issue that can be taken into discussion is in connection with the issue of developing nations, and the attempts of the developed countries to help them implement such strategies. There have been numerous critics around the moral authority of the developed nations to advance ideas and even finance them, but, on the other hand, not to sign it, such as the case with the U.S. The major aspect of discontent is perfectly expressed by a 2004 Report pointing out… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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