International Environmental Politics

This essay investigates the literature on environmental politics. It examines the problems associated with international environmental agreements and treaties. According to the literature, these problems start with mutual mistrust between big economies and the cutthroat economic competition that has formed the basis of their relations. In order to contain this self-destructive trend, the essay suggests that the global society must begin to look differently at the question of global warming. The civil society, governments all over the world, educators and social workers must act fast to dispel the myth that global warming is a concern of the third world and that we can solve it be simply assuming it doesn’t exist at all. Furthermore, the developing countries must not look at it as another opportunity to bash at the new world and start think of it as an urgent issue that every human must do as much he can to contain it.

The idea of global warming has hit the headlines in the past three decades with the greatest concern being rapid reduction in sea levels as well as the fast and furious disappearance of the global snow cover. This has made it a global agenda especially in the United Nations forums. However, the importance of these meetings has been overshadowed with intense lobbying by the various corporate groups. These together with the high level public relations exercises that the oil and coal industries have engaged the world in have greatly shaped the politics of environmental conservation. As a result, the international community has remained in tight dilemma as to just what solutions will suffice the desperate situation (Selin, Henrik, 2011).

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The emergence of political alignment and realignments on the issue of global warming has severely retarded the efforts aimed at mitigating the global menace. The English speaking states have been strong on their support for immediate action on global warming. Indeed, they are widely said to have originated the idea altogether. Right from the beginning, the United States through President Richard Nixon advocated for the whole idea to be treated by a third force like NATO. Although NATO was initially lukewarm to adopt the idea, they later bowed down to pressure from the civil society. In the United Kingdom, the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher was very important to their adoption of electricity generation projects from the North Sea gas as well as the overall reduction of their coal generation. The same trend was replicated in Germany, Canada among others with their subsequent ratification of the Kyoto protocol. However, the raging suspicions they have with the Arab world has sent them back to the serious re-evaluation of the economic implications. According to an interview of the former US President George Bush with the Danish Broadcasting Corp, ratification of the Kyoto protocol would seriously hurt the economy of the United States. This statement had a lot of political implications considering that it is widely believed that the protocol had no serious restriction on emissions by China and Japan who are their serious competitors. (Newell, Peter, and Paterson, 2010)

The economic implications of the green politics have been quite diverse. The proposed actions on global warming have got the strongest opposition from the oil industry. Certainly, they have been actively engaged in persistent funding of organizations as well as individuals who they perceive to hold a friendly view to their economic gains to boost their bargains. Indeed, they have gone to a great extent in disagreeing with the scientific consensus that climate change is being accelerated by certain human activities. For instance, the ExxonMobil was found to be funding a team of scientists under the umbrella of “Global Climate Science Team” to the tune of $16 million between the years 1998 and 2005. These teams of scientists set forth right from the beginning to contradict the scientific proposals that were already in the global arena. This has been the complete opposite of the popular view in the nuclear energy industry. Great political figures like Margaret Thatcher initially considered the greenhouse gas to be a green alternative to the oil industry. This argument was initially brought by many countries to the extent that they almost moved to the point of binding themselves to the Kyoto protocol. However, things got more complicated when they realized the security threat of the expansion of the nuclear programs by some states. (Selin, Henrik, 2011)

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