Necessary participation was and remains a constructed political choice rather than a natural or rational one. Ozone depletion began as a global problem requiring negotiations among a small subset of states. By 1990, this view of the problem was obsolete. The transition that occurred was table enlargement from twenty-five seats at Geneva in 1986 to ninety-six in London in 1990. The key to understanding the historically dependent normative nature of participation is realizing that neither the thirty in 1986, nor the one hundred in 1990 were objectively determined by the nature of the ozone depletion problem or through rational choice. In 1986, the South produced 5.5 percent of the world's ozone-depleting substances and in 1990 this had only risen to 7.5 percent.205 It was not the South's production or consumption that concerned the North in 1989-90. It was the potential of the South to do future damage—a potential that remained unchanged in the 1986-1990 period. However, in 1986 the South did not see itself as having a stake and the North "knew" it controlled the problem—understandings that lasted until 1987. If ozone depletion speaks for itself, why did it not say "universal participation" in 1986 and why did it not say just add China, India, and Brazil in 1990?
The answer is that the universal participation norm came to define the ozone depletion problem in the course of the negotiations as the norm life cycle/CAS framework predicted and the Pick a Number model demonstrated. Tolba and UNEP suggested a new way to define the ozone depletion problem. This suggestion initially only reached a small number of states, but as per the model dynamics, the altered behavior of these few states began to alter the social context for all states—destabilizing an extant norm of North-only participation. As a critical mass of states that used Tolba's suggestion as their operating rule emerged, the U.S. rule model diverged from the social context. This led the United States to negatively evaluate its rule model, opening the way for a shift in its operating rule. The social complexity associated with participation requirements in the ozone depletion negotiations was low due to the work of Tolba and the actions of Southern states, and thus the United States seamlessly made the transition to universal participation. The flow of events in the ozone depletion negotiations matches the predictions of the framework and model. The norm life cycle/CAS framework is able to explain the emergence of the universal participation norm.
Thus, what we see in the ozone depletion case is more than a story about cooperation and negotiation, more than a story about the effect of science and the roles of international organizations and NGOs and industry. Rather, the ozone depletion case is a crucial stage in the development of an understanding that some environmental problems require the active participation of all (or most) the nations of the world. During the course of these negotiations, the international community constructed a new global response to ozone depletion, defining the problem in a new way such that the North became concerned about the potential Southern contributions to ozone depletion and Southern states became full participants in governance processes. The global response had come to be associated with a requirement for universal participation and the ramifications of such a change would soon be felt in the climate change negotiations.
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