Hie Ozone Depletion Negotiations and Universal Participation

Universal participation was a normative position internalized before the climate change negotiations began. Positive reinforcement of the universal participation rule after the London Amendment negotiations led to its use in the next global environmental problem to arise—there was a stable, low complexity social context as all states understood that the appropriate rule to follow was the universal participation norm. The experience of the ozone depletion negotiations and the rule model alterations that the United States underwent because of them shaped U.S. climate change activities. This is in line with the expectations of the NLC/CAS framework and the model.

This final link warrants further attention. It is likely impossible to show a definitive link between ozone depletion and climate change (ruling out all other possibilities for the source of the U.S. commitment to universal participation), and the context of climate change did not solely consist of the ozone depletion negotiations.24 However, two major factors make the link plausible. First, the MP negotiations were, to a large degree, used as a model for the climate change negotiations. Second, the MP negotiations represented a breakpoint change in how environmental issues were viewed in both the North and the South.

The prelude to the climate change negotiations (1988-1990) was also the period of adjustment for the MP. It is clear that the actors involved with adjusting the protocol (by 1989 well over one hundred states and multiple NGOs and IGOs) had climate change in the back of their minds as well. Within UNEP, Tolba was actively linking the two issues. Already in February 1988, he began to articulate MP lessons for use in addressing climate change.25 This notion of building on the MP process carried through to the IPCC process and the SWCC. At an October 1989 meeting of the IPCC, most of the forty-three states in attendance "supported the early development of a new framework convention fashioned after the existing Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer."26 At the SWCC, the Swiss president in an address to the ministerial conference stressed:

It is undoubtedly true that we are not tackling a global environmental problem for the first time. The Conference on the Protection of the Ozone Layer . . . serves to illustrate our firm commitment to taking concrete measures in response to a global threat.27

In addition, there was a core group of officials, both in the United States and internationally, that worked on both issues.28 One U.S. official opined that this group wanted to remake the climate process in

ozone s image.29

The notion that the ozone negotiations paved the way for climate change was prevalent in the United States as well.30 In 1988 when Richard Smith of the State Department was asked at a congressional hearing about using the ozone experience as a model for climate change, he noted that while climate change was not in the same place as ozone (in terms of being ready for negotiations), the responses should follow the same kind of path.31 In addition, in early 1990, when the United States announced its intention to host the first true negotiating session, the Los Angeles Times reported that "[t]he United States would prefer that efforts to negotiate an international agreement controlling emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases . . . follow the pattern of the negotiations leading to international controls on chlorofluorocarbons."32

The U.S. experience in addressing ozone depletion pervaded its strategizing for addressing climate change at both a broad philosophical level as well as in practicalities. William Nitze told Congress in 1989 that "[o]ur experimentation in the specific area of CFCs I think will give us valuable experience in how we should tackle the broader question of technology transfer to address global warming."33 Again, the U.S. actions just prior to the London negotiations in 1990 speak loudly about the impact of ozone on climate change. The Bush administration was specifically worried about the precedent the Multilateral Fund would create for climate change. The United States already had felt the influence of the ozone negotiations on its and the international community's view of climate change and was desperately trying to alter the consequences of what was already understood—universal participation.34

The ozone depletion negotiations were crucial because they represented a change in the perception of global environmental problems and a precedent for all of the environmental problems that followed. The Worldwatch Institute proclaimed, "It is clear that the Montreal Protocol ushered in a new era of environmental diplomacy."35 There was a sea change in what was deemed appropriate and/or necessary after the MP negotiations. This influence was felt in everything from the structure of the agreements negotiated (convention-protocol-amendment) to the substance of the discussions (technology transfer and financial aid).36

Notions of appropriate participation were perhaps the largest influence of the ozone negotiations. Bodansky noted that the MP negotiations were a part of a transformation in environmental politics that put South-North issues on center stage.37 Horwitz recalled, "[Y]ou went from a period in 1987 when there were those twenty-five or thirty countries around the table, to a situation in 1989-90 when the London amendments came around to where there was one hundred ten countries around the table."38 He further argued:

There is an extreme change in global view of environmental issues. I think some of which was spurred on by the negotiations on the MP and in many ways the protocol set positive precedents and in some ways it may have set some negative precedents too. You could not now have an environmental negotiation on any issue and only have twenty-five or thirty countries around the table. The UNEP process is now geared to a much more inclusive process. I don't think they would ever consider holding an environmental negotiation on a global issue without inviting and having much, much wider participation. It wouldn't be seen as credible. But back then, it was seen as credible. Hell, you could have had that group [ozone negotiations] mostly in an OECD meeting. . . . So, it's just a different world we live in only a decade later in terms of environmental negotiations . . . it's just night and day.39

Very simply, as Stephen Andersen recalled, developing countries have been absolutely involved in ozone and as a consequence they understand that they will be absolutely involved in climate.40

The early development of the climate change policy problem took place just as the ozone depletion negotiations were climaxing in the 1987 Montreal Protocol and the 1990 London Amendment. The normative understandings generated in these negotiations locked in throughout the international community and critically structured how the characteristics of climate change would be defined in a political sense. As discussed in chapter 3, agents' rule models are generalized rules that allow agents to take action in a multitude of similar situations. States preparing to address climate change already had a rule ready to apply to this next global environmental problem—universal participation. Further, this rule specified that global environmental problems entailed common but differentiated responsibilities and that a global response consisted of universal participation in negotiations with Northern leadership on specific actions and Northern support (financial and technological) for Southern actions. From the outset, the global response to climate change was characterized by these exact same characteristics. Ozone depletion politics were the cru cible for the initial definition of climate change—a definition that came to determine the shape of the successive negotiations.41

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

Always wanted to get a better deal but didn't have the needed negotiation skills? Here are some of the best negotiation theories. The ability to negotiate is a skill which everyone should have. With the ability to negotiate you can take charge of your life, your finances and your destiny. If you feel that others are simply born with the skill to negotiate, you should know that everyone can learn this wonderful skill.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment