Increasing number of international relations (IR) studies have been devoted to deal with global environmental problems. Although environmental hazards had been observed for a long time, studies on environmental problems in the realm of international relations started merely in the 1970s. Most studies on environmental problems in the field of IR could be categorized into two types of approaches. The first approach is neo-liberalistic approach. The neo-liberalism anticipates cooperation among countries to tackle global issues that are likely to cause adverse effects to all nations. This assumption works well to explain what has actually occurred in the 1980s, when various global environmental problems attracted international attention and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) were adopted for these problems. Many studies were conducted to explain how international negotiating processes were organized, how countries could overcome conflicts among them, and how these agreed MEAs could be more environmentally effective. The second approach is constructivisms' approach. This approach assumes countries' decision making to be much affected by ideas and norms. It also pays attention to roles of sub-national actors such as scientific experts, transnational companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Many studies were conducted to explain how these sub-national actors could re-flame the issue for the governments to come, or not to come, to an agreement. Especially in the last decade, new agendas began to attract attention of researchers in the field of environmental IR studies. One of such agendas is limitation of multilateralism. Not all MEAs proved to be effective enough to solve the designated environmental problem. In many cases, countries face difficulty reaching an agreement that is environmentally effective enough to solve the problem. Another agenda is overlapping of issues. For instance, tropical rain forests are perceived as to be important from perspectives of climate change, biological diversity, desertification, and fuel. There is no explicit rule as to how such overlapping issues could be resolved. This special issue, “environment and global politics,” collects studies that deal mostly with the latest research questions raised above. It could be said that this edition contributes to updating existing IR theories on global environmental problems that used to see MEAs as the core of international cooperation.
The objective of this article is to examine how international relations (IR) theory has been understood and used to analyze environmental problems and in turn how environmental studies have contributed to the development of IR theory. In order to trace the interrelationship between the two, this article analyzes international politics about global climate change. The main IR theories, which are introduced in this article, include the dyads realism/neorealism, liberalism/neoliberalism (or institutionalism), and constructivism/cognitivism. Among them the institutionalist perspective is the most useful one for the analysis of international environmental politics. However, the realist perspective, which emphasizes relative gains between states, has certain explanatory power especially to explain why international negotiations on climate change regime often result in gridlock. Furthermore, scientific knowledge plays a significant role in identifying complex problems such as climate change and biological diversity so that ideas and knowledge are crucial factors to explain international environmental politics. Two UN conferences on the environment held in 1972 and 1992 helped promote studies on international environmental politics and the main academic debates in international relations have revolved around international cooperation. Against this backdrop, international regime studies became an academic fad in the 1980s and 90s. Above all, international environmental studies led this field of research by generating numerous studies on regime formation and development, some of which attach great importance to the role of idea and knowledge, or more precisely to the role of an “epistemic community,” a transnational community of scientists and experts. In the course of the advance of studies in international environmental politics, along with the development of various international regimes consisting of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), new research foci have emerged such as study of the effectiveness of regimes, regime interplay (or regime complex), and global environmental governance and the role and influence of non-state actors. The debates about climate change address all of the major issues discussed within academic communities, diplomatic communities, business and industry as well as NGO communities. Specifically regarding the international politics of climate change, this article takes a closer look at the issues that constitute the edifice of IR studies: that is, the relationship between science and politics, regime effectiveness and power politics, the role of sub-state and non-state actors, as well as regime interlinkage and multi-stakeholders.
Japan had gained an international notoriety in global environmental issues due to its terrible reluctance to participate in global environmental institutions and to comply with environmental norms. However, in correspondence with the end of cold war, suddenly Japan began to show a significant leadership. At the Arch Summit in 1989 and at UNCED in 1992 the government pledged to provide environmental ODA as much as 300 billion yens and 1000 billion yens respectively. It also began to implement an environmental assessment of ODA projects as recommended by OECD. Moreover, it hosted CITES COP8 (Kyoto) in 1992, Ramsar Convention COP5 (Kushiro) in 1993, and UNFCCC COP3 (Kyoto) in 1997. In 1992 it also hosted UNEP ETIC in Osaka and Kusatsu. The purpose of this article is to account for factors behind the Japan's sudden leadership-seeking in global environmental issues. Most of the past researches analyze the new phenomena in terms of middle power diplomacy logic which places international reputation as a major factor behind the Japan's leadership. On the other hand, they assess the role played by NGOs in Japan as very low, stating that besides their local orientation they are too tiny in both financial and membership scales to provoke the government to take leadership internationally. They also proclaim that lacking in domestic forces it tends to end in symbolic and superficial behaviors which would not accompany persistent efforts to improve its real performance in related environmental policies. Though this article acknowledges aspects of middle power diplomacy in the Japan's leadership, it argues that contrary to the dominant understanding in most cases except for the climate issue - greening ODA, hosting CITES COP8 and Ramsar COP5 - Japanese NGOs played an indispensable role. Networking with foreign NGOs, they mobilized international pressures effectively and downgraded reputation of Japan intentionally. Responding to them, Japan began to participate in them or to comply with international norms, and later tried to improve its damaged reputation internationally by initiating a diplomatic leadership. It also shows that in the case of Ramsar COP5 and UENP IETC local governments—Kushiro and Shiga respectively—which experienced an active local environmental movement also promoted the idea to host them. The role played by local governments is not recognized in the above-mentioned past researches. Moreover in such cases that local NGOs and governments provoked the Japan's environmental diplomacy, it has gradually improved its performance beyond superficial and symbolic behaviors, and nowadays in many cases positively participates in them to accomplish the long-term institutional purposes or attempts to comply with the norms more strictly.
Access to genetic resources has emerged as an international issue as a result of the rapid development of biotechnology. Intense negotiations have been undertaken with regard to access to these resources. Generally speaking, the issue of access to genetic resources is intermeshed with the international regimes concerning the three issue-areas of the environment, patents, and trade. The purpose of this article is to identify what sort of political impact occurs from the overlapping of different international regimes with regard to the same issue by examining examples of access to genetic resources, while referring to the findings of important past studies. The key findings of this article can be summarized as follows. First, access to genetic resources has been restricted since the 1980s, in line with the development of biotechnology. In the 1990s, international institutions—such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)—each held a different stance on the legal status of genetic resources. However, starting in 2001, the issue of access to genetic resources became linked to the issue of trade and the environment under the WTO Doha Development Agenda. International negotiations yielded the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol in 2010, with a focus on “disclosure requirements” of the origins and/or sources of genetic resources. The second key finding is that the significant changes outlined above vis-à-vis international regimes were not always the result of the actions of major powers such as the United States. Moreover, the relative influence level of each international institution such as the WTO and the CBD has not been a major obstacle for the international negotiations. One key factor that has been instrumental in bringing about significant changes in international regimes is the compatibility between the three different norms, of biodiversity conservation, patent protection, and free trade. Third, the study has uncovered that in a case where there are two or more international regimes for a single issue, the influence of major countries or powerful international institutions is weakened because each country can freely choose its preferred regime or shift from one regime to another in pursuit of its national interests. Moreover, compatibility between the different norms becomes a considerably important factor regarding changes in international regimes. Increasing compatibility between different norms serves as the driving force for coordinating international regimes. The idea of “disclosure requirements” has the potential to play this sort of propelling role. Interaction among the various international regimes would certainly not have a negative role with regard to the resolution of contentious issues. Under such circumstances, compatibility between different norms is further emphasized to facilitate a political consensus. Until the controversy over adopting“disclosure requirements” has been resolved, international negotiations over access to genetic resources will continue.
This paper aims at revising the analytical framework of institutional interaction established by Sebastian Oberthür and Thomas Gehring, and applies the revised framework to the international regimes related to cetacean management in order to demonstrate the usefulness of our proposed revision and to systematically describe the regime complex of cetacean management. After reviewing the relevant literature and explaining the institutional interaction framework, we evaluate the framework and describe our revisions. Based on the evaluation we propose to revise the framework by incorporating the utilitarian causal pathway of institutional interaction. The revised framework is applied to the following regimes: International Whaling Commission (IWC); United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR); North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO); Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species ofWild Animals (CMS); Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS); Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS); Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT). International organizations such as FAO and UNEP were excluded from the study. The case study revealed that, first, the institutional interactions involved in the cetacean management regime complex have synergistic effects when it comes to cognitive interaction. Because this result is consistent with other studies, this feature can be generalized to a significant extent. Second, some effects caused by institutional interaction other than cognitive interaction cannot be determined because it will depend on the actors'perspectives; and, such undetermined effects are caused only by unintentional interaction. Third, the IWC is mostly the source of institutional interaction and there are only two cases that the IWC is the target of interaction. Fourth, there were some cases of forum shopping in the samples, and the driving force of such forum shopping was the difference in the membership which largely determines the expected success to pursue the forum shopper's interest. Fifth, the regime complex of cetacean management has the IWC as a hub regime and the other regimes function largely as mutually complementary to the IWC. For example, the NAMMCO provides international oversight to the whaling operation, and ASCOBANS, ACCOBAMS, and CMS provide governance means for managing small cetaceans. These functions cannot be provided by the IWC because of its dispute over its basic objectives. Sixth, there are actually cases that exhibit long-term cumulative effects resulting from institutional interaction. We conclude that the proposed revision of the framework proved fruitful, and suggest some policy implications to the IWC and further work necessary to analyze institutional interaction.
Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) treaty regime is one of environmental regimes which have relatively long histories such as the Mediterranean regime and the Washington Convention regime. The regime, which started with the establishment of atmosphere monitoring program in 1977, finally formed a treaty in 1979. After that, 8 protocols were formulated during the period from 1984 to 1999. Uniform reduction targets were set at the beginning, and formulation of later protocols, more reflecting latest scientific knowledge such as use of scientific computer tools, was institutionalized. The regime is widely understood as the model of successful global environment management based on regime treaty and protocol methods since the acid rain damage in European areas has been actually improved significantly in recent decades. Looking back on such a brilliant history of LRTAP treaty regime from the present day, the regime seems to have been formed and developed very smoothly. One reason which can be considered is that environmental management on a local level has progressed not only in the field of long-range transboundary air pollution but also in the other fields in Europe. It's generally believed that such an environmental management on a regional level was able to be carried out because it was Europe which consists of developed countries and the sense of local unity based on the European thought was strong. However, in the 1970s when the regime was being formed, European Economic Community (EEC, later European Union) member countries were only 6. Most of them were net-exporters of acid rain, so unwilling to form the LRTAP treaty regime. Northern Europe countries which were net-importers repeatedly asked for the promotion of global cooperative management of acid rain by activities like summoning United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, but no international organization led it. How was the LRTAP treaty regime formed and developed under the rather adverse institutional conditions? The purpose of this paper is to reconstruct the formulation trajectories of the LRTAP treaty regime from the viewpoint of dynamic interaction between power, interests, ideas, actors and institutions. The analysis result revealed that United Nations, the Soviet union, and Eastern European countries joined as new actors in the 1970s and they accepted principles of Nordic countries and their interests also coincided, which gave great momentum to the formulation of regime treaty.
The issue of trade and environment in the globalization era has captured the attention of analysts. The WTO has not offered a satisfactory answer to the conflict plaguing the trade and environment issue because of the current trade regime's character. Therefore, we need to recognize the various ideas generated in the interaction between regimes. When considering an institutional interaction, it is necessary to focus on the state's behaviors because states are members of both international institutions and must fulfill the regime obligations. Drawing upon these insights, and empirically examining the comparative responses of the US and Germany to the Basel convention, I explore the background of the current conflict in the international trade of recyclables between both regions. Using an insight provided by Constructivism that emphasizes the role of international norms, I approach the domestic political process focusing on institutions and policy ideas: the former concerns policy style in making consensus and the latter can influence the perception of an actor's interest. The Basel convention attempts to regulate the export of hazardous waste; particularly the Basel Ban includes clauses affecting the trade of recyclables. Therefore, many developed countries having an advantage in secondary materials trade initially opposed the Basel Ban. Some countries, however, finally accepted the stricter environmental norms. Why were the responses divergent? Due to the fragmented and open political institutions, some Congressmen and environmental groups in the US that support stricter international environmental regulations, have veto power over pro-trade US policy. In addition to the adversarial policy style, the US environmental agency could not propose new policy ideas to resolve the conflict concerning the extant environmental regulations focusing on the compatible objectives of promoting recycling and lowering waste generation. This results in the US nonparticipation in the Basel convention, and consequent loses of political influence on the policy making concerning the international trade of recyclables. The German political institution allows access to small opposition parties such as the Green party, but excludes environmental groups from the political process. Accordingly, it is likely that policy coordination is made among the policy elites. The German environmental agency proposed the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act, which concreted the extended producer responsibility in the closed product life-cycle. The innovative characteristic of policy concerning the environment and the economy, and the consequent change in the perception of interest among the political elites, resulted in the German ratification of the Basel Ban, and thus enabling her to take an initiative in the global environmental policy. This article suggests that it is important to recognize the various facets of conflict and coordination in environment and trade issues by focusing on the policy ideas bridging the international and domestic arenas.
There has been a growing attention to emissions trading to reduce carbon emissions domestically because emissions trading is seen as an efficient policy measure, which offers business sectors cost-effective options to tackle carbon reduction. Now we can find a trend toward emission trading at several levels from regional to national and sub-national levels. However, each emissions trading has different levels of regulation. Focusing on two cases: the EU and Japan, this article explores what makes differences to the different level of regulation in each emissions trading system. The EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS) is more mandatory because of the additional costs it could cause to business sectors. The Directorate-General (DG) Environment of the European Commission took the initiative to adopt a “cap and trade” system at EU level based on absolute limits on carbon emissions from each installation. This case symbolizes the EU's leadership in climate policy area. On the contrary, Japanese emissions trading systems are more voluntary because of the design based on voluntary actions by business sectors. The Ministry of Environment could have never taken the initiative to introduce stricter emissions trading because of the opposition from business interests. The case in Japan corresponds to the conventional view that business interests have more political influence than environmental interests. While in the literature of environmental politics the role of environmentally motivated actors (e.g. environmental groups, governmental ministries, political parties, epistemic communities and so on) has been emphasized in explaining the different level of regulation in environmental policy measures, this article focuses more on the attitude of business interests toward climate policies. If business interests are more open to environmental norms, environmental policy measures would be more regulative, and vice versa. What determines the attitude of business interests as a whole toward climate policies? Though both in the EU and Japan cross-sectoral peak associations represent business interests in policy processes, we can find two types of peak association. One is “corporate associations” representing the voices of member industries and companies. The other is “executive associations”, the member of which is corporate executives as an individual. They do not necessarily represent the voices of industries and companies. Because of this difference in organizational structure, executive associations can be more open to longer-term interests including environmental norms than corporate associations can. From this inference this article argues as follows: because the executive association has more presence than the corporate association, the EU has been enthusiastically committed to climate policies and introduced relatively strict emissions trading system. On the contrary, in Japan because the corporate association has more presence than the executive association climate policies have been placed as secondary and emissions trading systems remain to be more voluntary.
Stance on Genetically Modified Organisms (“GMOs”) differs from country to country. Divergences in safety standards, labeling regulations and other policies may even lead to international disputes. In the late 90s, cultivation of GMOs commenced in the United States, and importation to Japan also started. The Japanese government was tolerant on GMOs at this time. Accordingly, safety examinations were optional and labeling was said to be unnecessary. However, with the revision on the regulations in 2001, the Japanese government changed course to take a relatively strict position. Safety examinations became mandatory, and to some extent, obligations were borne to label products as GMOs. The U.S. government and food manufacturers were opposed to these strengthened regulations, but the consumer groups welcomed it. Nevertheless, neither allegation was fully reflected in the policy - the assertions by the advocacy groups were adopted in the overall outline of the policy, whereby the claims of the opposing groups were incorporated in the details. How, then, was such a policy decided? In this article, I take the perspective that the process of policy-making on this issue was a difficult choice under the influence of the other countries'policies, especially the U.S., on one hand, and on the other hand, responding to internal oppositions led by the consumer groups at the same time. Here, the decision made by the government was required to be allegedly “appropriate.” The elements necessary to support the “appropriateness” was scientific justification and civic justice. Initially, the U.S. policy was adopted as I mentioned on the grounds of scientific justification, but once the issue of GMOs was linked to the consumers'rights of choice, the process to strengthen regulations became determinative backed up by civic justice as support. However, in case of deciding the detailed rules on labeling, the discussions centered around the limits on detection during monitoring which led the decision to relax the rules based on scientific judgment. The background of why the U.S. policy was not adopted in Japan in the end was affected by sifting the point of dispute, that is to say, from scientific one to personal right's. In many environmental problems, it is extremely difficult to offer scientific justification and civic justice at the same time. Studies on the process of such conflict are essential to consider contemporary environmental politics.
Most of the regional cooperation, which began in the early 1990s, on the issues of acid rain and haze in Asia, has been network-based cooperation. Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) and Regional Cooperation on Haze in Asia are examples of such cooperation. This article discusses whether ‘loose’ institutions via networks, in which a variety of actors are united by complex ties, could have any significant role in regional environmental governance. Using the comparison of the above case studies, the article focuses on such features as the conduct of cooperation among spontaneous actors, the sharing of international norms, and the formation of informal agreements. Key factors contributing to the formation of ‘loose’ institutions will be identified through the analysis of the formation and development of these networks dealing with transboundary air pollution. Three findings from the case studies can be identified. Firstly, with respect to the impact of networks on environmental governance, EANET and Regional Cooperation on Haze in Asia have promoted transnational cooperation. Emitting (i.e. polluting) states have participated in the networks (indicating that they recognize the seriousness of the problems), capacity-building for environmental problem solving has been implemented, and agreement on norms has been attained. All of this suggests that environmental cooperation in East Asia has been promoted by loosely-connected networks, rather than by ‘firm’ institutionalization. Secondly, regarding those factors contributing to the formation of ‘loose’ institutions, international norms such as the rule of consensus and nonintervention tend to be prioritized in inter-governmental negotiations in East Asia. Against this background, the following two conditions can be seen to be driving forces in strengthening the demand to form ‘loose’ institutions among regional actors. One is the transnational assistance of capacity building for monitoring of pollutants and for the prevention of environmental problems. The other is the link of networks with other regional forums or institutions, such as the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting and Eco-Asia. In this way, regional networks work as sites for mutual scientific learning, for improving recognition of issues and cooperation, and for attainment of agreement. Thirdly, with respect to the building of institutions to deal with environmental issues in East Asia, ‘firm’ institutions do not tend to be required, or are even substantially impossible. ‘Loose’ institutions fit/accommodate different situations and issues facing participating countries in this region. Thus, the formation of networks and institutions of this type are essential for effective environmental governance in East Asia at this time. For the above reasons, regional environmental governance is emerging through the weaves of ‘loose’ institutions based on intricate networks in East Asia, a region generally resistant to the formation of international treaties or frameworks of a formal and legally-binding nature.
A great number of scholarship has been devoted to examining the impacts of domestic politics to foreign policies. Many studies have also examined the impacts of international politics to domestic politics, focusing on democracybuilding or constructing political institutions within the framework of the state-building. However, such scholarship has not focused enough on the impacts of international politics to opposition forces and their relationship to political conflict in the post-conflict era. In countries that have experienced regime change, the formerly exiled opposition forces that became the ruling parties had changed their policies under the influence of the host country and other foreign actors in international politics during their exile. This paper sheds light on the two main Iraqi Islamist parties, the Dawa Party and the SCIRI, and clarifies their changing policies under the influence of the host countries and international politics. It also makes clear how these changes were reflected by the political conflict in post-war Iraq. Scholars of Iraqi politics have discussed the reasons of political conflict in post-war Iraq as following: (1) sectarian conflicts as a result of the artificiality of the Iraqi state; and (2) struggles for the mobilization of votes in elections. Against these arguments, this paper considers the historical and international impacts on the formerly exiled Islamist ruling parties as a more significant factor in explaining the reasons for political conflict in post-war Iraq. By analyzing primary sources on segmentations of the Dawa Party and the SCIRI after their exile, the following two facts are clarified: First, the two Islamist parties came to have differing ideology as well as policy as a result of the influences from the host country and international politics, which reflected the political conflict in post-war Iraq. The SCIRI maintained good relations with the host country, Iran, and had its original Islamist ideology, while the Dawa Party, not being able to maintain cooperative relations with the host country, consequently changed its Islamist ideology to a more nationalist ideology under the direct influence of western society. In the post-war era, the SCIRI attempted to construct a regional government in the south based on a transnational Islamist ideology, while the Dawa Party attempted to construct a centralized government based on a nationalism that aimed to strengthen national unity. Second, the international societies'intervention into the Iraqi opposition forces created mutual distrust, which in turn prolonged political conflict in post-war era. Therefore, an analysis of the historical and international impacts on opposition forces is necessary to understand the reasons for the political struggles in the post-conflict countries.