MIT expert: How to toughen up environmental treaties

Feb 17, 2008

The Kyoto Protocol is one of more than 100 global environmental treaties negotiated over the past 40 years to address pollution, fisheries management, ocean dumping and other problems. But according to MIT Professor Lawrence Susskind, an expert in resolving complex environmental disputes, few of the agreements have done more than slow the pace of ecological damage, due to lack of ratification by key countries, insufficient enforcement and inadequate financial support.

To give the pacts bite—not just bark—Susskind is proposing a series of reforms that include economic penalties for countries that fail to meet the treaties’ targets. Susskind will outline a program to make global environmental treaties more effective and treaty-makers more accountable in a presentation Saturday, Feb. 16, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston.

The reforms he has in mind include engaging civil societies, not just governments, in drafting and enforcing global environmental treaties; offering incentives for countries that ratify treaties and comply with their terms; and establishing more meaningful timetables and targets, along with economic penalties.

Penalties for non-compliance with environmental treaties should hit nations hard—in their pocketbooks, says Susskind.

"All the multilateral banks and lending institutions, the World Trade Organization and the UN agencies should require compliance with global environmental treaty provisions as a prerequisite for loans or participation in any of their activities," he will urge in his AAAS talk.

Susskind, the Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT, will draw in part from his own experience working with the G-77 on the Climate Change Convention. He has published 20 books including "Environmental Diplomacy" (Oxford), "Transboundary Environmental Negotiation" (Jossey-Bass), and the award-winning "Consensus Building Handbook" (Sage).

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Explore further: Mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak

Related Stories

Justices seem divided over EPA mercury limits (Update)

Mar 25, 2015

The Supreme Court's conservative justices cast doubt Wednesday on the Obama administration's first-ever regulations aimed at reducing power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants that contribute to ...

UN moves toward major treaty for ocean biodiversity

Jan 25, 2015

UN member states agreed Saturday to begin negotiations on a treaty to protect marine biodiversity in ocean areas extending beyond territorial waters, in a move heralded by environmental organizations.

Recommended for you

Mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak

14 hours ago

A record amount of electrical and electronic waste hit the rubbish tips in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said Sunday.

China's struggle for water security

Apr 18, 2015

Way back in 1999, before he became China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao warned that water scarcity posed one of the greatest threats to the "survival of the nation".

Canada revises upward CO2 emission data since 1990

Apr 18, 2015

Canada revised its greenhouse gas emission data from 1990 to 2013 in a report Friday, showing it had higher carbon dioxide discharges each year, and a doubling of emissions from its oil sands.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mikiwud
1 / 5 (1) Feb 18, 2008
For"should hit nations hard--in their pocketbooks",read TAXPAYER with the poorer paying the brunt!!FORGET IT!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.