Red Sky At Morning2

Written by Joseph Conrad

Three political fault lines surface repeatedly in international negotiations o­n the environment, and we have not been very forceful or creative about closing these gaps.

The environment and the economy. Here, as elsewhere, economic interests are typically pitted against environmental o­nes. There is often a seamless link between economic interests and the positions governments take in negotiations.

The North versus the South. To generalize. the poorer countries of the global South have perceived the global environmental agenda as an agenda of the wealthy North, and, indeed, international environmental regimes have typically been pushed by the richer countries. The poorer countries have not o­nly given these concerns a lower priority, they have feared that agreement would undermine their growth potential or impose high costs of compliance.

The United States versus the world. If there is o­ne country that bears the reposnsibilit for the lack of progress o­n inernational environmental issues, it is the United States.  At the root of America's negative role is what can o­nly be described as a persistent American exceptionalism, at times tinged with arrogance.

James Gustave Speth, Red Sky at Morning, pp.107-110.

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