The Making of International Environmental Treaties

The Making of International Environmental Treaties

Neoliberal and Constructivist Analyses of Normative Evolution

Gerald Nagtzaam

Gerry Nagtzaam contends that in recent decades neoliberal institutionalist scholarship on global environmental regimes has burgeoned, as has constructivist scholarship on the key role played by norms in international politics. In this innovative volume, the author sets these interest- and norm-based approaches against each other in order to test their ability to illustrate why and how different environmental norms take hold in some regimes and not others.

Introduction

Gerald Nagtzaam

Subjects: environment, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy

Extract

* Is there not the Earth itself, its forests and waters, above and below the surface? These are the inheritance of the human race . . . What rights, and under what conditions, a person shall be allowed to exercise over any portion of this common inheritance cannot be left undecided. No function of government is less optimal than the regulation of these things, or more completely involved in a civilized society. (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)) Norms or ‘. . . shared expectations about appropriate behaviour held by a collectivity of actors . . .’ have been central to the study of domestic politics for over two millennia.1 Describing and explaining how these norms set societal standards (for example, order and justice) have occupied the minds of countless political analysts, and understanding their role is considered basic to developing robust domestic political theories. The antecedents of the term ‘norm’ derive from sociological literature and are defined in the sociological domain as ‘rules and expectations by which a society guides the behaviour of its members’.2 Such norms were generally considered to be of two types – either prescriptive, telling us what we can do; or proscriptive, telling us what we cannot.3 In the political sphere, there is a legacy of theorizing about norms in global politics dating from Christian theology, Immanuel Kant and the scholars from the English School of International Relations.4 However, the study of international or global norms5 has traditionally been relegated to the periphery of * An earlier version of this chapter appeared as ‘Environmental Exploitation: An...