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.

Chapter 4: The International Whaling Commission and the Elusive Great White Whale of Preservationism

Gerald Nagtzaam

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


* The moot point is, whether Leviathan can long endure so wide a chase, and so remorseless a havoc; whether he must not at last be exterminated from the waters, and the last whale, like the last man, smoke his last pipe, and then himself evaporate in the final puff. (Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851) INTRODUCTION The fight by ENGOs to preserve whales is considered to be the first modern, global environmental campaign and in many ways the whale is still regarded as the symbol of the ENGO transnational movement.1 Environmentalists often cite this campaign as a model of how to achieve environmental goals. Yet these claims belie a more complex history, characterized by a morass of competing interests and positions regarding the killing of whales that continues to this day.2 This chapter will examine the modern exploitation of whales and the attempt to introduce conservationist programmes to manage whaling stocks on a sustainable basis, along with the drive to preserve whales by ENGOs and states like Australia and the United States of America. The primary arena of normative contestation to be examined is the meetings to regulate the whaling industry held primarily under the auspices of the International Whaling * A version of this chapter appears as ‘The International Whaling Commission and the Elusive Great White Whale of Preservationism’, William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, 3, no. 2 (2009): 375–447. 1 Niels Einarsson, ‘All Animals are Equal but some are Cetaceans: Conservation and Culture Conflict’, in Environmentalism: The...

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