National Government Interventions in a Global Arena
Edited by Frank Wijen, Kees Zoeteman, Jan Pieters and Paul van Seters
Chapter 10: Overcoming Limitations of National Governments to Mitigate Global Environmental Distortions
Kees Zoeteman and Wouter Kersten SUMMARY We discuss the changing role of national governments in addressing global environmental problems. Although many expect global leadership from collaborating national governments, formalised in international agreements, real global leadership and authority are hampered by the national interests governments have to represent. Circumstances, such as the perceived urgency of global threats that cannot be mitigated by any nation on its own, and the openness to international cooperation, influence the willingness of governments to give up national sovereignty in order to establish international authority. Based on these factors, four scenarios are presented that outline future governance settings in which global environmental problems such as climate change have to be addressed. Subsequently, we analyse the role of the business community and civil society, including large philanthropic organisations, in complementing governmental actions by initiating new approaches in cooperation, introducing new technological solutions, and speeding up technical transitions. We argue that the role of these societal actors is relevant in all scenarios discussed. INTRODUCTION Until recently, hopes were high that international agreements would enable national governments to solve global environmental problems such as ozone layer depletion, climate change, desertification, loss of biodiversity, and accumulation of debris in space or the oceans. The Vienna Convention to protect the ozone layer against depletion had, for example, been a promising success. This is shown by the fact that the Vienna Convention was agreed upon in 1985 and entered into force in 1988, 295 M2782 - WIJEN TEXT.indd 295 16/11/2011 11:30 296...
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