The Shifting Roles of the EU, the US and California
Edited by David Vogel and Johan Swinnen
Chapter 2: Transatlantic Environmental Regulation-making: Strengthening Cooperation between California and the EU
Christina G. Hioureas and Bruce E. Cain INTRODUCTION Global warming and other environmental threats pose serious, collective action challenges to an international system that since the Treaty of Westphalia1 has been predicated on national sovereignty. International cooperation normally requires national government consent. In a pure Westphalian system, the right and power to make international agreements to curb the causes of global warming rest exclusively with national governments, and thus cooperation can be stymied if one or more significant national leaders opposes the effort. But the reality of the contemporary international system is less pure and more complex than the abstract Westphalian model, and hence the possibilities for forms of environmental cooperation other than formal national treaties are greater than they might initially seem. Environmental issues like global warming or pollution require international cooperation, because they arise as negative externalities from industrial and commercial activities within separate countries. Choosing to act alone in an effort to curb global warming or reduce harmful environmental effects can impose significant costs on a nation’s economy and living conditions, potentially putting the economy of the country that chooses to act unilaterally or even with a subset of other nations at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, because nations cannot be excluded from the benefits of ending global warming or limiting pollution even if they choose not to cooperate, there are free-rider problems that must be overcome as well. Prior to the 2008 presidential election when the project on transatlantic regulatory cooperation was initially proposed, the proximity...
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