Economic forces pushing US towards gloabl environment treaty

21 May 2013


Global economic forces are pushing the United States and other countries toward a binding international environmental treaty, reveals research by a Case Western Reserve University law professor.

In a recent Journal of World Trade article, Case Western Reserve law professor Juscelino F Colares investigates the prospects of an international pact to restrict emissions from greenhouse gasses(GHG). He contends that the United States is destined to become part of such a treaty, while also making economically-driven changes to its own environmental law.

"This article's original contribution is in presenting, arguably, the first explanation of how certain domestic political-economic forces will converge to support US adoption of a carbon-restricting regime and participation in a binding global treaty," Colares says.

In the article Colares notes that support for reforms is likely to increase in response to foreign carbon-restricting measures that may "tip the balance in favour of reform.''

Scientists commonly believe that greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons, harm the Earth's climate. As a result, nations are becoming more open to restricting such emissions.

The European Union already curbs commercial aviation emissions beyond national borders - an example of possible GHG policies nations may choose to adopt to improve the global environment, Colares explains (Seer: Air India, Jet Air face EU ban over excessive emissions).

Colares points out that a shift in US climate policy toward emission pricing is due to two major developments - the implementation of foreign carbon restricting and US producers' response to these reforms.

His analysis demonstrates that US exporters and producers participating in global supply chains will increasingly select carbon-efficient technologies to minimise costs and adjust to a changing regulatory environment.

Carbon restricting generally describes rules that limit GHG, leading to an economy-wide price for GHG emissions. His research notes a collaborative shift by industry and pro-environment groups in favor of emission-restricting reforms.

To gauge opposition to US participation in a future international climate agreement, Colares includes an analysis of lobbying in Congress concerning emission-restricting legislation.

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