Environmental problems like global climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion can only be remedied if states cooperate with one another. But sovereign states usually care only about their own interests. So states must somehow restructure the incentives to make cooperation pay. This is what treaties are meant to do.
A few treaties, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, succeed. Most, however, fail to alter the state behavior appreciably. This book develops theory that explains both the successes and the failures. In particular, the book explains when treaties are needed, why some work better than others, and how treaty design can be improved. The best treaties strategically manipulate the incentives states have to exploit the environment, and the theory developed in this book shows how treaties can do this.
The theory integrates a number of disciplines, including economics, political science, international law, negotiation analysis, and game theory. It also offers a coherent and consistent approach. The essential assumption is that treaties be self-enforcing that is, individually rational, collectively rational and fair.
The book applies the theory to a number of environmental problems. It provides information on more than three-hundred treaties, and analyses a number of case studies in detail. These include depletion of the ozone layer, whaling, pollution of the Rhine, acid rain, over-fishing, pollution of the oceans, and global climate change.
The essential lesson of the book is that treaties should not just tell countries what to do. Treaties must make it in the interests of countries to behave differently. That is, they must restructure the underlying game. Most importantly, they must create incentives for states to participate in a treaty and for parties to comply.
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Scott Barrett is Professor of Environmental Economics and International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
`This is an impressive book that should be of interest not only to those interested in the application of game theory to international relations but also to anyone interested in understanding how international cooperation can be promoted.
Environmental Conservation 13/05/2004
`Every now and again, a treatise appears that alters the way we see events. Scott Barrett's Environment and
Statecraft is one such work. The book, more than a decade in preperation, is a craft of inventiveness, meticulous research, intellectual insight and surprise. Barrett's book is probably one of the most important publications in the
past few decades on global environmental problems. For students of politics, economics and the environment, and for
negotitators and politicians, this book is to be carried around like a Bible. If I had written it, I would retire content that I had made a real difference.'
David Pearce, UCL and Imperial College, London - Times Higher Education Supplement 24/10/2003
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