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International Norms of Responsibility and U.S. Climate Change Policy

  • Paul G. Harris

Abstract

Has the United States adopted any of the nascent international norms surrounding climate change? In the previous chapter, Michele Betsill argues that international climate change norms are indeed forcing states—including the United States—to “redefine what it means to be a legitimate member of the international community,” and that the United States has started to address climate change to bolster its international credibility. This chapter continues this theme by suggesting that the United States has, contrary to many interpretations, internalized one of the most important international norms that has become central to the climate change debate: common but differentiated responsibility.1

Keywords

Kyoto Protocol International Norm Climate Change Policy Address Climate Change Clinton Administration 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    For an earlier discussion of these issues, see Paul G. Harris, “Common but Differentiated Responsibility: The Kyoto Protocol and United States Policy,” Environmental Law Journal 7, 1 (1999): 27–48.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Energy Information Administration, Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 1996 (Washington, DC: Energy Information Administration, 1997);Google Scholar
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  4. 8.
    United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 10 December 1982, 21 ILM 1262 (1982). This concept dates to the 1950s, and was also integrated into the 1979 Moon Agreement. Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 18 ILM 1434 (1979). See Frank Biermann, “‘Common Concern of Humankind’: The Emergence of a New Concept of International Environmental Law,” Archiv des Volkerrechts 34, 4 (December 1996): 426–81.Google Scholar
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    Clive Ponting, A Green History of the World (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991), especially pp. 387–92 and 405–6.Google Scholar
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  14. 23.
    Paul G. Harris, “Considerations of Equity and International Environmental Institutions,” Environmental Politics 5, 2 (Summer 1996): 274–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 24.
    On the notions of fairness and equity in the context of climate change and other international environmental issues see, for example, James P. Bruce, Hoesung Lee, and Erik F. Haites, eds., Climate Change 1995: Economic and Social Dimensions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), chapter 3;Google Scholar
  16. Richard Samson Odingo et al., eds., Equity and Social Considerations Related to Climate Change (Nairobi: ICIPE Science Press, 1994);Google Scholar
  17. Paul G. Harris, “Affluence, Poverty, and Ecology: Obligation, International Relations, and Sustainable Development,” Ethics and the Environment 2, 2 (1997): 121–38;Google Scholar
  18. and Paul G. Harris, “Environment, History and International Justice,” Journal of International Studies 40 (July 1997): 1–33.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul G. Harris 2000

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  • Paul G. Harris

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