Ochs, Alexander and Schaper, Marcus. (2005) "Conflict or Cooperation? Transatlantic Relations in the Environmental Field1". In: UNSPECIFIED, Austin, Texas. (Unpublished)
[From the Introduction]. The US withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol has brought transatlantic differences over environmental issues into the headlines. Since then, climate change politics has been referred to as a prominent example for the development of a transatlantic rift. However, transatlantic differences over environmental policy are anything but new. Many of these conflicts just have been hidden from public view as they are often concerned with technical aspects of regulation and negotiated on the staff level. This paper discusses three recent examples of transatlantic conflict over environmental policy. Climate change, environmental standards for export credit agencies (ECAs), and regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have all proven to be significant sources of transatlantic divergences. This is primarily the case because these topics are not purely environmental issues, but rather cross-cutting policy challenges with substantial impacts on a number of policy areas. These topics entail both complex cost-benefit-assessments and coordination among different domestic and foreign policy bureaucracies. In order to protect the earth’s ecosystem, climate change policy calls for adjustments in energy production, transport, infrastructure, industry and economics; climate change, however, also poses critical questions regarding North-South relations, inter-generational equity, and the future of the capitalist system. Likewise, international environmental standards for ECAs do not only address ecological concerns in international investment decisions, they also create a level playing field for international competition. Finally, the regulation of GMOs aims at minimizing the risks of biotechnology for humans and their environment; at the same time, however, regulations can become non-tariff barriers to trade.
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