“Environmental problems” is an omnipresent but unclear concept. (Riley E. Dunlap, 2012). Global environmental problems have characteristics that differentiate them from the common scientific problems. (de Vos et al., 2013) Environmental problems do not restrict in national borders. An indisputable example of environmental problems that are not limited to a country’s borders are air pollution, the degradation of shared rivers, and the pollution of oceans and seas. An Environmental change could be either natural or anthropogenic. The change of solar activity, natural acidification of lakes over a millennium, or a sea-level rise independent of the enhanced greenhouse effect have as a result the natural change. Except from natural changes, environmental changes could arise from human activities in the production and consumption sphere.(Turner et al., 1990) The environment should not consider being a stable element and this originates from the aggregate impact human’s behavior on the earth and from the rising understanding of ecological procedures. The relationship between economic growth and ecosystems that are complicated and in many cases fragile influence that development and they have established dominant international economic and political issues. (Pamela S. Chasek, 2013)
In order to be understanding the global environmental politics should be firstly understanding international regimes. (Pamela S. Chasek, 2013) “International regimes are defined as principles, norms, rules, and decision- making procedures around which actor expectations converge in a given issue-area.” (Krasner, 1983). As a key aspect of global environmental problems are regarded the international environmental regimes. (Biermann, 2007). Their growth and application may be expensive and difficult. However, it is significant to realize if and the way regimes are efficient in facing these problems. All these demands the appropriate knowledge on the possible impact of environmental regimes and their political feasibility. (de Vos et al., 2013)
International agreements which deal with environmental, economic, technological and legal problems was establish by governments. Governments of states in order to encourage cooperation, prevent and resolve disagreements and assist of information sharing between parties understand that they need new standards, multilateral institutions, and governance structures. This plan of action is substantiated in the creation over the past four decades of several international regulatory regimes for the protection and management of certain environmental conditions with global interest. (Joyner, 2004)
The main objective of the essay is assessed Netherland’s involvement in leadership or blocking roles in international regimes and discuss why the particular state assumed the role it did. Specifically, this assessment will be concentrated on Climate Change and Ozone Depletion regimes.
The last few decades it has become obvious that human actions are importantly changing the atmosphere’s composition and its radiate properties. This has led to global environmental problems such as climate change and ozone depletion, which also will be possible influenced the society. (Beukering and Vellinga, 1996)
Climate and climate change have always been part of human experience. Modern humans coming confronting with new environmental- ecological situations. Climate change affects the humanity but also that human with new modes of production and new instruments of social cooperation influence in some level of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels could raise the atmospheric concentration of, as are called, greenhouse gases (GHG) to a level that they could manufacture climate change in the form of global warming. The establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) consist the first efforts to arrange scientific cooperation on this issue. The results of IPCC reports indicated the solemnity of the problem and started press international cooperation to promote global climate policies. (Sprinz, 2001) The Climate convention is a milestone in the history of international environmental management. It is not another simple and dry lawful instrument and a new employment program for legal scholars and supporters of environmental protection. But it is an influence strength for altering North-South relations that will transform the business climate for international investment and trade. (Irving M. Mintzer, 1994)”Adaptation to climate change has received increased attention in the scientific and policy debate and is seen as complementary to mitigation” (McCarthy JJ, 2001)
Another aspect that is related to climate and climate change is the depletion of ozone. The “ozone layer” in a part of the Earth’s atmosphere exist within the stratosphere and operates as a protection layer from ultraviolet radiation which is harmful. Raises in UV- radiation have been noticed in regions that exist ozone depletion. (Kerr and McElroy, 1993)
In 1974, started the theory that human procedures produce chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) could destroy ozone layer. (Edward L. Miles, 2002) A chemical compounds which contain chlorine, fluorine and carbon called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). In 1931 were found by General Motors and they had used globally. The Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) production was quadrupled with top level of production in 1978 at 812 million pounds.(Haas, 1991) When the ozone layer is reduced then the UV radiation which is absorbed and penetrate in the atmosphere. This has as a result the heating of the region. A modification in the density of the ozone could change the atmosphere’s temperature and as continue in the change of atmospheric circulation. (De Winter-Sorkina, 2001)By the late of 1970s, the ozone depletion issue was on the agenda of international environmental and scientific organizations like the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). A demanding international research and monitoring of the ozone layer took place in 1997 from UNEP’s World Plan Action on the Ozone Layer. In 1981 were started negotiations on a binding international political instrument and in 1985 signed the Vienna Convention by twenty countries plus the European Community. (Edward L. Miles, 2002)
In the Netherlands, the last decades, the objective of environmental policy has spread from a focus on protecting human health and ecosystem to provide a sustainable supply of natural resources at both the national and international levels (Keijzers, 2000)
In the establishment of the international environmental regimes, some countries could be acted as leadership or on veto coalition. Leadership is reflected to perform of an actor to influence the regime development in such a way that issues are solved and progress is accomplished. The Netherlands is a state with leadership ambitions in the international climate change regime. (Andersson and Mol, 2002) In the international ozone depletion regime the Netherlands it acted as a more neutral country and in some times acted as we could say as “leader” .
Climate change regime
As referred before, Netherlands acted as a leader in the international climate change. Netherland has a significant reason for its concern about global climate change, this reason is the increase of sea level because around the 30 percent of the country’s surface area is under the sea level.(OECD, 1995) However, other reasons such as economic, historical and socio-cultural and long-term leadership image in the international environmental policy, can explain the Netherlands’ leadership ambitions. (M.S. Andersen and J.D. Liefferink, 1997). According to Rowlands (Rowlands, 1995) p.144) countries which exporting gas such as the Netherlands have a specific interest. The dynamic role of the Netherlands in climate change regime started in 1989 and contributed to the preparation phases of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (Keijzers, 2000)
In order to analyze the position of the Netherlands in international climate change regime, we should be stood in the differentiation of the ways in which influence-or power- is existed. According to the Young’s (Young, 2009)opinion should be done as a division between structural, entrepreneurial and intellectual leadership. Structural leadership is related to political and economic power. In this phase of leadership, Netherlands abilities are not so strong, being only a small economic political power in the international system of nation-states. Huber (1997) Entrepreneurial leadership is associated with the capacity to craft structures and implement diplomatic skill to establish successful coalitions. Last but not least, Intellectual leadership is connected with the use of ideas, science, and information to effect the understanding of other countries as to what is attractive and potential. The two last phase of leadership plays a crucial role in the analysis of the attitude of the Netherlands in the international climate change policy-making.(Andersson and Mol, 2002)
The Netherlands is a country with an international reputation of his concentration and successful in making deals. Also, it considered as a state with ambition and ability to work as an international entrepreneur. A lot of progress in international climate change policy-evidence support of Netherlands entrepreneur.(Andersson and Mol, 2002)
WMO AND UNEP have organized the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (1988) for the purpose to create a common actual basis for negotiations that would have focal point on policy options. The Netherlands is one of the lead states of the starter coalition wherever conduct global negotiations on climate change. The Netherlands also committed to minimizing their emissions for 1990 levels by 2000 or 2005.(Pamela S. Chasek, 2013)
As referred above, the Netherlands contribute to the issue of climate change to international political agenda by organizing (in collaboration with the governments of France and Norway) a meeting on protection of the global atmosphere, held in The Hague on 11 March 1989.(Andersson and Mol, 2002) In Hague Summit are participated seventeen leaders of states and discussed the establishment of a “new institutional authority” to maintain earth’s atmosphere and fighting global warming.(Sprinz, 2001)
In November of 1989 Netherlands has organized a Conference on Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Change. It was the first intergovernmental meeting with focal point the climate change issue. The result was that industrialized countries needed to achieve a stable level of greenhouse gas emissions.(Sprinz, 2001) Both of these two conferences considered to be a crucial point of the international agenda-building of climate change.(Andersson and Mol, 2002)
In 1992 was inaugurated a global concordance for an innovative political regime and to a procedure for forthcoming development. The Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Climate Convention or FCCC) signed by 154 nations. The signatures occurred at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (known popular as UNCED or the Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The focal objectives were about the protection of the worldwide atmosphere and to promote a sustainable economic development globally. (Irving M. Mintzer, 1994) The Netherlands was one of the countries which signed the framework. The day of a signature was the 4th June 1992 and the ratification date was the 20th December 1993. However, the day of entry into force was 21st March 1994. (UNFCCC)
With the passage of the time and maturity of the climate regime, more and more becoming the importance of the power game, which slowly tampered with the role of the Netherlands. In 1995 before Kyoto became the first Conference of the Parties (COP-1) in Berlin and created the first project phase of Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ). (Boyd et al., 2008). The Netherlands had a bold role in the starting of the COP procedure and it was practically the sole state that acquired knowledge and ideas either in theory and practice during the AIJ phase. Also, the Netherlands considered as a precursor in the AIJ phase. The years between 1995 and 1997 was set up the negotiation text for COP-3 in Kyoto and the Netherlands with other countries to accentuate and promote for the policies and dimensions as a basic element in any international agreement. (Andersson and Mol, 2002)The Dutch was the first in global scale that testifies specifically objectives. (Rowlands, 1995)According to the United Nations, the Netherlands signed immediately the Kyoto Protocol on 29th April 1998, the ratification date was 31st May 2002. However, the day of entry into force was three years later on 16th February 2005. (UNFCCC)
After the Kyoto Protocol, the Conference of the Parties was continued. In 2000 in Hague was organized the Sixth Conference. (Waller, 2000) During this COP the facilitating role of Dutch been visibility. (Andersson and Mol, 2002)
In order to improve the structure of the Kyoto Protocol, but also to increase the participation from developing countries, existed a continual negotiations post-Kyoto. The Kyoto Proto has a lot of good characteristics which need to continue, but a little betterments might raise its performances. A possible gap in the Kyoto Protocol is that emissions worldwide growth relentless in spite of emissions decline. (Peters and Hertwich, 2008a)
So as to achieve a more stable level of greenhouse gas (GHG) it is crucial that post- Kyoto policy has wide participation to guarantee environmental integrity. It is obvious that a significant attempt is needed to decline emissions beyond the Kyoto protocol’s 2008-2012 period.(Watson R, 2001) As well, the expense of accomplishing global GHG decline, to that is responsible for the low participation in Kyoto protocol. The post- Kyoto policy has as a purpose to promote the general participation while also accomplish decline in global GHG emissions. (Peters and Hertwich, 2008b) The industrial nations, such as the Netherlands and other countries, would try hard to minimize emissions.(Beukering and Vellinga, 1996)
The percentage change of greenhouse emissions in the Netherlands the period 1990-2000 was 17, 1%.(Table 3) (Andersson and Mol, 2002) The Netherland’s next target for greenhouse (GHG) emissions for 2020 is to reduce emissions for 11%. (Table 1) (Reckien et al., 2014)
Efforts against climate change have continued in 2015 with Paris Agreement. It was the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and in this session 195 countries signed an agreement for the Climate Change.(Spash, 2016) The Paris Climate Agreement has a pressing purpose of restrictive global warming lower 2o C. Firstly, all countries have to bind that they would decline greenhouse gas emissions in the form of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) before 2030. But the NDCs search possible post-2030 reduction of emissions.(Rose et al., 2017)
The Netherlands INDC goal is an 80%-95% reduction of GHG emissions by 2050. This aim is related to 2°C (den Elzen and Höhne, 2008) which the Paris Agreement goes further. The Netherlands is one of these countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement, but their goals cannot satisfied with the INDC.(Sebastian Sterl, 2016)
The UNEP perceived the importance of maintenance of the ozone layer and in 1981 was created an Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and Technical experts charged which are responsible to formulate a framework for the ozone layer protection. The first draft was published in October 1983, and a lot of other drafts were created before the Vienna Convention. (Caron, 1990)Also, in 1982 started negotiations on a convention to protect it, in spite of opposite attitude of the chemical industry in the US and Europe. From 1982 to 1985 was presented a progress in terms of a worldwide convention, but it existed a deadlock on the practical measures to control CFC emissions. In March 1985 was passed for the first time the international community recognized the importance of protection global atmosphere. This was done in Vienna Convention which was constituted a landmark. (Benedick, 1996) It was the first regime agreement for ozone and confirmed the importance of protecting the ozone layer. The convention did not contain requirements to minimize the production or use of CFCs and also it did not mention CFCs as a name.(Pamela S. Chasek, 2013)
According to International Environmental Agreement (IEA) Database Project Netherlands was signed the Vienna Convention on 22 March 1985 but the ratification was done after three years on 28 September 1998. The Vienna Convention contained a process of workshops and agreeing on a future round of negotiations in order to implement a uniform mandatory convention by 1987. Despite this was not easy to be agreed. The help of some countries, which included the Netherlands and with pressure from the executive director of the UNEP, the US was capable to satisfy consensus on the workshops and new negotiations.(Pamela S. Chasek, 2013)
The negotiators decided to restart the discussions if more elements proving the possible threat. Only a few weeks after the Vienna Convention British scientists formulated the first’s reports about the Antarctic ozone hole. (Pamela S. Chasek, 2013)This has as a result of the beginning an extensive international research attempt in order to identify if chlorine was responsible for the hole. In this case, existed real measurements of the chlorine in the stratosphere over Antarctica. The scientific community could verify that chlorine was responsible for the hole. (Caron, 1990)
The first formal negotiations were started in December 1986 in Geneva, for the purpose of arranging the globally acceptable protocol.(Jachtenfuchs, 1990) The EC acted as bloc advocating that the upper limit of production capacity was agreed to the Vienna Convention. Also, EC was depended on scientific models that showed no important ozone depletion happen for at least two decades and claimed that there was time to wait to minimize production. The EC was divided on the ozone issue. The Netherlands with other countries such as Belgium, West Germany, and Denmark have supported the strong and deep CFC controls. In July 1987 the EC agreed with the stronger measures and controls. All these were essential to the uniform global success of the Montreal protocol.(Benedick, 1989)
The Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 and it was about the Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a convention that has achieved the reduction of global production, consumption, and emissions of ozone depleting substances (ODSs). As ODS referred also to greenhouse gases that effect on the climate change.(Velders et al., 2007)
“The United Nations Environment Program (“UNEP”) executive director, Mostafa Tolba, stated that the countries were more interested in economic benefits rather than repairing the ozone: “The difficulties in negotiating the Montreal Protocol had nothing to do with whether the environment was damaged or not… It was all who was going to get the edge over whom.”(Mossos, 2005)
The Netherlands as a fundamental country to press the EC in order to agree with the agreement signed the Montreal Convention on 16 September 1987 and the ratification was a year later. The countries which signed the agreement talked for a significant part of the international chemical industry, with consequences in investments and jobs opportunities in related sectors. The protocol did not provide limits on chemicals based on “best available technology”, on the contrary, included dates target for substitution products that have related to the modern standards of living. At the time of agreement did not exist actual measurable elements of damage. Therefore, in contrast with environmental agreements of the past, this convention was not an answer to disastrous events but it was a proactive action on a worldwide level.(Richard Elliot. Benedick, 1998)
As consequent of the changing conditions and rise of information have been added more requirements to the Montreal Protocol through amendments which adopted in London (1990), Copenhagen (1992), Montreal (1997) and Beijing (1999).(Luken and Grof, 2006)
During the negotiations before the adoption of the London Amendment in 1990, the parties, parties could agree only on an intermediate noncompliance(Barratt-Brown, 1991) procedure. In the Vienna Ozone convention included a provision that demands the parties to negotiate and if they could not find an agreement then they could look for mediation by the third party. The countries could accept required arbitration or turn to the International Court of Justice in order to settle the issue. The Netherlands it was one of the fourth countries which on 26 March in 1991 submit declarations accepting both arbitration and the jurisdiction of the ICJ as compulsory forms of dispute settlement. In contrast to the EC which accepted only arbitration and no other parties submitted declarations.(Barratt-Brown, 1991)
Also, Netherlands participated in all Conferences of the parties to the Vienna Convention. These Conferences were First Conference of the Parties (Helsinki, 26–28 April 1989), Second Conference (Nairobi, 17–19 June 1991), Third (Bangkok, 23 November 1993), Fourth Conference (San José, 25 and 27 November 1996), Fifth (Beijing, 29 November–3 December 1999) , Sixth (Rome, 25–29 November 2002), Seventh (Dakar, 12–16 December 2005), Eighth Conference (Doha, 16–20 November 2008), Ninth (Bali, 21–25 November 2011), and the Tenth Conference of the Parties (Paris, 17–21 November 2014) (UNEP)
Netherlands applicant only serious attempts to give the suitable roles to international institutions and organizations. (Andersson and Mol, 2002)The general perception of the Netherlands is that it is a country that “always has ideas prepared”. According to Rowlands (1995: 77), the Netherlands was the first in the world that come up with actual objectives. Dutch cities are the most ambitious and they have as a goal to be ‘carbon’, ‘climate’ or ‘energy neutral’ (100 % reduction target) by 2050 or earlier. For example, Groningen aims to implement this goal with an increase of renewable energies and the planting of trees.
The national regulations, voluntary actions, and compliance with the Montreal Protocol have protected climate in the past and can add to climate protection in the future. (Velders et al., 2007)
Despite the similarities and interdependence between the two regimes, climate change and depletion of ozone, the attitude of the Netherlands differs between the two. Climate change was an issue directly affecting the Netherlands due to its geographical location. The risk of rising sea levels will lead to sinking several areas in the Netherlands due to their low altitude. The Netherlands is leading country in terms of climate change. When considering the climate change regime, it was clear that it was sensitized and energetic about this issue. The Netherlands organized meetings to preserve the global atmosphere as well as to climate change, conferences that were considered fundamental in the climate change agenda.
Unlike the climate change regime, the Netherlands did not have the same zeal and attitude as regards the issue of ozone depletion. The attitude they held was more neutral and remote. But when she needed her contribution she took a more active role. This role was to push the other countries with opposite stance to eventually sign the agreement. At this point, a more “leading role”.
The difference in Dutch behavior between the two regimes may be due to the fact that the impact of climate change is more visible and immediate in its area.