First published in 1994. Environmental issues present a daunting challenge to the international system. The destruction of the tropical rainforest, the Chernobyl explosion and the ozone layer ‘hole’ all underline the transnational nature of environmental threats and the need for states to act together in order to tackle them. How have such environmental issues entered political agendas in different parts of the world and how has that affected national positions? Can governments ever reconcile their own national interests with the international cooperation needed to deal with transboundary issues such as climate change?

This book traces the history of international environmental negotiations and regulations and looks at the domestic policies upon which cooperation in the international community depends. It covers some major milestones in recent history, from the Torrey Canyon accident through to the Rio ‘Earth Summit’ and the emergence of the European Community as a major international environmental actor. It also looks at cross-cutting issues such as the role of non-governmental organizations, the environmental impacts of world agriculture and trading arrangements, industry’s attitudes, and the relationship between democracy and environmental protection. It concludes by examining how the international system has adapted, and may adapt further, to deal effectively with environmental problems, and reflects on the implications of this for the future.


Summary and Conclusions

chapter 1|14 pages


chapter 2|20 pages

The Birth of Environmentalism

chapter 3|16 pages

Stockholm Conference

chapter 6|38 pages

The Road to Rio

chapter 7|34 pages

Climate Change

chapter 8|10 pages


chapter 9|16 pages

UNCED: The Preparations

chapter 10|14 pages

UNCED: The Conference

chapter 11|36 pages

The Future