ABSTRACT

So far, I’ve highlighted how environmental outcomes, in the form of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, are affected by both domestic and international factors. In this chapter, I shift the center of attention to the driving forces of developing countries’ environmental commitments with a focus on international environmental treaties. While, in general, citizens might care more about pollution reduction than about their government’s enacting certain environmental regulations, environmental regulation is, nevertheless, often a necessary condition for improved environmental outcomes. Hence although international environmental treaties per se do not solve problems of environmental degradation,1 they are an important step towards a solution to many environmental problems, especially transboundary problems. From this perspective, it is important to understand which factors influence a government’s decision to increase its environmental commitments in order to obtain a complete picture of developing countries’ environmental performance. Only by taking into account environmental commitment, as well as environmental outcomes, does a comprehensive account of developing countries’ environmental performance become available.