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International Organization and Environmental Governance

Joshua William Busby


Comment on this article   Efforts to deal with environmental challenges across state borders have numerous historical antecedents. European nations signed a convention to regulate fishing on the Rhine in the 1850s, and in the 1880s, European governments sought to deal with overfishing in the North Sea ( Rayfuse 2007 ). In the early twentieth century, four sealing nations negotiated a treaty to deal with the rapidly declining fur seal population in the North Pacific (see Barrett 2003 : ch. 2). In the 1940s, the US and Canada began addressing cross-border pollution problems through the courts ( Rowlands 2007 :318). However, international environmental governance did not really become a subject of sustained policy making and public consciousness until the decades after World War II when rapid industrialization and a rising world population demonstrated an unprecedented capacity of the human species to alter the planet's atmosphere, ecosystems, and resources. At the same time, the extension of rational scientific understanding and the growing organizational density of the international system wrought by the United Nations created more impetus and platforms for transnational environmental regulation ( Meyer et al. 1997 ). While some of the attempts to deal with transborder environmental issues have a longer history, most of the formal international organizations that have buildings ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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