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Environmental Protection

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Chapter Summary

Today, environmental problems have increasingly global origins, either because they are by nature global, such as climate change, or because they result from pressures of a globalized economy on the environment, for instance deforestation. The need for global action is obvious, but unlike economic institutions so far it has been impossible to develop a comprehensive system of international environmental governance that includes effective compliance and enforcement mechanisms. After the first UN Conference on Environment 1972 in Stockholm, attended by exactly two prime ministers, environmental issues for the first time took center stage in international politics with the historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. While environmental protection gained increasing prominence in national politics all over the globe, in international policy-making progress was mainly made in the context of the foundation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Keywords: climate change; deforestation; enforcement mechanisms; environmental governance; environmental protection; globalized economy; UNCED; World Trade Organization (WTO)



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