Recent Trends in International Environmental Agreements: Declining or What?
Keywords:nternational environmental agreements, international law, environmental problems, climate change, international agreements
Most environmental problems, such as climate change, pollution, and biodiversity
loss, are transboundary issues, and can only be addressed effectively through international cooperation. Countries, therefore, have joined international agreements to solve such problems. Given the intensifying impacts of environmental issues, one may assume that international environmental agreements have been increasing in number. However, our preliminary investigation showed that international agreements have only increased up until the early 2000s
and have been decreasing since then. How can we explain this recent downturn? In this project, we look for some explanations by analyzing the data from the International Environmental Agreements Database. We have found that (1) it was mostly bilateral agreements, not multilateral agreements, that have declined significantly; (2) agreements among European countries decreased; (3) compared to the new agreements, amendments to the existing agreements have been on an upward trend; (4) each subject of the agreements shows a different trend.