International Environment Threats through Transboundary Acidification: Nation-Level Positions within the International Environmental Structure

Sprinz, D. (1990). International Environment Threats through Transboundary Acidification: Nation-Level Positions within the International Environmental Structure. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-90-013

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Cross-national environmental pollution can be understood as a limitation to national welfare caused by actors beyond the jurisdiction of a state. Both, the international environmental structure as well as domestic variables may account for the variation found across states with respect to international environmental regulation. The author wishes to explain why the European member states of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) subscribe to or refrain from the international regulation of the Long Range Transport of Air Pollutants (LRTAP), which is commonly called "acid rain."

This study focuses on the question: Is there an international environmental structure (like international emission/deposition patterns) for sulfuric acidification in Europe which might influence the extent of international environmental regulation? Three perspectives on the international environmental structure are presented: 1. The deposition perspective: Each country is treated as a unit which receives pollutants from other countries. 2. The international trade perspective: Each country is analyzed as a participant in unwanted international "trade" of environmental pollutants. 3. The emission perspective: Each country is viewed as a unit which threatens other nations via exported emissions. The author used the results generated by the Regional Acidification and INformation Simulation model (RAINS) of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) to test hypotheses related to each of these perspectives.

The analyses demonstrate that Central Europe is in a disadvantageous position from a deposition perspective. Furthermore, some East European countries are strongly externalizing their environmental problems because they are net exporters of pollutants; from an emission perspective it can be show that some East European countries are likely to be exposed to diplomatic pressure since their exported emissions pose substantial threats abroad. In conclusion, states find themselves in grossly unequal positions with respect to internationally caused sulfuric acidification. The paper concludes with a theoretical interpretation of the findings and points to options for future research.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Transboundary Air Pollution (TAP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:00
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:13

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