Montreal Protocol, for example, is widely considered to be one of the most successful MEAs (see Box 10). A part of this success is due to its skilful drafting, which enabled flexible solutions and included provisions for common but differentiated responsibilities, as well as the creation of robust financing through the establishment of a Multilateral Fund to assist developing countries to comply with the control measures of the Protocol, in particular with the incremental costs of implementation. The Montreal Protocol also succeeded because of the nature of the problem being regulated: it could focus on a specific range of products for which substitutes could be developed, and conferred relatively large benefits to politically influential players at relatively low costs (Sunstein 2007). With a more complex issue like climate change – which has impacts across industries, comes at high cost and disputed benefits, and involves challenges such as the allocation of emission rights and the financing of adaptation – it has proven to be much harder to reach collective consensus.
Even when the process is relatively smooth, the effectiveness of MEAs is sometimes hampered by relatively weak enforcement mechanisms. Few MEAs result in punitive action, and most compliance mechanisms consist of self-reporting and facilitation measures – an area where, again, some MEAs could perhaps be strengthened (UNEP 2006).
Box 10: The Montreal Protocol
The implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has been successful in not only controlling substances that deplete the ozone layer but also in driving a green economy. To date, the international convention has reduced the production and consumption of nearly 100 industrial chemicals known as ozone depleting substances (ODS) by more than 97 per cent (UNEP Ozone Secretariat 2010). Most ODS have high global warming potential, and the phasing out of many of these chemicals has had the additional benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 11 billion tonnes CO2
per year, which is 5-6 times the reduction target of the Kyoto Protocol for the period 2008-2012 (Velders et al. 2007). It is estimated that the implementation of the projects in developing countries that have been approved to date under the Montreal Protocol’s funding mechanism – the Multilateral Fund (see multilateralfund.org) – will result in climate mitigation co-benefits estimated at more than 3 billion tonnes of CO2
at a cost of around US$1/tonne CO2
-equivalent (GtCO2 -eq.
Other benefits derived from the implementation of the Montreal Protocol include savings associated with reduced ultraviolet radiation damage to crops, livestock and materials, and the avoidance of cancer and eye cataracts in humans. For example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) recently reported that the Protocol will result in the avoidance of more than 22 million additional new cataract cases for those born between 1985 and 2100 in the US alone (US EPA 2010).
The Montreal Protocol has also generated considerable economic and social benefits, including the creation of opportunities in the replacement and phase-out of unwanted ODS, the production of ODS substitutes, the development and marketing of ozone and climate friendly equipment, and in the creation and funding of National Ozone Units in developing countries (Multilateral Fund Secretariat 2010). The benefits from the Montreal Protocol are expected to grow as countries are now committed to phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and replace these with climate and ozone friendly alternatives.
International trade law The multilateral trading system can have significant influence on green economic activity, enabling or obstructing the flow of green goods, technologies and investments. Much of trade’s influence − for good or for bad − depends on the types of domestic policies discussed elsewhere in this chapter. If environmental resources are properly priced at the national level, then the international trading regime should allow countries to sustainably exploit their comparative advantage in natural resources for mutual gain. Analysis in the Water chapter illustrates, for example, the potential for water- scarce regions to relieve pressure on local supplies by importing water-intensive products
abundant regions. Similarly, if domestic regimes and policies are in place that allow poor countries to fully exploit the potential gains from trade liberalization, then trade can be a powerful driver of development and poverty alleviation.
At least part of the influence of trade stems from the internationally agreed rules by which international trade is conducted. The current WTO Doha Round negotiations include issues that could support the transition to a green economy. For example, negotiations are currently focused on the removal of fisheries subsidies, which often contribute directly to overfishing. Trade negotiators are also discussing the reduction of