January 29, 2013

E-International Relations

Posted in e-International Relations, Publications tagged , , , , , at 2:42 PM by Brian Gareau


  • Whatever Happened to Ozone Layer Politics?

Whatever Happened to Ozone Layer Politics?

ABSTRACT Despite the successes of the Montreal Protocol, the challenges facing global environment governance have intensified over the last two decades due to changes in rules and attitudes.

See full article here.


August 14, 2012

Journal of World-Systems Research

Posted in Journal of World-Systems Research, Publications at 4:59 AM by Brian Gareau

  • Theorizing Environmental Governance of the World-System: Global Political Economy Theory and Some Applications to Stratospheric Ozone Politics

By: Brian J. Gareau

Download: JWSR.vol18n2

ABSTRACT This paper incorporates world-systems perspectives into an analysis of global environmental politics, thus adjoining a political economic analysis of scale with studies of global environmental policy. It is the ability of some social groups and institutions to jump scale that determines how global environmental policies are shaped. The United States’ carbon-intensive economy is seen to face larger short-term costs from global environmental agreements than many other countries in the core of the world-system, but what remains unexplored in the environmental politics literature is the question of why the United States sees its long-term economic condition hindered by these agreements. This analysis points to the ways industry actors intervene at multiple scales of global environmental negotiations to affect national policy positions as well as larger discourses about science and risk. The article reviews the methyl bromide controversy in the Montreal Protocol to explain why this agreement has recently failed to live up to expectations in removing ozone-depleting substances. The United States is particularly responsible for this impediment: rather than innovate in response to new information and changing international contexts, industry actors have drawn upon US hegemony to enforce their dominant market positions. As the parties to the Montreal Protocol remain polarized over questions of methyl bromide use, this analysis calls for attention to the ways capital, states, and other social institutions are embedded in international environmental agreements and how they use such arrangements to obstruct successful multilateral agreements. I conclude by suggesting that environmental and other social movements might strategize in two ways: 1) by helping support an emergent ‘green hegemony’ (most apparent in Chinese policy) as a counterhegemonic alternative, and 2) by developing strategies that account for the ways industry interests overlap with declining US hegemony in a shifting world-system.

Keywords: Montreal Protocol, Hegemony, Ozone-depleting substances, US Agriculture industry, UNFCCC, Global inequality

July 16, 2012


Posted in Publications, Sustainability at 2:14 PM by Brian Gareau


Worlds Apart: A Social Theoretical Exploration of Local Networks, Natural Actors, and Practitioners of Rural Development in Southern Honduras

Download article here

ABSTRACT This paper explores the importance of incorporating the socioecological realities of alternative networks into analyses of rural development. Cultural theory is examined, which provides a base upon which rural development can identify difference in worldviews based on difference in sociological conditions and environmental phenomena. Actor-oriented theory problematizes the ideal types of cultural theory, providing a means of give-and-take between actors’ worldviews of different networks. Actor-network theory breaks down the nature-culture dichotomy of actor-oriented theory, so that nature becomes as ‘active’ an actor as people and community. Actor-network theory brings nature and society together, perceiving the two as mutually inclusive and constitutive. Coupled with recognition of power associated with political economic/ecological forces, actor-network theory can encourage us to see the frequency of tropical storms in Honduras as being among the powerful actors that have played a significant, consistent role in shaping the mode of ordering of impoverished Honduran peoples. This paper concludes by exploring how alternative, agroecological networks established in a protected area in southern Honduras with ‘strong’ natural actors can be re-ordered by incorporating autonomy and resiliency into the network.

August 6, 2011

Critical Sociology

Posted in Book Reviews at 9:52 AM by Brian Gareau


  • Review of C. Derber’s’ Greed to Green: Solving Climate Change and Remaking the Economy

By: Brian J. Gareau and Sara Ecott



April 20, 2011

Environmental Politics

Posted in Environmental Politics, Publications at 5:02 PM by Brian Gareau


  • The Limited Influence of Global Civil Society in the Montreal Protocol

By: Brian J. Gareau

Email author for electronic version of this paper: bgareau@gmail.com

ABSTRACT  Governance scholars have demonstrated that the agendas, discourses, and actions of global civil society groups are affected by powerful states.  In neo-liberal globalization, powerful states push for market-based schemes to resolve global environmental problems, and civil society groups often contribute to that agenda. Through the lens of governmentality, scholars have shown how civil society acts in ways that relegitimize and sustain state power/influence at the global scale. This study illustrates how international environmental nongovernmental organizations (IENGOs) operating in the Montreal Protocol contribute to the neo-liberalization of ozone governance, in some cases changing tactics to fit the neo-liberal discourse of the treaty.  Consequently, some IENGOs have recently abandoned discourses of global environmental health, global security, and general welfare to address neo-liberal concerns of individualism, competition, and transparency in ozone politics.

February 4, 2010

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law, and Economics

Posted in International Environmental Agreements, Publications at 12:10 PM by Brian Gareau


  • A Critical Review of the Successful CFC Phaseout and the Delayed Methyl Bromide Phaseout in the Montreal Protocol

By Brian J. Gareau

Email author for electronic version of this paper: bgareau@gmail.com

ABSTRACT The Montreal Protocol is often described as an international environmental agreement par excellence. After all, it successfully led to the phase-out of almost 95% of all chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) use. A critical review of the Protocol’s history, however, suggests that its successes are deeply entrenched in the economic opportunities that were made available to phase out CFCs. The Montreal Protocol, in other words, was a “best-case scenario” for CFC producers. This may be problematic for policymakers, ecological modernization practitioners, and other scholars who look to the Montreal Protocol for guidance in phasing out other global environmentally harmful substances and practices that are not as “economically efficient.” The shift to delay the phasing out of methyl bromide (MeBr) in the Protocol, an ozone-depleting substance used to this day primarily in strawberry and tomato production, demonstrates how even this most successful of international environmental agreements can become subject to significant setbacks when economic gains and scientific evidence are not obvious to the global powers. Furthermore, changes in what constitutes a viable exemption to the phase-out of CFCs versus MeBr marks a shift away from concern for the general functioning/welfare of society, and toward concern for the market performance of specific individuals. This shift runs parallel to a lack in economic incentives to phase out MeBr in the United States. The article demonstrates how civil society representation in ozone politics is largely dominated by industry interests, especially when scientific uncertainty is high.

November 25, 2008

Environment and Planning A

Posted in Environment & Plannning A, Publications at 6:39 PM by Brian Gareau


  • From Public to Private Global Environmental Governance: Lessons from the Montreal Protocol’s Stalled Methyl Bromide Phase-out

By Brian J. Gareau and E. Melanie DuPuis

Email authors for electronic version of this paper: bgareau@gmail.com

ABSTRACT The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a multilateral environmental agreement, has successfully eliminated the use of most ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). As a result, a number of observers have pointed to the possibility of transferring successes – and even linking regulations – between the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol, the international but stalled climate change agreement. We argue that there is the need for caution on this issue. The Montreal and Kyoto protocols are the outcomes of vastly different political contexts, from public civil society approaches to what we call “the private turn”: the current loss of faith in state sovereignty, the rejection of multilateralism, and an embrace of private knowledge about economic damage over public knowledge about the protection of citizens and natural resources. From this broader perspective, we show that the differences between the Montreal and Kyoto protocols are therefore more than “command-and-control” versus “market-based” solutions. These differences also reflect an even deeper divide over what “counts” as knowledge in political decision-making processes. We illustrate these points through a case study of the current knowledge controversies around the phase-out of methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol.  We explain how the methyl bromide phase-out is stalled because the phase-out approach is incompatible with the current political regime, thus supporting the argument that neoliberal forms of governance cannot solve global environmental problems. This case, therefore, shows us that the challenges we face are more than atmospheric: to save the Earth we must create new ways to govern ourselves.

August 18, 2008

Agriculture & Human Values

Posted in Book Reviews at 11:03 PM by Brian Gareau


  • Review of E. Diaz-Bonilla et al.’s WTO Negotiations and Agricultural Trade Liberalization: The Effect of Developed Countries’ Policies on Developing Countries

By: Brian J. Gareau


Diaz-Bonilla et al. Review

May 22, 2008

Ph.D. Thesis

Posted in Ph.D. Dissertation, Publications at 8:47 PM by Brian Gareau


  • Dangerous Holes in Global Environmental Governance: The Roles of Neoliberal Discourse, Science, and California Agriculture in the Montreal Protocol

By: Brian J. Gareau

ABSTRACT The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a global environmental treaty that commits all signatories to strict schedules for the decline in the use of ozone-depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methyl bromide (MeBr). The successful phase-out of CFCs under the protocol prompted analysts to declare it to be the most successful example of global environmental governance in existence. The current phase-out of MeBr, however, has been greatly delayed, prompting significant criticism from environmental advocates, national governments, and members of the scientific community. “Critical Use Exemptions” (CUEs) to the MeBr phase-out, granted mainly to strawberry and tomato growers in the US, have led to a great deal of controversy at the protocol. Using empirical data gathered while attending Montreal Protocol meetings from 2003-2006, this dissertation explores the MeBr controversy, illustrating how the stalled MeBr phase-out involves interconnections between geopolitics, agro-industry, and scientific knowledge. I obtained information for the case study from several sources: 1) in-depth and informal interviews; 2) direct observation, and; 3) historical and archival research. From 2003 to 2006, I attended each of the annual “Meetings of the Parties” (MOP), the two “Extraordinary Meetings,” and the annual “Open-ended Working Group” (OEWG) meetings of the Montreal Protocol as an “Observer.” The dissertation shows how neoliberalism, as a dominant discourse and economic practice, has become embedded in the protocol, and how the US is able to act protectionist amid that discourse. The dissertation, however, also demonstrates how the MeBr controversy involves much more than just economic protectionism per se; it also involves the protection of the legitimacy of US science. While the global community pushes for acknowledgement of global scientific knowledge on the alternatives to MeBr, US actors stress the primacy of US scientific knowledge. Therefore, while the US is indeed determined to protect its economic interests, the MeBr case shows how it is perhaps just as keen on protecting the legitimacy of its scientific knowledge base as the spokesperson for global science/knowledge on MeBr and its alternatives. The dissertation illustrates how global civil society groups involved in the protocol are affected by the neoliberal discourse, which has left them relatively ineffective in reversing the CUE process.

All Images and Content Copyright Brian J. Gareau 2009 All Rights Reserved

April 29, 2008

Social Science Quarterly

Posted in Publications, Social Science Quarterly at 7:41 PM by Brian Gareau


  • Neoliberal Knowledge: The Decline of Technocracy and the Weakening of the Montreal Protocol

By: E. Melanie DuPuis and Brian J. Gareau

Download: DuPuis.Gareau.SSQU_576.2008

ABSTRACT Objective. The turn to participatory, stakeholder modes of governance has been accompanied by the legitimization of a new ‘‘particularist knowledge regime” emphasizing the knowledge claims made by private interests and local voices. It has also tended to de-legitimize the ways of knowing that had characterized central state governance, namely, state expertise based on general welfare analytics such as cost-benefit analysis. This turn away from state expertise, what we call the ‘‘anti-technocratic consensus,” while stemming from democratic motivations, may actually make environmental governance less democratic. Method. We examine the problems that arise from the abandonment of general welfare economic analytics and technical expertise-the anti-technocratic consensus-through a specific case study: the recent handling of ‘‘critical use exemptions” to the ban on methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol, a treaty that mandates the elimination of methyl bromide in order to protect the ozone layer. We show that decisionmakers specifically rejected general welfare analytics as a basis of regulatory action in favor of a particularist form of analytics based on measuring market disruption. Results. This case illustrate how the de-legitimization of technical expertise can weaken the effectiveness of an environmental agreement in meeting its regulatory mandate. Critics have often criticized technical expertise as supporting the economic status quo. However, in the case of methyl bromide and the Montreal Protocol, technical experts using general welfare analytics represented a challenge to U.S. regulatory officials who supported industrial interests and their request for significant exemptions to the ban. Conclusion. The legitimization of a particularist knowledge regime opens up policy making to domination by private interests playing the stakeholder game. Stakeholder input and particularist knowledges are important to democratic decision making. However, technical expertise, despite all its weaknesses, is a form of knowledge that remains necessary to the protection of the environment and public health.

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