Bringing a variety of perspectives to the table, there are three very influential actors involved in global environmental governance: Nation States, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Corporations. Scientists have been excluded from the category of actor because any of these three actors may hire scientists to inform and support their position. The general public has also been excluded because of the strong influence of these three main actors on individuals' positions.
Nation States may be considered the most important actor because official state representatives are the only actors capable of voting, decision making, and signing treaties. Governments have the economic, political, and military resources to meet the goals of treaties and enforce them on their own citizens. There is some debate as to the motives and interests of nation states as actors in global environmental governance. One realist theory is that governments only choose to involve themselves in international agreements when they have the opportunity to gain something for themselves or put themselves in an advantageous position over others.
In contrast, an institutionalist theory suggests that nation states do have interest in the overall benefit and welfare of the international community regardless of their position. Whichever theory is correct, the one definite is that the goals and interests of nation states are pursued through bargaining and do play a role in the outcomes of international environmental politics. (O'Neill 49)
[...] This organization is set up in a way that allows any individual to become a member and get involved in a variety of ways. Through this NGO, and others like it, individual citizens are given a voice on the international negotiations' stage. (Greenpeace) The most privatized major actors in the global environmental governance scene are corporations. This is also the most controversial set of actors as corporations often have the most to lose with additional environmental regulations and as critics suggest, are largely responsible for the environmental crises of today. [...]
[...] Corporations typically form their own NGO for political action. These are referred to as BINGOs or Business and Industry Non-Governmental Organizations. Some corporate actors will act directly by attending negotiations while others act indirectly by lobbying governments. The motives of the corporate sector also vary greatly. Some are looking to obtain an advantage in the international market while others simply try to keep the playing field even. An example of this can be seen in the Ozone regime. During negotiations to ban CFCs internationally the United States chemical company, Dupont, fully supported the ban because they had already been placed under strict regional regulations and hoped to level the playing field by extending these regulations to the international market. [...]
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