NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Multinational Environmental Treaties: More Than Meets The Eye

November 28, 1995

It has been estimated that there are more than 180 multinational environmental treaties in operation today. Increasingly, policy hammered out at international forums affects the way businesses will operate around the globe.

Critics warn that:

  • These pacts are putting greater and greater cost burdens on businesses -- and consumers.
  • They sometimes are motivated by hidden agendas aimed at gaining one or another company or industry a competitive advantage over businesses in other parts of the world.
  • Under these agreements, countries lose a measure of their sovereignty -- as do citizens.
  • Decision-making is even further removed from voters, who have no power to vote out international bureaucrats.
  • Some of the plans call for taxing pollution or other penalties, which disadvantage the more highly industrialized countries.

Driving the tendency toward internationalism is a philosophical theory called sustainable development, in which local environmental concerns are turned into international standards that all localities must enforce.

Source: Daniel J. Murphy, "Can U.S. Afford International Treaties?" Investor's Business Daily, November 28, 1995.


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