Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy

From American and Comparative Environmental Policy

Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy

Industry, Environmentalists, and U.S. Power

By Elizabeth R. DeSombre





How do international environmental standards come into being? One important way, as Elizabeth DeSombre shows in this book, is through the internationalization of regulations that one or more countries have undertaken domestically. Domestic environmental regulation, DeSombre argues, can create an incentive for environmentalists and industry—previously at odds with each other—to work together to shape international environmental policy. For environmentalists, international regulation offers greater protection of a resource. For industry, internationalization prevents unregulated foreign industries from operating at a competitive advantage. Domestic forces acting together often push for the threat or imposition of economic restrictions on countries resisting regulation. DeSombre examines this dynamic primarily from the perspective of United States environmental policy. Looking at major regulations on endangered species, air pollution, and fisheries conservation, she determines which ones the United States has attempted to internationalize and how successful the attempts have been. She underlines the importance of regulated industries in the creation of international environmental policy and presents evidence that power and threat play a significant role in the adoption of international regulations, despite the perception of international environmental politics as an arena of friendly interaction over mutual interests. She also discusses the origins of international cooperation, the regulatory effects of free trade, the usefulness of economic sanctions, and the interaction between domestic and international politics. Thus the book has theoretical implications for the fields of environmental politics and policy, international diplomacy, and international political economy.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262041799 314 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262541077 314 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • The author presents a very important set of ideass. The book will work well for both advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It may also prove useful for instructors of general courses in international politicale economy.

    Lamont C. Hempel

    Hedco Chair in Environmental Studies and Director of Environemental Programs, University of Redlands

  • This is a well-argued and theoretically interesting book. The author makes a number of important and generally neglected arguments regarding linkages between unilateral and multilateral environmental action, the counterintuitive role of threeats in forging international policry concensus, and most significantly, the crucial congruence of 'baptists' and 'bootleggers' in many instances of international environmental cooperation.

    Karen T. Lifftin

    University of Washington

  • This is a significant contribution in several respects: It tests a number of theories about the origins and fate of U.S-promoted international regulatory regines that have not previously been carefully examined empirically; it reaches important conclusions that link the configuration of domestic politics on environmental regulatory issues with their internaional diimplomatic fate; it raises significant questions aboutt the importance of power politics in the development of international regulatory regimes and challenges many standard assumptions about the relationship; and it vert carefullly and explicitly explores the broader conceptual implications for a number of research fields including economics, environmental politics, and international dimplomacy.

    Walter A. Rosenbaum

    Professor of Political Science, University of Florida


  • Winner of the 2000 Chadwick F. Alger Award presented by the International Studies Association (ISA).