Summary of "Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet"

Summary of

Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet

By Richard Elliot Benedick

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium

Citation: Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet, Richard Elliot Benedick, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 1991), 293pp.

Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet will be of interest to those who seek an understanding of the history and contemporary attempts at mitigation of the ozone depletion problem. The work begins with an examination of the Montreal Protocol of 1987. The author discusses the challenges and leadership of those responsible for the Protocol and elements of success. Chapter two examines the science of the study and causes of ozone depletion. Benedick addresses what he terms ?disturbing theories' and the initial scientific response to those theories. He presents the findings of an international scientific venture which resulted in a report which was jointly attributed to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). After addressing the uncertainties inherent in predictions about the chemical composition of atmospheric layers, the author discusses the Antarctic ozone hole.

Benedick devotes chapter three to the examination of the underlying sources for the polar positions of the United States and the European Community "... over almost every issue at every step along the route to Montreal." The role of UNEP as the facilitator in a collaboration of the world's nations in which the ozone problem is framed in a global context is the next topic of discussion. Chapter five examines the formulation of the US position by several dozen governmental agencies and the subsequent presentation of this position. Benedick discusses the sequence of negotiations from Geneva to Montreal. Chapter seven carefully lays out the points of debate and discusses each in turn.

The aftermath of the signing of the Montreal Protocol is examined and the second thoughts from the third world and the early public and industry responses are discussed. The renewed sense of urgency and the emergence of new scientific approaches are discussed in relation to impending ratification deadlines. The parties to the Montreal Protocol met in 1989 in Helsinki for the purpose of preparing recommendations for revision of the Protocol. Four assessment panels worked during the summer of 1989 and produced an integrated summary of their conclusions: the Synthesis Report. This report became the basis for negotiations. Chapter eleven discusses the current state of the ozone depletion problem and addresses the proposals to strengthen controls.

Benedick presents the assertions of the developing world that they are bearing an unfair burden in re: responsibility for the problem. He also discusses the June 1990 meeting in London which considered and decided upon a proposal for revisions to the Montreal Protocol. The author examines in detail these considerations and decisions. He closes the book by addressing both the need for and complexities inherent in a new global diplomacy. The text is followed by a chronology and four appendices. The latter contain texts of: the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, March, 1985; Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, September, 1987; London Revisions to the Montreal Protocol, June, 1990; and a list of countries signing and ratifying the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol.

Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet is a succinct yet comprehensive examination of the global efforts to mitigate the ozone depletion problem. It contains clear explanations of the scientific evidence and the steps taken toward global consensus building.