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The Rio Conference

How do you start a The Rio Conference research paper? Our expert writers suggest like this:

It has been almost eight years since the Rio Summit on the Environment was held. The so called “Earth Summit” was, as Panjabi has noted, attended with great theatricality, and it has been criticized since as having been, environmentally speaking, more smoke than fire.  If a consensus may be said to have emerged in the intervening years, it is perhaps best exemplified by the assessment of Chris Park: the substantive achievements of the Conference fell well short of what might have been achieved, but the Conference was nevertheless useful and “an important step on the long-term path towards environmentally stable development".

The Rio Conference

This consensus is, however, far from being monolithic.  There are those in the environmental movement who believe that the Conference was a total failure, a mere political posturing in the face of acute problems in need of real solutions.  On the other hand, critics of the environmental movement, such as Robert Balling, have argued that the declarations agreed to at Rio may force the US to be eventually pressured into premature and needlessly expensive policies with respect to controlling global warming.  Your research paper on the Rio Conference should point out that by gutting key provisions in the proposals made at Rio, the United States adopted vis-à-vis Europe a “you go first” posture with respect to bearing the economic costs which real solutions to real environmental problems would entail.  The problem with such a “you go first” posture is that in a free market in which Europe and the United States are in a competitive relationship, the voluntary and unilateral assumption of costs places the party paying them at a competitive disadvantage.  Which, in turn, constitutes an economic disincentive to pay those costs and thereby hinders environmental progress.

The attitude of European leaders before the Conference seems to reflect in the research paper to have been a mixture of shrewd posturing and a genuine wish to do something consequential due to the following:

  • In April of 1992 plans were being floated in the European Community (EC) to propose at the Conference that the EC would raise taxes on oil by $10 a barrel, this to reduce consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Implementation of this proposal would have been contingent upon similar measures being adopted by the US and Japan.
  • The EC claimed that while the EC was responsible for 13% of CO2 emissions the US share was 23%. In mid-May this proposal was still very much alive; the European Community Commission was calling for the tax in spite of industry opposition, opposition that was based on the anti-competitive (for Europe) pressures that would be generated by raising European energy prices. Towards the end of May the environment ministers of the EC had backed away from making this proposal at Rio.

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