Solutions to environmental problems require international cooperation, but global environmental treaty-making efforts, including the 1992 U.N.-sponsored Earth Summit in Brazil, have not accomplished much. International cooperation has been hampered by the conflicts between the developed nations of the North and the developing nations of the South; by the fact that science cannot accurately predict when or how environmental threats will materialize; and by the problem that the United Nations treaty-making system was never meant to handle threats to the environment.
Lawrence Susskind looks at the weaknesses of the existing system of environmental treaty-making and the increasing role of non-governmental interests in environmental diplomacy. Environmental Diplomacy argues for "nearly self-enforcing" agreements that ensure compliance without threatening sovereignty and maintains that new institutional arrangements are within reach. Susskind builds on the work of the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School and the International Environmental Negotiation Network to offer guidelines for more effective global agreements that provide for sustainable development.
"His central conclusions are sensible and in line with practice as it is evolving. I found particularly persuasive his advocacy of 'staged' environemntal treaties in which the fulfilment of each level of cooperation is the necessary prerequisite for moving on to the next."
– Tony Brenton, International Affairs
"a timely and valuable addition to the emerging body of literature on the international politics of the environment. It focuses almost uniquely on the process and practice of diplomacy on environmental issues, setting it apart from other existing texts in the field [...] Environmental Diplomacy should be a welcome addition to the library of any self-respecting analyst or practitioner of the international dimension to environmental problem-solving, either as a source of new ideas or as a valuable reference point"
"Lawrence Susskind's book on global diplomacy addresses the problems of global environmental treaty making in a clearly written, persuasive and practical way [...] The book is seductively well written, and reasonableness itself [...] it is a thought-provoking and realistic book."
– Times Higher Education Supplement
"This highly interesting book is based on case studies of fifteen major environmental-treaty efforts [...] deserves a wide readership among students of international relations and the environment [...] it is well written, and simply contains more interesting points than many other books in this field."
– Journal of Peace Research
"Susskind offers a sensible set of propositions [...] The book will appeal not only to specialists in the field of environmental politics but to a much broader audience concerned with transformation in the nature of multilateral diplomacy confronted by a far more complex international and domestic policy milieu."
– Environmental Politics
"This volume makes a valuable contribution to the environmental policy literature."
– Political Studies
"The author assumes sustainable development to be the agreed upon goal, the globe to be the available arena, and national representatives to be the primary actors. These assumptions, even though controversial, take this book beyond the scholarly domain and make it appealing to policy makers and national delgeates. Once the assumptions are accepted, Susskind's strategy becomes very powerful."
"The single best book on the negotiating process for protecting the global environment."
– Roger Fisher, Harvard Law School, co-author of Getting to Yes
"This book should be mandatory reading for every policymaker involved with the environment and natural resources at the national and international level and certainly by every environmentalist – from both government or non-government sectors – who is worried about the state of our world and is looking for new avenues."
– Dr. Uri Marinov, Former Director-General of Environmental Protection Services, Israel