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Most studies of environmental regimes focus on the use of power, the pursuit of rational self-interest and the influence of scientific knowledge. Lasse Ringius focuses instead on the influence of public ideas and policy entrepreneurs. He shows how transnational coalitions of policy entrepreneurs can build environmental regimes and how global environmental nongovernmental organizations can act as catalysts for regime change. This is the first book-length empirical study of the formation of the global ocean dumping regime in 1972 and its development, which culminated in the 1993 global ban on dumping of low-level radioactive waste at sea. Ringius describes the structure within which global ocean dumping policy, particularly with regard to the disposal of radioactive waste, is embedded. He examines the political construction of ocean dumping as a global environmental problem, the role of persuasion, and the formation of international public opinion. He does not argue that the influence of ideas alone explains how regimes develop, but claims that it is necessary to understand how actors, interests and ideas together influence regimes and international environmental policy.
This book makes a significant contribution by showing that, under certain circumstances, regimes can be created and changed by a combination of powerful but highly oversimplified 'public ideas' and transnational political entrepreneurs. The work is original and the scholarship is sound beyond any question. --Edward L. Miles, Virginia and Prentice Bloedel Professor of Marine Studies and Public Affairs, University of Washington