Science & Tech

Violators of environmental treaties should have to pay

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Countries that do not comply with environmental treaties should be hit hard in their pocketbooks, MIT professor Lawrence Susskind said at a special lecture delivered today at the AAAS Meeting in Boston.

Susskind pointed out contrary to their intentions, international environmental treaties are not playing a real role in slowing the pace of ecological damage. Pacts such as the Kyoto Protocol are not sufficient because
they are not ratified by key countries and are inadequately financed, he said.

The Kyoto Protocol is one of the many global environmental treaties aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and addressing problems such as ocean dumping and fishery management. The United States has not signed the

Reforms must engage civil societies, not just governments, in drafting and enforcing these global treaties, Susskind said. He also suggested that incentives be given to nations that comply with the treaty’s terms and
economic penalties be leveled at those that don’t.

“All the multilateral banks and lending institutions, the World Trade Organization, and the UN agencies should require compliance with global environmental-treaty provisions as a prerequisite for loans or participation in any of their activities,” Susskind said.