College of Liberal Arts

Understanding the Outcomes of International Environmental Agreements: Sovereignty Versus Rationality

Friday Apr 14, 2017 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM | CLA 0.128

Persons not involved in international environmental negotiations often are surprised that the outcomes of multilateral or bilateral negotiations do not appear to be consistent with what rational actors would do. The explanation for many outcomes is sovereignty: supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign state. The talk illustrates these principles with outcomes of current US-Mexico negotiations over water quality in the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo and other examples, such as the law of the sea and global climate negotiations.  

David Eaton is the Bess Harris Jones Centennial Professor of Natural Resource Policy Studies in the LBJ School of Public Affairs of The University of Texas at Austin (UT), with a zero-time appointment in the Department of Geography and the Environment. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from The Johns Hopkins University in 1977, after having served part-time on the staff of the U.S. President’s Council on Environmental Quality (1970-73), the Office of the President’s Science Advisor (1974-5), and the World Bank (1975-76) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (1975-76). He came to UT in 1976 and teaches courses in quantitative methods, environmental management, and field classes on large-scale infrastructure issues within the US and in other nations. His research addresses issues of environmental management (air, water, solid and hazardous wastes) and insurance, among other topics. Since 2011, Eaton has assisted the Mexican and US governments in facilitating bilateral negotiations over improving water quality within the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo.

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