Handing Over Leadership: Transatlantic Environmental Governance as a Functional Relationship

Global environmental governance has experienced a remarkable evolution over the last two decades, seeing the United States handing over its leadership role to the European Union. This paper analyses the transformation of transatlantic environmental governance through the lens of three scenarios, namely enduring partnership, structural drift and functional relationship. While the emergence of major disagreements over key issues such as climate change and biodiversity precludes the possibility of considering transatlantic environmental relations as an enduring partnership, these tensions have not degenerated into a structural drift, and various forms of cooperation have endured at different levels and in different environmental issue-areas. Due to the coexistence of cooperation and disagreement and the key role played by domestic political factors in shaping EU and US environmental postures, the present and future evolution of the transatlantic environmental partnership can be best conceptualised as a functional relationship.
Paper produced within the framework of the IAI project Transworld.

Roma, Istituto affari internazionali, June 2014, 19 p.
Publication date: 

1. The Evolution of Environmental Governance in the US and the EU
1.1. Environmental Governance in the US
1.2. Environmental Governance in the EU: Leadership by Default?
2. Patterns of Convergence and Divergence in Transatlantic Environmental Governance
3. Transatlantic Environmental Relations Examined: A Functional Relationship
Conclusions: The Future of Transatlantic Environmental Governance

Research area