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why is it difficult to enforce international environmental regualations around the globe.
What does CITES mean?
In the US most states, like California, have enacted their own environmental laws and established agencies to enforce them.
California faced some of its first environmental challenges in the mid-1800's, with regard to debris from the hydraulic mining of gold. Water quality concerns, dangers of flooding, negative impact on agriculture and hazards to navigation prompted the state to act.
Some of California's environmental regulations preceded similar federal laws. For example, California established the nation's first air quality program in the 1950s. Much of the federal Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 were based upon the California Clean Air Act of 1988.
California also pioneered advances in vehicle emission controls, control of toxic air pollutants and control of stationary pollution sources before federal efforts in those areas. The Porter-Cologne Act of 1970, upon which the state's water quality program is based, also served as the model for the federal Clean Water Act.
California's state environmental regulations are sometimes more stringent than the federal laws (e.g., the California Clean Air Act and vehicle emissions standards). In other program areas, no comparable federal legislation exists.
For example, the California Integrated Waste Management Act established a comprehensive, statewide system of permitting, inspections, enforcement and maintenance for solid waste facilities and sets minimum standards for solid waste handling and disposal to protect air, water and land from pollution. Also, Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act) requires the Governor to publish a list of chemicals that are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Conventions, or treaties, generally set forth international environmental regulations. These conventions and treaties often result from efforts by international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) or the World Bank. However, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to enforce these regulations because of the sovereign rights of countries. In addition rules and regulations set forth in such agreements may be no more than non-binding recommendations, and often countries are exempted from regulations due to economic or cultural reasons.
Despite these shortcomings, the international community has achieved some success via its environmental agreements. These include an international convention that placed a moratorium on whaling (1986) and a treaty that banned the ocean dumping of wastes (1991).
The UN often facilitates international environmental efforts. In 1991, the UN enacted an Antarctica
Treaty, which prohibits mining of the region, limits pollution of the environment and protects its animal
species. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is a branch of the UN that specifically deals with worldwide environmental problems. It has helped with several key efforts at global environmental regulations such as:
The 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. As a result of
this global agreement, industrialized countries have ceased or reduced the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES). This agreement protects over 30,000 of the world's endangered species.
The Rotterdam Convention (1998) addressed the growing trade in hazardous pesticides and chemicals. Importing countries must now give explicit informed consent before hazardous chemicals can cross their borders.
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