American Foreign Environmental Policy and the Power of the State

By Stephen Hopgood | Go to book overview

4
American Preparations for the Rio Conference after 1990

The early stages of preparation for Rio were similar to Stockholm. An interagency task force was set up under ambassador Robert Ryan of the State Department's Office of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). Called the US UNCED Coordination Center, it was based at the CEQ in order to facilitate communication -- the CEQ having been charged, under chairman Michael Deland, with the task of producing the USA's national report. This co-ordination centre drew its members from many other federal agencies and departments and provided the focal point for preparations on the declaration, Agenda 21, and the forests convention (not climate or biodiversity). State was also responsible for leading the delegations to negotiations on these latter conventions. These different avenues of preparation (UNCED co-ordination, climate, biodiversity, forests) were channelled through the head of IESA, E. U. Curtis 'Buff' Bohlen, and then through Robert Zoellick, who in 1991 was both counsel to the State Department and Under-Secretary of State for Economics.1

As the process unfolded, however, intrastate bargaining spilled over increasingly into more informal contacts. The major players from the White House, EPA, and State would confront each other on a day-to-day basis. For State this meant, principally, Zoellick, for the EPA, Reilly, and for the Oval Office, Boyden Gray, OMB director Richard Darman, and his deputy, Bob Grady, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Michael Boskin, along with chiefof-staff John Sununu and, following his resignation, domesticpolicy advisor Clayton Yeutter. In addition, towards the end of the

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Zoellick formally had responsibility for OES, but was even more heavily involved because Secretary of State James Baker excused himself due to a potential conflict of interests. The absence of Baker, whose views were moderate, whose political instincts were acute, and who had the clout to challenge John Sununu, further weakened the position of administration activists like William Reilly.

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