compromise that would allow polluting countries to purchase or trade emission credits from countries whose emissions are below the acceptable levels. On the other hand, many industrialized countries, particularly the United States, are insisting that the treaty should impose requirements on newly industrialized nations and require developing countries to participate in a global plan to reduce climate-altering gases. During the next few years, people worldwide will be subjected to lobbying by powerful coalitions (environmentalists versus fossil-fuel providers and industries) that support and oppose the proposed treaty.
The preceding notwithstanding, several positive developments have resulted from these international conferences. The first is that they brought attention to the endangered global commons. Secondly, the conferences brought together international decision makers. Finally, the conferences galvanized the world's emerging environmental movement.
The importance of the world's environmental movement should not be overlooked. Most environmental agreements are not yet subject to international adjudication, and other mechanisms may be used to enforce them. Some of these agreements have been enforced by means of trade measures, pressures from nongovernmental organizations, and debt-for-nature swaps. International commitment to protecting the global commons, an effort that has attracted the attention of both public and private decision makers, has demonstrated the value of widespread cooperation in the affairs of government.