By Matthew J. Hoffmann

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CONCLUSION In the early 1990s, universal participation became the way to address ozone depletion and climate change. After the transition from North-only to universal participation that followed the Montreal Protocol, this underlying definition influenced how states approached the climate change problem. The lock in around universal participation has fundamentally shaped the global governance of these issues. Because of universal participation, development issues have been at the forefront of the discussions and the negotiations have taken place under a very large spotlight—the whole world is watching and participating.

First, because participation requirements decisively influence governance processes and outcomes, leaving them unexplained leads to deficient explanations of governance. Second, when “obvious” participation requirements are left assumed, rather than examined, we lose the ability to explain change in those requirements—a deficiency highlighted by the evolution in participation in the 1990s and the subsequent change in governance processes. I address three potential alternative stories of the commitment to universal participation in depth and demonstrate their inability to account for the rise of current conventional wisdom.

24 There are three problems, however, with relying on problem characteristics to determine participation requirements. First, explanations based on the characteristics of ozone depletion and climate change usually turn to “science” to discern the relevant characteristics that justify a level of participation. S. Congressman Boehlert during a hearing on ozone depletion further supports Litfin’s thesis: Thank you Dr. Watson. You are a scientist, and it is important to get some scientific input here.

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