Saurer Regen über Nordostasien

Warum effektive Kooperation versagt

  • Jost Wübbeke (Autor/in)


Concomitant to China's economic growth, trans-boundary acid rain has turned into a major challenge to environmental cooperation in Northeast Asia. Emissions from China's industries and a growing traffic volume are causing considerable damage to Japan and South Korea, much to the dissatisfaction of the eastern neighbors. Initiated by Japan and South Korea, a host of monitoring networks and fora provide a governance framework for the problem, but up to now, efforts failed to create effective institutional settings. North East Asia basically lacks a regional regime, which establishes binding emission targets for acid rain-causing substances. From the view of integrating various international relations theories, this analysis argues that power relations, national interests, and differing problem perceptions impede deeper cooperation. Japan, the environmental hegemon in East Asia, has only limited ability and willingness to invest in multilateral mechanisms to combat acid rain. In addition, with the potential costs and benefits of realizing reduction targets being unequally distributed, states do not share common interests about how to tackle the issue. Finally, different perceptions about the economic impact of trans-boundary acid rain hinder regional environmental cooperation.