the times of hand shake agreements is long gone. everybody seems to accept that as long as you do not have a written document testifying an agreement, you have nothing. there is no court which would take over this case. in international relations there is no court. the system of anarchy determines there be no higher authority to rule over countries. yes there are international laws. no one is denying that. but as long as there is no actual method to sanction actions, there might as well be no law.
international agreements signed by states are indeed not binding in any form unless there is a powerful state which does indeed have a strong interest in the case. in the situation of environmental protection there seems a widely shared, yet unspoken, agreement that this nuisance of saving the environment should be dedicated to those times, when there is nothing important to worry about. a luxury problem. so that you have something to worry about when there is not really anything else to occupy your head with. to have a topic at hand, that can be used when there is no immediate threat to the stability and safety for a country, in order to give people something to worry about, so that they would not get the idea to look around and find other things they would want to change in their country.
realism states that a nations main interest is survival. today this means economical survival. so as soon as there is something important like the economic stability to worry about, any other issue, as inconvenient as its matter might be, is thrown off board. or how else could the european union draw back their highly praised goals of emission cut by 30 percent until 2020 just like that. in business, if you do not hold to an agreement, you get sued. in the case of environmental protection shaking off the deal seems like dropping a pen – not even worth mentioning.
just for the record – i am not questioning the prioritizing of political issues in this manner. i am observing the ease to shake off laws and agreements and make it seem like a shrug-of-the-shoulder-topic.
(information taken from the FAZ online journal – http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2012-09/klimawandel-doha-klimaziele on 9/5/12)