Baker Scholar Projects

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2023


When Uruguay and Argentina first gained their respective independence in the early 1800s, they appeared to be following the same path of development As countries that came from the same Spanish colonization, share almost identical agricultural economies, and retain a close relationship, it is logical that they would follow similar trajectories. This assumption proves to be inaccurate in more ways than one, but most prominently within the environmental sphere. One way to analyze this difference in policy implementation lies in compliance with international environmental treaties which contain specific goals and limits for all parties involved. The Kyoto Protocol presents a prime opportunity for analysis of compliance between the two countries by examining their emissions as compared to their original targets. Uruguay has demonstrated a superior commitment to Argentina in meeting emissions targets. To account for this discrepancy, a combination of political, economic, and historical factors was considered. The most influential difference out of these variables remains in contrast to Uruguay’s political centrality – Uruguay has a little over 1 million fewer square miles than Argentina. Wielding control and gaining consensus on any national policy has historically been easier for Uruguay, making a nationwide effort easier to accomplish. This politics of this centrality feature has offered the most significant explanation to account for the vast difference in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol when compared to its neighboring country of Argentina.

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