From Precaution to Profit Contemporary Challenges to Environmental Protection in the Montreal Protocol Brian Gareau

Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Publication date:
23 Apr 2014
Yale University Press
384 pages: 203 x 130mm
6 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

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Why, when global environmental protection efforts have never been more important, is the world’s most widely acclaimed environmental agreement failing?  

The Montreal Protocol has been cited as the most successful global environmental agreement, responsible for phasing out the use of ozone-depleting substances. But, says Brian Gareau in this provocative and engaging book, the Montreal Protocol has failed—largely because of neoliberal ideals involving economic protectionism but also due to the protection of the legitimacy of certain forms of scientific knowledge. Gareau traces the rise of a new form of disagreement among global powers, members of the scientific community, civil society, and agro-industry groups, leaving them relatively ineffective in their efforts to push for environmental protection.


Brian J. Gareau is associate professor of sociology and international studies at Boston College. He lives in Concord, MA.

“A lesser author would have concluded with unqualified pessimism. To his credit, Gareau uses his analysis as an opportunity to explore lessons and possible solutions. This is an extremely important book.” —Choice

From Precaution to Profit makes it clear that nation-states are the decisive actors, and that global institutions have limited power to coerce the most powerful national governments. Gareau has helpfully specified the ways that neoliberalization is undermining global environmental governance.”—Daniel Aldana Cohen, Journal of World-Systems Research

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 in the International Relations Category.

“Brian Gareau’s insightful From Precaution to Profit dives deep into a cav­ernous hole in what is widely considered to be the most successful inter­national environmental treaty in history."—Social Forces

From Precaution to Profit is an outstanding book that makes an extremely valuable contribution to our understanding of global environmental governance. Gareau’s work should be widely read by both environmental sociologists and those interested in global and transnational processes.”—American Journal of Sociology