Sociological studies of global agriculture need to pay close attention to the protectionist aspects of neoliberalism at the global scale of environmental governance. With agri-food studies in the social sciences broadening interrogations of the impact of neoliberalism on agri-food systems and their alternatives, investigating global environmental governance (GEG) will help reveal its impacts on the global environment, global science/knowledge, and the potential emergence of ecologically sensible alternatives. It is argued here that as agri-food studies of neoliberalism sharpen the focus on these dimensions the widespread consequences of protectionism of US agri-industry in GEG will become better understood, and the solutions more readily identifiable. This paper illustrates how the delayed phase out of the toxic substance methyl bromide in the Montreal Protocol exemplifies the degree to which the US agri-industry may be protected at the global scale of environmental governance, thus prolonging the transition to ozone-friendly alternatives. Additionally, it is clear that protectionism has had a significant impact on the dissemination and interpretation of science/knowledge of methyl bromide and its alternatives. Revealing the role that protectionism plays more broadly in the agriculture/environmental governance interface, and its oftentimes negative impacts on science and potential alternatives, can shed light on how protectionism can be made to serve ends that are at odds with environmental protection.
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