International Relations Global Environmental Politics
by
Loren Cass
  • LAST REVIEWED: 13 April 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 August 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0014

Introduction

Global environmental politics is a relatively new field of study within international relations that focuses on issues related to the interaction of humans and the natural world. As early as the mid-19th century, there were scholars writing about the role of natural resources in global security and political economy. However, much of the literature prior to the 1980s related specifically to resource extraction and development issues. It was only in the 1980s and into the 1990s that global environmental politics began to establish itself as a distinct field with its own dedicated journals and publishers, and the focus of study expanded to include global environmental problems such as ozone depletion, climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and desertification. It has emerged as a center of interdisciplinary work that integrates research from a range of fields including geography, economics, history, law, biology, and numerous others. The interdisciplinary approach makes it difficult to define the boundaries in this rather immense field of study. The focus in this entry will be on global environmental politics research that falls primarily within the larger field of international relations. Global environmental problems present many unique challenges and have thus spawned a range of subfields of study. Global environmental problems frequently involve substantial scientific complexity and ambiguity. This has produced a wide-ranging scholarship on the relationships between science and policy. The very long timeframes of both the consequences of environmental problems as well as the efforts to address them create a number of governance challenges given the much shorter political timeframes of politicians and diplomats. In addition, because environmental problems typically do not respect borders, they pose challenges for international cooperation, which has thus produced a growing literature on global environmental governance. The widespread potential for massive economic, political, and ecological dislocation from the consequences of global environmental problems as well as from the potential policies to address those problems have led scholars to study global environmental politics from every paradigm within international relations as well as drawing on research in numerous other disciplines. Finally, efforts to address the consequences of environmental problems have produced controversial ethical and distributive-justice questions that have produced an important philosophical literature within global environmental politics. Global environmental politics has thus emerged as a very rich and diverse area of scholarship.

General Overviews

As the field of global environmental politics has matured, an increasing number of scholars have sought to map the contours of the field and offer histories of the evolution of scholarship. The Hurrell and Kingsbury 1992 and Choucri 1993 edited volumes provide good reviews of the state of the field in the early 1990s as global environmental politics first began to emerge as a distinct field of study. Zürn 1998 and Mitchell 2002 offer very good discussions of the evolution of global environmental politics with a primary focus on international institutions and regimes and the transnational forces that influence their creation and operation. Dauvergne 2012; Betsill, et al. 2014; and Harris 2014 provide some of the most comprehensive overviews of the evolution and current state of scholarship in global environmental politics and significantly expand the discussion beyond international regimes and institutions. Stevis 2010 provides the most thorough tracing of the rise of global environmental politics as a field of study and the most complete bibliography of works associated with the evolution of the field.

  • Betsill, Michelle M., Kathryn Hochstetler, and Dimitris Stevis, eds. Palgrave Advances in International Environmental Politics. 2d ed. New York: Palgrave, 2014.

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    Identifies the major research areas within the field of global environmental politics and offers accounts of the debates, methodological issues, and future trajectories of study; divides the literature into three parts: the larger context for studying global environmental politics, major research areas, and frameworks for evaluating global environmental politics; provides a good starting place for graduate students or scholars entering the field of global environmental politics.

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  • Choucri, Nazli, ed. Global Accord: Environmental Challenges and International Responses. Global Environmental Accords series. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993.

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    Relatively early review of the state of global environmental politics as a distinct subfield; provides a call for changes in how to study human/environment relations; offers a range of theoretical perspectives, discussions of actors, and international institutions affecting global environmental politics.

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  • Dauvergne, Peter, ed. Handbook of Global Environmental Politics. 2d ed. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2012.

    DOI: 10.4337/9781849809412Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Brings together leading scholars of global environmental politics; divided into four sections to evaluate the scholarship on global environmental politics: states and cooperation, global governance, international political economy of the environment, and knowledge and ethics.

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  • Harris, Paul G., ed. Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics. New York: Routledge, 2014.

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    Provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of global environmental politics and divides the literature into four parts: introduction to the field, actors and institutions, competing ideas and themes, and case studies in global environmental politics.

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  • Hurrell, Andrew B., and Benedict Kingsbury, ed. The International Politics of the Environment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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    Relatively early review of global environmental politics literature; focuses on the forces shaping the creation of international environmental regimes, law, and organizations; places particular emphasis on the role of power and conflicts of interests.

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  • Mitchell, Ronald B. “International Environment.” In Handbook of International Relations. Edited by Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse-Kappen, and Beth A. Simmons, 500–516. London: SAGE, 2002.

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    Reviews the evolution of global environmental politics as a subfield with an emphasis on the study of international regimes and institutions; presents a brief but strong historical review.

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  • Stevis, Dimitris. “International Relations and the Study of Global Environmental Politics: Past and Present.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a detailed review of the emergence and evolution of the field of global environmental politics and maps the contours of the existing scholarship; presents a comprehensive bibliography of important works in the development of the field. Available online for subscribers.

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  • Zürn, M. “Rise of International Environmental Politics: A Review of Current Research.” World Politics 50.4 (1998): 617–649.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0043887100007383Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an overview of the history and contemporary state of global environmental politics literature at the end of the 1990s; reflects the dominant focus on international institutions and international regimes from this period of the study of global environmental politics.

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Textbooks

Global environmental politics textbooks have increased in number and in the diversity of approaches to the subject since they were first published in the early 1990s. The classic structure of global environmental policy textbooks provides a combination of an overview of the history and unique attributes of global environmental politics as well as a discussion of approaches to studying these issues. These books will then offer coverage of specific case studies of international environmental problems and political responses. Chasek, et al. 2013 (first published in 1991) and Brenton 1994 are consistent in this model. Several newer textbooks, including Lipschutz 2004, Nicholson and Wapner 2014, O’Neill 2009, and Mitchell 2010, have approached the subject from a more theoretical perspective that reflects the growing diversity of scholarship on global environmental politics. Along with the more general textbooks, Conca and Dabelko 2014 (first published in 1995) and Axelrod and Van Deveer 2014 (first published in 1999) are the two most utilized edited volumes. They bring together scholarship from a range of academics and practitioners.

  • Axelrod, Regina, and Stacy Van Deveer, eds. The Global Environment: Institutions, Law, and Policy. 4th ed. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2014.

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    Presents commissioned chapters from a range of top scholars in global environmental politics; offers a general introduction to international environmental governance and then divides the chapters into three sections focused on international environmental actors and institutions, the role of major states in global environmental policymaking, and case studies of and controversies surrounding global environmental politics.

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  • Brenton, Tony, and Energy and Environmental Programme (Royal Institute of International Affairs). The Greening of Machiavelli: The Evolution of International Environmental Politics. London: Earthscan, 1994.

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    Provides a very strong and detailed overview of the history of global environmental politics from the 1960s through the early 1990s; focuses case studies on climate change and biodiversity in preparation for the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED); offers perspectives on the future evolution of global environmental politics in light of the UNCED.

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  • Chasek, Pamela, David Downie, and Janet Welsh Brown. Global Environmental Politics. 6th ed. Dilemmas in World Politics. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2013.

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    Presents a comprehensive introduction to global environmental politics with an emphasis on critical actors, sustainable development strategies and implementation of international environmental regimes; provides updated case studies of efforts to address global environmental problems; one of the most frequently used global environmental politics textbooks.

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  • Conca, Ken, and Geoffrey Dabelko, eds. Green Planet Blues: Four Decades of Global Environmental Politics. 5th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2014.

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    Collects an impressive range of excerpts from both historical and contemporary materials on global environmental politics; provides an introduction to the origins of global environmental politics; offers an overview of the sustainability debate; addresses issues of global environmental governance with an emphasis on environmental justice.

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  • Lipschutz, Ronnie. Global Environmental Politics: Power, Perspectives, and Practice. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2004.

    DOI: 10.4135/9781483330099Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers a unique critique of globalization and the relationship to environmental degradation; begins with a philosophical dissection of global environmental politics and then moves to a discussion of the nature of civic politics and social power and the relationships among local and global politics; concludes with a call to alter the status quo by asserting greater control over global markets and capitalism to protect nature.

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  • Mitchell, Ronald. International Politics and the Environment. SAGE Series on the Foundations of International Relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2010.

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    Provides a highly theoretical treatment of efforts to address global environmental problems; begins with a discussion of the nature of theory and the development of knowledge; explores the aspects of global environmental politics that make it a unique field of inquiry; traces the rise of environmental problems from their identification to negotiation of international agreements; and finally evaluates the effectiveness of international environmental institutions in addressing the problems.

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  • Nicholson, Simon, and Paul Wapner, eds. Global Environmental Politics: From Person to Planet. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2014.

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    Begins by presenting debates related to the forces shaping environmental degradation on a global scale, analyzes a range of factors leading to “unsustainability,” and presents a variety of approaches to achieving a sustainable future.

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  • O’Neill, Kate. The Environment and International Relations. Themes in International Relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511805974Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the relationship between international relations theory and the specific field of global environmental politics; emphasizes the forces shaping global economic and environmental governance structures with a focus on improving these structures; provides helpful lists of additional readings for each of the chapters.

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Reference Resources

There are now a vast number of reference sources for global environmental politics as well as more specialized sources organized by issue area that are maintained by the relevant international organizations, interested think tanks/advocacy groups, and academic institutions. Many international organizations provide data and reports on global environmental issues including the European Environment Agency, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Environment Directorate, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Bank Environment Links. The Fridtjof Nansen Institute and CIESIN are representative of some of the think tanks and research centers producing policy-relevant scholarship. Ronald Mitchell maintains the International Environmental Agreements Database Project, which provides a comprehensive database with information about some 1,190 multilateral environmental agreements. Climate Ark is an Internet search engine devoted to climate-related information and offers a useful starting point for climate and other environmental research. International Institute for Sustainable Development Reporting Services provides excellent coverage of almost all international environmental negotiations.

Journals

There were no journals dedicated solely to the publication of global environmental politics research prior to the 1990s, although many international relations journals published occasional articles related to international environmental issues, and journals in other disciplines occasionally published such articles as well. The primary global environmental politics journals of today have their origins in the early 1990s. Global Environmental Change (first published in 1990), the Journal of Environment and Development (first published in 1992), and Environmental Politics (first published in 1992) represent the leading edge of journals dedicated to global environmental issues. Global Environmental Politics was established in 2001 and has emerged as the preeminent publication for environmental research within the field of international relations, and International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (first published in 2001) has established itself as an outlet for a range of research related to global environmental politics, international environmental law and policy, and comparative responses to international environmental problems. There are other, more specialized journals, such as Environmental Values (first published in 1992), RECIEL: Review of European Community & International Environmental Law (first published in 1992), and Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy (first published in 1998).

International Relations Theory and Environmental Politics

As global environmental politics emerged as a distinct field within international relations, scholars began to apply the full range of international relations theories to study the field. Paterson 1996 represents one of the earliest efforts to apply traditional international relations paradigms (neoliberalism, neorealism, constructivism, and historical materialism) to the study of global environmental politics. Mitchell 2010 systematically reviews the application of international relations theory to the study of global environmental politics. Seaver 1997 and Rowlands 2001 also reviewed the potential for the full range of classical theories of international relations to explain the politics of ozone depletion and climate change respectively. Dyer 2010 provides the most thorough review of the evolution of international relations theory as it has been applied to global environmental politics and the impact that global environmental politics has had on international relations theory.

  • Dyer, Hugh. “International Relations Theory and the Environment.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

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    Evaluates the evolution of international relations theory as it has been applied to global environmental politics with an emphasis on critical theories; offers a very thorough bibliography. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Mitchell, Ronald. International Politics and the Environment. SAGE Series on the Foundations of International Relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2010.

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    Provides a highly theoretical treatment of efforts to address global environmental problems; begins with a discussion of the nature of theory and the development of knowledge; explores the aspects of global environmental politics that make it a unique field of inquiry; traces the rise of environmental problems from their identification to negotiation of international agreements, and finally evaluates the effectiveness of international environmental institutions in addressing the problems.

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  • Paterson, Matthew. Global Warming and Global Politics. Environmental Politics. New York: Routledge, 1996.

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    Examines the ability of the major international relations paradigms to explain the emergence and evolution of climate change as an issue of international relations; offers an excellent application of theory that can be used to explore other environmental issues; concludes that neorealism is not particularly useful in explaining climate politics; asserts that neoliberalism, constructivism, and historical materialism offer more insight into the origins and evolution of the problem.

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  • Rowlands, Ian. “Classical Theories of International Relations.” In International Relations and Global Climate Change. Edited by Urs Luterbacher and Detlef Sprinz, 43–66. Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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    Provides an overview of the application of the primary international relations theories to the case of climate change; argues that all major approaches are able to explain aspects of climate politics and by extension global environmental politics; asserts that there continue to be lively debates among supporters of the various theoretical positions.

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  • Seaver, Brenda. “Stratospheric Ozone Protection: IR Theory and the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.” Environmental Politics 6.3 (1997):31–67.

    DOI: 10.1080/09644019708414341Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluates the extent to which international relations theories can explain why all of the major countries producing ozone depleting substances decided to sign the treaty after many had opposed a regulatory ozone treaty for more than a decade; assesses the ability of five major approaches to international relations to explain the emergence of the international ozone regime (neorealist, neoliberal institutionalist, knowledge-based, domestic politics, and two-level games).

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Realism and Neorealism

The Realist paradigm of international relations focuses on the inevitable conflict that occurs among self-interested actors in a system where there is no effective enforcement authority above that of the states themselves. Realist approaches to studying global environmental politics have been much less common than the more widely applied Neoliberal and Constructivist approaches. Scholars working within the Realist tradition have tended to gravitate toward issues of environment and security and have not typically addressed environmental problems as affecting the core interests of the state with the exceptions of issues related to water and control of natural resources. However, there has been a growing interest in the security implications of global environmental politics; thus, there is likely to be an expansion of literature in this area. The best application of an interest-based approach to global environmental politics is Sprinz and Vaahtoranta 1994. Oye and Maxwell 1995 also provides a useful discussion of interest formation in environmental negotiations. Rowlands 1995 critiques this approach and disputes its findings. Grundig 2006 builds on the links between Neorealist emphasis on relative gains and the likelihood of environmental cooperation. Victor 2006 is illustrative of scholars/practitioners applying a national–interest-based approach to understanding international negotiations. Others within the Realist tradition have emphasized the links to security, which are highlighted in Security and the Environment.

  • Grundig, Frank. “Patterns of International Cooperation and the Explanatory Power of Relative Gains: An Analysis of Cooperation on Global Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, and International Trade.” International Studies Quarterly 50.4 (2006): 781–801.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2006.00425.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a quantitative analysis of international environmental cooperation; finds a much lower level of cooperation on climate issues than on ozone depletion or international trade; concludes that the case of global warming falls within the empirical domain of neorealism and that power-based explanations cannot be ignored.

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  • Oye, Kenneth A., and James H. Maxwell. “Self-Interest and Environmental Management.” In Local Commons and Global Interdependence: Heterogeneity and Cooperation in Two Domains. Edited by Robert O. Keohane and Elinor Ostrom, 191–221. London: SAGE, 1995.

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    Argues that the relative convergence of self-interest and the public’s desire to improve the environment will determine when agreements will be most effective in addressing environmental problems; convergence of self-interest and the public’s desire to improve the environment produce greater potential for cooperation and effective agreements; diffusion of regulatory benefits while regulatory costs are concentrated on the few produce a high degree of regulatory instability and less potential for successful policy.

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  • Rowlands, Ian. “Explaining National Climate Change Policies.” Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 5.3 (1995): 235–249.

    DOI: 10.1016/0959-3780(95)00047-RSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Tests the “interest-based explanation” for international environmental policy in the case of climate change; determines the vulnerability and abatement costs for twenty-four OECD countries and predicts their policy positions and then compares the predictions with actual policy positions; concludes that the majority of cases are not consistent with the interest-based explanations and suggests that the interest-based approach has significant limitations.

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  • Sprinz, Detlef, and Tapani Vaahtoranta. “The Interest-Based Explanation of International Environmental Policy.” International Organization 48.1 (1994): 77–105.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020818300000825Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a model for determining national positions in global environmental negotiations based upon the combination of the abatement costs of addressing the problem and the ecological vulnerability to the environmental threat; the most frequently cited interest-based model of global environmental politics.

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  • Victor, David. “Toward Effective International Cooperation on Climate Change: Numbers, Interests, and Institutions.” Global Environmental Politics 6.3 (2006): 90–103.

    DOI: 10.1162/glep.2006.6.3.90Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a critique of Kyoto and similar large-scale negotiation of environmental problems; argues that negotiations must take into account the core interests of the primary states for negotiations to succeed; rejects alternative explanations of state behavior.

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Neoliberalism

Neoliberal Institutionalist or Neoliberal theories have been most influential in shaping research agendas in global environmental politics. The “international regimes” literature emerged almost simultaneously with the widening focus on global environmental problems in the 1980s. Global environmental politics offered case studies to test hypotheses flowing out of the work on international regimes. Oran Young began pursuing research on environmental regimes in the early 1980s. This early research evolved into a broader focus on environmental governance in works such as Young 1994. One of the most influential works of this period was Haas, et al. 1993. Global environmental politics continues to be heavily influenced by research on governance and regime effectiveness. There have been several large-scale research projects that have significantly influenced work in this area. Breitmeier, et al. 2006 presents findings related to regime effectiveness that emerged from the International Regimes Database project. Young, et al. 2008 presents the findings from the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC) project that studied relationships among and the effectiveness of global environmental institutions. The Global Governance Project under the direction of Frank Biermann has also produced a range of books and articles related to environmental governance and effectiveness (Biermann and Siebenhüner 2009, Biermann 2014). Jinnah 2014 provides a theoretical analysis of the role of the influence of international organization secretariats on global environmental politics. Park, et al. 2008 offers a critique of existing environmental governance structures and argues for alternative strategies based on the principle of sustainability. Busby 2010 provides an overview of the development and current debates in the literature on environmental governance.

  • Biermann, Frank. Earth Systems Governance: World Politics in the Anthropocene. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.

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    Argues that the earth has moved into a new epoch in planetary history called the “Anthropocene,” and thus the international system needs a new “earth system governance” structure. Provides an analysis of global environmental politics based on five dimensions of effective governance: agency, architecture of governance, accountability and legitimacy, equity, and adaptiveness of governance systems; offers proposals for improving global environmental governance.

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  • Biermann, Frank, and Bernd Siebenhüner, eds. Managers of Global Change: The Influence of International Environmental Bureaucracies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012744.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the role and relevance of nine international environmental bureaucracies; presents a conceptual framework for studying the influence of international bureaucracies and applies it to each case study; concludes that the bureaucracies have a significant autonomous influence in shaping global environmental outcomes but the level of influence varies on the basis of organizational structure as well as the quality of bureaucrats.

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  • Breitmeier, Helmut, Oran Young, and Michael Zürn. Analyzing International Environmental Regimes: From Case Study to Database. Global Environmental Accords. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.

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    Presents findings from a review of international environmental regimes developed through the International Regimes Database (IRD), a relational database that makes it possible to compare environmental regimes; draws on the database for descriptive statistics to evaluate theoretical ideas about compliance, decision rules, and the role of knowledge; a CD containing the full IRD data protocol and all the data currently in the database accompanies the book.

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  • Busby, Joshua. “International Organization and Environmental Governance.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Blackwell-Wiley, 2010.

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    Reviews the emergence and evolution of scholarship on international organizations and environmental governance; offers a comprehensive review of the literature and presents an impressive bibliography of major works in the area as well as online resources.

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  • Haas, Peter M., Robert O. Keohane, and Marc A. Levy, eds. Institutions for the Earth: Sources of Effective International Environmental Protection. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993.

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    Classic volume focused on the role of international institutions in addressing global environmental problems; presents seven case studies of international institutional responses to oil pollution from tankers, acid rain in Europe, stratospheric ozone depletion, pollution of the North Sea and Baltic, mismanagement of fisheries, overpopulation, and misuses of farm chemicals; identifies three major functions performed by effective international environmental institutions: building national capacity, improving the contractual environment, and elevating governmental concern.

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  • Jinnah, Sikina. Post-Treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.

    DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028042.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a theory and analytical framework for analyzing secretariat influence in global environmental politics. Argues that secretariats as the administrative bodies of international treaties do much more than merely collect information, communicate with state actors, and coordinate international meetings. Demonstrates that secretariats influence the allocation of resources, the structures of interstate cooperation, and the power relationships among states.

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  • Park, Jacob, Ken Conca, and Matthais Finger, eds. The Crisis of Global Environmental Governance: Towards a New Political Economy of Sustainability. Environmental Politics. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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    Critiques global environmental governance; explores questions related to environmental governance in a globalizing economy; examines institutional mechanisms and arrangements to achieve sustainable environmental governance.

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  • Young, Oran. International Governance: Protecting the Environment in a Stateless Society. Cornell Studies in Political Economy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994.

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    One of Young’s numerous works on international environmental governance; explores the question of how the global environment can be safeguarded in the absence of a world government; argues that the concepts of governance and government can be separated; asserts that environmental governance can exist in the absence of global government.

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  • Young, Oran, Leslie King, and Heike Schroeder, eds. Institutions and Environmental Change: Principal Findings, Applications, and Research Frontiers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262240574.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents an overview of research on ways in which institutions affect efforts to address global environmental problems; examines policy implications related to the effects of international institutions; the product of a decade-long international research project on the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC) carried out under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme; argues that research on institutions provides the basis for practical advice on dealing with pressing environmental problems.

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Constructivism

Constructivism focuses on the role of ideas in structuring international relations with emphases on discourse as well as identities of actors and relationships among them. Within these parameters, the focus narrows to the social construction of reality. Constructivists have emerged as critics of the dominant theoretical paradigms that emphasize power as the primary variable shaping international relations. Constructivist approaches have been frequently applied to global environmental politics in an effort to analyze the roles of science and values in the social construction of knowledge and the use of knowledge in making policy. Haas 2004 and Jasonoff and Martello 2004 focus specifically on how knowledge is constructed and used in the policy process. Scholars working within the constructivist perspective frequently split between more norm-based approaches and discursive approaches. Hajer 1995 represents an early attempt to emphasize the importance of discourse in the definition of environmental problems and solutions. Dryzek 2005 offers a more recent introduction to discourse analysis. Epstein 2008 applies discourse analysis to explore the shaping of power and interests in the case of whaling. Litfin 1998 presents a variety of scholars with ties to the Constructivist tradition who focus on the evolution of sovereignty and changing norms and discourses regarding ways in which sovereignty relates to global environmental politics. Bernstein 2001 analyzes the evolution of international norms and the confluence of environmental and liberal economic norms and their effects on international policy. Pettenger 2007 presents the perspectives of a range of constructivist scholars from more functionalist international–norm-focused scholars to chapters presenting a more discursive approach to understanding the social construction of climate change.

  • Bernstein, Steven. The Compromise of Liberal Environmentalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

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    Analyzes the convergence of environmental and liberal economic norms toward “liberal environmentalism”; argues for a socio-evolutionary explanation for the selection of international norms; maintains that the institutionalization of “sustainable development” at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) legitimized the evolution toward liberal environmentalism; concludes that a rationalist approach is insufficient to explain international outcomes.

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  • Dryzek, John. The Politics of the Earth: Environmental Discourses. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    Presents an introductory-level application of discourse analysis to the evolution of global environmental politics; evaluates the dominant discourses that have shaped global environmental politics; offers an accessible introduction to discourse analysis in global environmental politics.

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  • Epstein, Charlotte. The Power of Words in International Relations: Birth of an Anti-Whaling Discourse. Politics, Science, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262050920.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluates the shift from widespread acceptance of whaling to moral censure; argues that the change was brought about not by changing material interests but by a powerful anti-whaling discourse that successfully recast whales as extraordinary and intelligent endangered mammals that needed to be saved; develops an approach to the study of agency and the construction of interests that brings nonstate actors and individuals into the analysis of international politics.

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  • Haas, Peter M. “When Does Power Listen to Truth? A Constructivist Approach to the Policy Process.” Journal of European Policy 11.4 (2004): 569–592.

    DOI: 10.1080/1350176042000248034Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the question “when does power listen to truth?”; evaluates the lessons derived from thirty years of studying how scientific advice has been used or not used to support sustainable development; focuses on the role of “usable knowledge” with an emphasis on the political and institutional channels through which such knowledge comes to be applied by policy makers.

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  • Hajer, Maarten A. The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995.

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    Explains “discourse analysis” and applies the approach to environmental problems and policymaking; argues that the past discourse emphasizing conflict between environmental and economic concerns is being replaced by an “ecological modernization” discourse that suggests that the two are compatible; offers case studies of acid rain policies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

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  • Jasonoff, Sheila, and Marybeth Long Martello, eds. Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance. Politics, Science, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.

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    Edited volume that focuses on the effects of globalization and the relationship between the “global” and the “local” in environmental issues; focuses on governance issues broadly conceived with an emphasis on the construction and use of environmental knowledge across levels of governance.

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  • Litfin, Karen T., ed. The Greening of Sovereignty in World Politics. Global Environmental Accords. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998.

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    Edited volume; focuses on the evolving norms of sovereignty in the face of growing global environmental problems; presents a range of scholars, with several having ties to normative and discursive approaches within constructivism.

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  • Pettenger, Mary E., ed. The Social Construction of Climate Change: Power, Knowledge, Norms, Discourses. Global Environmental Governance series. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007.

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    Edited volume; addresses various approaches to understanding the social construction of climate change from a Constructivist perspective; divided into two parts, with the first part focused on norm-centered analyses of climate change and the second utilizing a discourse-analysis approach.

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International Environmental Negotiation

As global environmental negotiations increased in their frequency and in the range of issues being addressed, scholars turned their attention to unique attributes of global environmental problems and the difficulties that they posed for achieving effective cooperative solutions. Susskind 1994 was an early attempt to explore the nature of international environmental negotiations. Chasek 2001 and Chasek and Wagner 2012 analyze decades of international environmental negotiations to discern patterns in the negotiations. Kütting 2000, Susskind, et al. 2002, Barrett 2006, and Bodansky 2010 analyze the relative effectiveness of international environmental negotiations and offer suggestions for improving them. Betsill and Corell 2007 analyzes the role of nongovernmental organizations in environmental negotiations.

  • Barrett, Scott. Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    Offers an interest-based argument for success and failure of environmental negotiations; develops a theory that explains both the successes and the failures of treaties; argues that the best treaties strategically manipulate the incentives of states to exploit the environment; offers case studies of depletion of the ozone layer, whaling, pollution of the Rhine, acid rain, overfishing, pollution of the oceans, and global climate change.

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  • Betsill, Michele M., and Elisabeth Corell, eds. NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007.

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    Attempts to determine the conditions under which NGOs affect either the process or the outcome of international negotiations; presents an analytic framework for the systematic and comparative study of NGO diplomacy; evaluates the degree of NGO influence in the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the International Whaling Commission, and Forest Conservation and Trade in Forest Products.

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  • Bodansky, Daniel. The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.

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    Offers a practitioner’s perspective on the creation of international environmental law; provides a history of the evolution of international environmental law; discusses the processes by which international environmental law develops and influences the behavior of state and nonstate actors.

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  • Chasek, Pamela S. Earth Negotiations: Analyzing Thirty Years of Environmental Diplomacy. New York: United Nations University Press, 2001.

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    Argues that there are six discernible phases and five associated turning points within the process of multilateral environmental negotiation; examines relationships among the phases, turning points, processes, and outcomes to evaluate the relationships between phases of negotiation and to determine if there is anything in the process that may affect the outcome; applies this framework to thirty years of environmental negotiations.

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  • Chasek, Pamela S., and Lynn M. Wagner, eds. The Roads from Rio: Lessons Learned from Twenty Years of Multilateral Environmental Negotiations. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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    Traces the evolution of global environmental negotiations from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Analyzes the changes that have taken place in international environmental negotiations. Also explores the processes of international environmental negotiations including the proliferation of meetings, changes in the role of science, and shifting roles of state and nonstate actors. Covers a wide range of environmental issues and agreements.

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  • Kütting, Gabriela. Environment, Society, and International Relations: Towards More Effective International Environmental Agreements. London: Routledge, 2000.

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    Offers a definition of environmental effectiveness of international environmental agreements and assesses past agreements in light of this definition; analyzes the effectiveness of the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution and the Mediterranean Action Plan and offers an explanation for the relative success of the former and relative failure of the latter.

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  • Susskind, Lawrence E. Environmental Diplomacy: Negotiating More Effective Global Agreements. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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    Analyzes the obstacles to achieving meaningful international environmental agreements in the early 1990s; argues that North/South conflicts, uncertainties of environmental science, and the poor structure of the United Nations treaty-making system for addressing environmental issues have hampered international negotiations; posits that new institutional arrangements are necessary and achievable to facilitate international agreement.

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  • Susskind, Lawrence, William Moomaw, and Kevin Gallagher, eds. Transboundary Environmental Negotiation: New Approaches to Global Cooperation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

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    Offers a critique of the global treaty-making system and the difficulties of achieving meaningful international environmental agreements; contributors address a broad range of issues related to international negotiation including the potential for voluntary codes of management, the possibility of linking global enforcement with domestic legal systems, the status of North/South issues in environmental negotiations, as well as reviewing a series of case studies.

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Political Economy of the Global Environment

Globalization and the growing levels of international trade, travel, and migration have profound environmental implications. Debates surrounding the relationship between global economic growth, consumption patterns, and the environment emerged as major issues in the 1990s and have continued to resonate ever since. Finger and Svarin 2010, Haas 2010, and Lipschutz and Peck 2010 offer very good reviews of the evolution of scholarship dealing, respectively, with transnational corporations and the environment, the environment in global political economy, and the effects of globalization on environmental politics. All three provide extensive bibliographies. Clapp and Dauvergne 2011 divides international perspectives on political economy and the environment into four “worldviews” and explore the implications of each worldview for transitioning to a future green world. Newell 2012 explores the forces shaping the relationship between globalization and the environment. Stevis and Assetto 2001 presents a critical analysis of the relationships between political economy and the environment and present the works of range of scholars from both applied and theoretical perspectives. Kütting 2004 and Paterson 2007 utilize cotton garment trade and the automobile industry, respectively, to critique the environmental unsustainability of the existing global political economic system. Nixon 2013 applies the concept of “slow violence” to critique the slow-moving but devastating effects of globalization on the poor and marginalized.

  • Clapp, Jennifer, and Peter Dauvergne. Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment. 2d ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.

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    Present four environmental “worldviews” (market liberals, institutionalists, bioenvironmentalists, and social greens) and their perspectives on the relationship between globalization and the environment; explores the relationships between political economy and the environment across issues of trade, investment, finance, and development; offers visions of a future green world.

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  • Finger, Matthias, and David Svarin. “Transnational Corporations and the Global Environment.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a history of the rise of transnational corporations and explores their relationship to the global environment; reviews the literature in light of a series of hypotheses related to the relationship between such corporations and the environment; presents a balanced review of the literature with an extensive bibliography. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Haas, Peter M. “Environment in the Global Political Economy.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a detailed discussion of the evolution of scholarship on the environment and global political economy from the 19th century to 2010; provides a map of ongoing research related to the study of the environment in relation to global political economy; offers an extensive bibliography of major works. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Kütting, Gabriela. Globalization and the Environment: Greening Global Political Economy. SUNY Series in Global Politics. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004.

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    Argues for an “eco-holistic” approach to studying globalization and the environment that merges social, political, economic, and environmental analysis; emphasizes the relationship between consumption and equity; discusses the linkages between social and environmental degradation in West Africa and consumption patterns in the North, using cotton garment trade as a case study.

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  • Lipschutz, Ronnie D., and Felicia A. Peck. “Globalization and the Environment: There Must Be Some Way Out of Here.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the specific challenges created by globalization for environmental sustainability (population growth, resource scarcities, poverty and wealth, consumption); offers detailed reviews of global environmental politics literatures in these areas; presents an extensive bibliography of major works. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Newell, Peter. Globalization and the Environment: Capitalism, Ecology and Power. London: Polity, 2012.

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    Explores the question of whether capitalism can be sustainable and analyzes globalization through a focus on global production, trade, and finance and the relationship to environmental sustainability.

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  • Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.

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    Uses the concept of “slow violence,” the environmental calamities that do not receive dramatic international attention but that slowly displace, impoverish, and disempower the poor of the world. Presents a dramatic critique of the global capitalist system and its effects through oil spills, climate change, toxic chemicals, and other environmental effects. Represents an important work in the field of eco-criticism.

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  • Paterson, Matthew. Automobile Politics: Ecology and Cultural Political Economy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    Utilizes the automobile and its manufacture, sale, and use to critically evaluate the environmental sustainability of the existing global economy; offers a political, cultural, and economic critique of the rise of the modern car culture and explores its implications for environmental sustainability.

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  • Stevis, Dimitris, and Valerie J. Assetto, eds. The International Political Economy of the Environment: Critical Perspectives. International Political Economy Yearbook 12. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2001.

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    Brings together a range of scholars to analyze the connections between the environment and global political economy; presents research related to the politics of global policymaking, policy and politics in the South, and theoretical challenges to studying global environmental political economy.

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Security and the Environment

Access to natural resources and global conflict has long been a topic of research within the field of security studies. Westing 1986 provides an example of early arguments linking resource scarcity to international conflict. Deudney 1990 offers a critique of the linking of security and the environment. Levy 1995 and Peluso and Watts 2001 present sympathetic analyses of the likely effects of environmental degradation on security but suggest that the links are more indirect. Homer-Dixon’s Project on Environmental Change and Acute Conflict was particularly influential in shaping the debate on security and environment. Homer-Dixon 1994 presents the findings of the project. Increasingly, however, the security implications of global environmental problems have become a broader focus of research within global environmental politics. Levy 1995 and Rønnfeldt 1997 provide reviews of the growing literature that emerged in the 1980s to the mid-1990s exploring the broader relationship between the environment and security. Dalby 2002 offers a constructivist critique of existing literature on environment and security. Dinar 2011 argues that increasing scarcity and degradation frequently can produce cooperation rather than only conflict. Chalecki 2010 presents a thorough mapping of the current state of literature on environment and security along with an extensive bibliography.

  • Chalecki, Elizabeth L. “Environment and Security.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers a review of the evolution of the literature on environment and security; emphasizes works since 1970; provides a very thorough review of issue areas where environment and security intersect; includes an extensive bibliography. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Dalby, Simon. Environmental Security. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

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    Critically reviews the literature on environment and security from a “discourse analysis” perspective; discusses environmental history, aboriginal perspectives, and geopolitics to argue that growing disruptions caused by modernity are at the root of contemporary conflicts; suggests that the environmental security discourse raises profoundly troubling political questions as to the kind of world resulting from efforts to be secure.

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  • Deudney, D. The Case Against Linking Environmental Degradation and National Security. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 19.3 (1990): 461–476.

    DOI: 10.1177/03058298900190031001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers the most frequently cited critique of the linking of environment and security.

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  • Dinar, Shlomi, ed. Beyond Resource Wars: Scarcity, Environmental Degradation, and International Cooperation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014977.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Asserts that the focus on dwindling natural resources and environmental degradation as an inevitable source of conflict misrepresents the actual experience of states; argues that resource depletion and degradation actually frequently serve as a catalyst for cooperation and negotiation among states. Also analyzes the conditions under which cooperation (as opposed to conflict) in managing resources is likely to occur.

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  • Homer-Dixon, Thomas. “Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases, Part 1.” International Security 19.1 (1994): 5–40.

    DOI: 10.2307/2539147Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents the findings of the Project on Environmental Change and Acute Conflict; concludes that there are multiple pathways through which environmental scarcities, broadly defined, can produce conflict; predicts that environmental conflict will increase in the future, particularly in response to the effects of climate change.

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  • Levy, Marc. “Is the Environment a National Security Issue?” International Security 20.2 (1995): 35–62.

    DOI: 10.2307/2539228Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critically evaluates arguments for existential, physical, and political threats to the United States posed by international environmental degradation; concludes that most international environmental threats have an indirect effect on security; suggests that research on the relationship between the environment and security needs to be further refined.

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  • Peluso, Nancy, and Michael Watts, eds. Violent Environments. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.

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    Challenges the conventional argument that there are direct causal links between population growth, resource scarcity, and violence; includes chapters by geographers, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists with accounts of ethnic war in Indonesia, petro-violence in Nigeria and Ecuador, wildlife conservation in Tanzania, and “friendly fire” at Russia’s nuclear weapons sites; portrays violence as a site-specific phenomenon rooted in local histories and societies.

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  • Rønnfeldt, Carston. “Three Generations of Environment and Security Research.” Journal of Peace Research 34.4 (1997): 473–482.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022343397034004009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Divides the literature on environment and security into three periods: the 1980s, when the analytical links were being described; the early 1990s, which focused on empirical case studies to define causal pathways between environmental degradation and conflict; and the late 1990s, which saw the incorporation of the study of cooperation alongside conflict in addressing resource scarcities.

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  • Westing, Arthur. Global Resources and International Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.

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    Examines the extent to which global degradation of natural resources, which results in declining supplies coupled with their uneven distribution, can lead to unlikely alliances, national rivalries, and even war; evaluates the influence of such factors as geographical distribution, availability, scarcity, and depletion of the world’s natural resources—including oil, natural gas, minerals, fresh water, ocean fisheries, and food crops—on strategic and military policy making.

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Science and Politics/Policy

Environmental problems are frequently characterized by scientific complexity and extensive uncertainty regarding causes and/or solutions. The integration of science into the policy process is thus a critical aspect of efforts to address global environmental politics. Unsurprisingly, scholars have produced an extensive literature to address these issues. Analysis of science and policy has a relatively long history. Haas, et al. 1977 is just one example of this literature from the 1970s. One of the earliest contributors within the emergent field of global environmental politics was Peter Haas, who introduced the concept of epistemic communities as actors in the process of interpreting science for policymakers (Haas 1990). Boehmer-Christiansen 1995 offers one of the most significant critiques of the epistemic community literature and focuses on the interests of scientists. The literature on science and environmental policy has branched out in a number of directions. Harrison and Bryner 2004 and Bocking 2004 present the perspectives of a broad array of scholars and practitioners related to the integration of science in policy across a wide range of international issues. Miller and Edwards 2001 also addresses a range of issues related to science and policy with a focus on climate science. Dimitrov 2006 and Mitchell, et al. 2006 address the question of when science influences international negotiations and regime formation and when it does not through a series of case studies.

  • Bocking, Stephen. Nature’s Experts: Science, Politics, and the Environment. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004.

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    Explores the relationship between science and policy with a particular focus on the importance of environmental values; argues that science must be “democratized” to successfully influence policy making.

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  • Boehmer-Christiansen, S. A. “Britain and the International Panel on Climate Change: The Impacts of Scientific Advice on Global Warming; Part 1: Integrated Policy Analysis and the Global Dimension.” Environmental Politics 4.1 (1995): 1–18.

    DOI: 10.1080/09644019508414180Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critique of the epistemic communities literature; argues that scientists must be viewed not as neutral conveyors of policy-relevant information but rather as political actors themselves who seek to shape the availability and interpretation of scientific evidence to further their interests.

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  • Dimitrov, Radoslav S. Science and International Environmental Policy: Regimes and Nonregimes in Global Governance. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006.

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    Evaluates cases of both successful and unsuccessful regime formation to determine the role of science in these outcomes; emphasizes the importance of shared knowledge in creating successful regimes; offers case studies of ozone depletion, transboundary air pollution, forestry, and coral protection.

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  • Haas, Peter M. Saving the Mediterranean: The Politics of International Environmental Cooperation. Political Economy of International Change. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

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    Analyzes the integration of science into policy in complex environmental problems involving extensive uncertainty; analyzes the role of scientific advice through a focus on “epistemic communities”; offers a case study of the influence of an epistemic community on the creation of the Mediterranean Action Plan.

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  • Haas, Ernst B., Susan B. Crawfort, Mary Pat Williams, and Don Babai. Scientists and World Order: The Use of Technical Knowledge in International Organizations. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.

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    Questions whether the increasing introduction of science into world affairs leads to better international governance; emphasis on rationalism in integrating science into policy; offers a skeptical view of the effective incorporation of scientific advice in decision making.

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  • Harrison, Neil E., and Gary C. Bryner, eds. Science and Politics in the International Environment. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004.

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    Explores the interplay between science and politics and the effects on international environmental policy; analyzes a series of case studies to explore the interaction of science and politics across a wide range of regional and global environmental issues, including climate change, trade in beef treated with growth hormones, transboundary conflicts over pollution, and international forest management; presents collaborations between scholars from the natural and social sciences.

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  • Miller, Clark A., and Paul N. Edwards, eds. Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance. Politics, Science, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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    Illustrates how the emerging field of science and technology studies can inform the understanding of the human dimensions of global environmental change; presents empirical studies of climate science and its integration into public policy with an emphasis on climate modeling; evaluates the integration of scientific knowledge in institutions of global environmental governance such as the World Meteorological Organization, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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  • Mitchell, Ronald B., William C. Clark, David W. Cash, and Nancy M. Dickson, eds. Global Environmental Assessments: Information and Influence. Global Environmental Accords. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.

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    Offers a critique of the frequent failure to transform scientific information into appropriate policies to protect the global environment; argues that global environmental assessments are more likely to be influential if the process is perceived not only as scientifically credible but also as generated through legitimate means; concludes that assessments involving ongoing interactions among scientists, stakeholders, and policymakers are most likely to influence policy; offers a wide range of case studies.

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Domestic and International Interactions

Scholars of global environmental politics have frequently sought to bridge the divide between comparative politics and international relations and analyze the forces shaping national positions in international environmental negotiations. There is significant overlap between this scholarship and the international negotiation literature discussed above as well as the nonstate actor scholarship discussed below. This section highlights scholarship at the cusp of international relations and comparative politics. Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012 provides a theoretical foundation for comparing national approaches to environmental policy and analyzing the relationship between domestic environmental policy and international environmental politics. Schreurs and Economy 1997 presents a series of case studies evaluating domestic forces shaping national positions across a range of countries on climate change, ozone depletion, and biodiversity loss. DeSombre 2000 argues that national positions in international negotiations are significantly shaped by attempts to internationalize domestic regulations to minimize adjustment costs and improve competitiveness of domestic industry. Harris’s Project on Environmental Change and Foreign Policy has produced a series of edited volumes (Harris 2007, Harris 2009, among others) that address domestic forces shaping environmental foreign policy positions. Social Learning Group 2001 offers a series of case studies of national responses to acid rain, ozone depletion, and climate change. Harrison and Sundstrom 2007 provides a series of articles addressing the comparative politics of climate policy.

  • DeSombre, Elizabeth R. Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy: Industry, Environmentalists, and U.S. Power. American and Comparative Environmental Policy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.

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    Argues that environmentalists and industrial interests frequently cooperate to extend domestic regulations internationally to minimize adjustment costs and to improve competitiveness; primarily focused on US domestic and foreign policy.

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  • Harris, Paul G., ed. Europe and Global Climate Change: Politics, Foreign Policy, and Regional Cooperation. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2007.

    DOI: 10.4337/9781847204264Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a series of case studies drawn from across Europe that explore the relationship between domestic politics and foreign policy positions; chapters draw from a range of theoretical perspectives and also evaluate the role of the European Union as an intergovernmental organization shaping national policy positions.

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  • Harris, Paul G., ed. Environmental Change and Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice. Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics 70. New York: Routledge, 2009.

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    Presents a typology of theories that can explain national positions in global environmental negotiations; offers a series of case studies that illustrate the ability of different theories operating at different levels of analysis to explain national behavior in negotiations; divided into chapters addressing theoretical issues and more country-specific studies of practices.

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  • Harrison, Kathryn, and Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, eds. Special Issue: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change. Global Environmental Politics 7.4 (2007): 1–139.

    DOI: 10.1162/glep.2007.7.4.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Utilizes a comparative politics framework to examine electoral interests, policymakers’ normative commitments, and domestic political institutions as variables influencing developed countries’ decisions to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and adopt policies to mitigate climate change; argues that economic costs and electoral interests matter a great deal while normative commitments may have significant influence; argues further that electoral systems, federalism, and executive-legislative configurations as well as public opinion influence ratification decisions and policy adoption.

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  • Schreurs, Miranda A., and Elizabeth C. Economy, eds. The Internationalization of Environmental Protection. Cambridge Studies in International Relations 54. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511660047Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that the internationalization of environmental protection efforts is altering domestic–policy-making processes, policy outcomes, and the effectiveness of policy implementation; asserts that substate politics continue to be critical variables shaping national responses to international environmental problems; presents case studies addressing climate change, biodiversity, ozone depletion, and trade in endangered species drawn from the experiences of China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

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  • Social Learning Group. Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks. Vol. 1, A Comparative History of Social Responses to Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, and Acid Rain. Politics, Science, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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    Examines the interplay between ideas and actions in global environmental management; focuses on how ideas, learning, interests, management capabilities, and institutions affect management practice; provides historical overviews of political responses to acid rain, ozone depletion, and climate change across a wide range of countries; includes discussion of problem framing, agenda setting, issue attention, risk assessment, monitoring, option assessment, goal and strategy formulation, implementation, and evaluation.

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  • Steinberg, Paul F., and Stacy D. VanDeveer, eds. Comparative Environmental Politics: Theory, Practice, and Prospects. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

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    Provides an on overview of the literature on domestic environmental politics from around the world and explores environmental politics across multiple levels of governance. Connects domestic policy to major international environmental issues.

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Nonstate Actors

Scholarship in global environmental politics has increasingly challenged the traditional focus on the state as the primary actor in international relations. This is apparent in the sections that address constructivism, science, and subnational forces shaping national negotiating positions. The nonstate actor literature further extends the focus to actors such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), cities and regional groups, as well as indigenous peoples. This literature typically argues that these nonstate actors are independently shaping national positions and increasingly directly influencing international negotiations. Princen and Finger 1994 provides one of the earliest analyses of the roles of environmental NGOs in global environmental politics. Pinto 2010 provides a historical overview of research on transnational activist networks in global environmental politics. Betsill and Corell 2008 offers a framework for evaluating the influence of environmental NGOs in global environmental negotiations. Selin and VanDeveer 2009 presents a wide range of actors influencing policy from the local to the transnational across North America. Bulkeley and Betsill 2003 focuses specifically on the roles of cities in shaping climate policy in the United States. Levy and Newell 2005 analyzes the role of business interests in global environmental politics. Green 2014 expands the analysis of the role of nonstate actors to explore “private governance” arrangements in global environmental politics.

  • Betsill, Michele, and Elisabeth Corell. NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.

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    Examines the conditions under which NGOs make a difference in the process or the outcome of international negotiations; presents an analytic framework for the systematic study of NGO diplomacy in international environmental negotiations; evaluates the degree of NGO influence in the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the International Whaling Commission, and Forest Conservation and Trade in Forest Products.

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  • Bulkeley, Harriet, and Michele Betsill. Cities and Climate Change: Urban Sustainability and Global Environmental Governance. Routledge Studies in Physical Geography and Environment 4. New York: Routledge, 2003.

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    Argues that cities are crucial for the implementation of international agreements and national policies to address climate change; provides a critical analysis of the role of cities in responding to climate change and the prospects for urban sustainability; argues that limitations on the resources and powers of local government and conflicts between economic development and climate change mitigation have limited efforts to address climate change.

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  • Green, Jessica F. Rethinking Private Authority: Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

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    Provides a theoretical analysis of the role of nonstate actors in global environmental politics and analyzes the interplay between states and private actors in generating multilateral environmental agreements and rules. Explores the relative importance of state delegation of authority to nonstate actors and the growing role of nonstate entrepreneurial authority in creating environmental rules and shaping global responses to today’s most important environmental problems.

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  • Levy, David L., and Peter J. Newell, eds. The Business of Global Environmental Governance. Global Environmental Accords. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

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    Utilizes a political economy approach to understand the role of business in shaping the evolution of international environmental governance through the interaction of economic structures, business strategies, and political processes; illustrates the ways business activity shapes and is shaped by global environmental policies; provides empirical studies of business strategies across a range of cases, including climate change, ozone depletion, tropical logging, and the development of ISO 14000 environmental management standards.

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  • Pinto, Rodrigo G. “Environmental Activism.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers a review of the evolution of the literature on transnational activism in global environmental politics; thoroughly maps the contours of the literature through a chronological review of its evolution; provides an extensive bibliography of major works. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Princen, Thomas, and Matthias Finger, eds. Environmental NGOs in World Politics: Linking the Local and the Global. London: Routledge, 1994.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203429037Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents an early review of the role of environmental NGOs in global environmental politics; explains the key role of NGOs in the nascent field of global environmental politics; argues that NGOs act both as independent bargainers and as agents of social learning to help integrate knowledge and policy making at the local and global levels; presents a range of case studies of transnational water pollution, ivory trade, and protection of the Antarctic.

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  • Selin, Henrik, and Stacy D. VanDeveer, eds. Changing Climates in North American Politics: Institutions, Policymaking, and Multilevel Governance. American and Comparative Environmental Policy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012997.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Notes the frequently contradictory climate policies pursued at different levels of government in Canada, Mexico, and the United States; examines and compares political action to address climate change across levels ranging from regional to local; investigates new or emerging institutions, policies, and practices in North American climate governance; argues that lack of coordination across levels limits the effectiveness of multilevel climate-change governance.

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Environmental Ethics and Justice

A vast literature on environmental ethics and justice has emerged over the last several decades. Bryner 2010 and Parks and Roberts 2006 provide good overviews of the evolution of this scholarship and strong bibliographies of the major works in this area. Several recent books provide good entry points into the range of scholarship. Schlosberg 2007 explores the definitions of environmental justice and the ways in which the concept is used by activists and how it could be institutionalized into the policy process. Hiskes 2009 builds an argument for preserving the environment as a human right based on an argument of intergenerational justice. Beckerman and Pasek 2001 explores problems related to intergenerational environmental justice. Harris 2001 evaluates the relationship between environmental justice and international relations theory. There have been particularly intense debates surrounding the ethical foundations for addressing the problem of climate change. For example, Adger, et al. 2006 addresses questions related to adaptation to the consequences of climate change and fairness in distributing the costs of adaptation. Harris 2001 also explores aspects of American foreign policy related to climate change.

  • Adger, W. Neil, Jouni Paavola, Saleemul Huq, and M. J. Mace, eds. Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.

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    Brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to explore the distribution of the costs of adaptation; provides a wide range of perspectives on the philosophical justification for sharing the costs of adaptation to climate change; presents several case studies to illustrate broader philosophical questions.

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  • Beckerman, Wilfred, and Joanna Pasek. Justice, Posterity, and the Environment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1093/0199245088.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Builds an argument for intergenerational environmental justice that requires stronger environmental policy today to protect the interests of future generations; discusses the nature of environmental justice among individuals as well as among states; argues that the interests of future and present generations must be balanced.

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  • Bryner, Gary. “Environmental Justice.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the origins and evolution of scholarship related to environmental justice, particularly as it relates to international environmental justice; presents a series of frameworks for defining environmental justice, including civil rights, distributive justice, public participation, social justice, and ecological sustainability. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Harris, Paul G. International Equity and Global Environmental Politics: Power and Principles in US Foreign Policy. Global Environmental Governance. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

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    Offers a definition of international environmental equity; evaluates the implications of equity concerns for the pursuit of environmental foreign policy; critiques US foreign environmental policy; explores the dominant international relations paradigms and their relationship to environmental foreign policy.

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  • Hiskes, Richard P. The Human Right to a Green Future: Environmental Rights and Intergenerational Justice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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    Builds an argument for environmental human rights based on communal intergenerational environmental justice; explores the disputes between particularist and cosmopolitan approaches to justice.

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  • Parks, Bradley C., and J. Timmons Roberts. “Environmental and Ecological Justice.” In Palgrave Advances in International Environmental Politics. Edited by Michelle M. Betsill, Kathryn Hochstetler, and Dimitris Stevis, 329–360. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2006.

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    Explores the origins of scholarship on environmental justice, particularly as it relates to international relations theory; provides an excellent bibliography of major works in this area.

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  • Schlosberg, David. Defining Environmental Justice: Theories, Movements, and Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199286294.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the definition of “justice” as it relates to environmental and ecological justice; discusses the definitions of justice as used by American and global environmental movements; offers commentary on institutionalizing environmental justice in the practice of environmental policy.

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Case Studies of International Environmental Problems

The literature on global environmental politics has been driven largely by qualitative case study analysis. There have been a relatively small number of large studies of global environmental politics. There is thus a rich qualitative literature addressing a range of problems. Several major works provide overviews of a significant number of environmental problems. Other scholars address specific problems in great detail. Scholars have extensively studied transboundary air pollution, international water management, ozone depletion, and climate change. Examples of major works in each of these areas are presented below. There are other significant issues such as biodiversity, whaling, fisheries management, desertification, forestry management, hazardous substance trade and disposal, and genetically modified organism regulation that scholars are increasingly exploring that are not included here due to space limitations. Several of these case studies are addressed as part of the books addressing multiple environmental issues included below.

Multiple-Issue Studies

There are several significant works that explore a series of environmental problems from one theoretical perspective. One of the classic works in this vein is Haas, et al. 1993, which analyzes the potential effectiveness of international institutions for addressing major environmental problems. Barkin and Shambaugh 1999 emphasizes the challenges of addressing common pool-resource problems through international negotiations. DeSombre 2006 and Biermann and Siebenhüner 2009 also analyze the effectiveness of international institutions in managing a range of environmental problems. Harris 2014 provides overviews of scholarship across a wide range of environmental problems. These sources offer good starting points for beginning research on a range of environmental problems.

  • Barkin, J. Samuel, and George E. Shambaugh, eds. Anarchy and the Environment: The International Relations of Common Pool Resources. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999.

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    Utilizes a focus on the unique nature of common pool resources to examine international negotiations to address a wide range of environmental issues including fisheries management, ozone depletion, acid rain, and water consumption rights; emphasizes the importance of the shadow of the future effect on negotiations, the effect of free riders on negotiation and implementation of agreements, and the role of market power in addressing collective action problems.

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  • Biermann, Frank, and Bernd Siebenhüner, eds. Managers of Global Change: The Influence of International Environmental Bureaucracies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012744.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the role of nine international environmental bureaucracies in influencing responses to global environmental problems; presents a conceptual framework for studying international bureaucracies; concludes that the bureaucracies have a significant autonomous influence in shaping global environmental outcomes but the level of influence varies based on organizational structure as well as on the quality of bureaucrats; provides case studies of bureaucracies addressing maritime issues, ozone depletion, climate change, biodiversity, and desertification.

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  • DeSombre, Elizabeth R. Global Environmental Institutions. Global Institutions series. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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    Provides an overview of the major global institutions attempting to protect the natural environment; reviews the role of UN programs and then examines institutions dedicated to specific issues including biodiversity, oceans, the atmosphere, and hazardous substances; presents debates on financing, participation by states, and effectiveness.

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  • Haas, Peter M., Robert O. Keohane, and Marc A. Levy, eds. Institutions for the Earth: Sources of Effective International Environmental Protection. Global Environmental Accords series. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993.

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    Classic volume focused on the role of international institutions in addressing global environmental problems; presents seven case studies of international institutional responses to oil pollution from tankers, acid rain in Europe, stratospheric ozone depletion, pollution of the North Sea and Baltic, mismanagement of fisheries, overpopulation, and misuse of farm chemicals; identifies three major functions performed by effective international environmental institutions: building national capacity, improving the contractual environment, and elevating governmental concern.

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  • Harris, Paul G., ed. Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics. New York: Routledge, 2014.

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    Provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of global environmental politics and presents overviews of nearly all major global environmental issues and policies including climate change, ozone depletion, transboundary air pollution, hazardous waste, water pollution, biodiversity/species management, forests, desertification, and agriculture.

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  • Oberthür, Sebastian, and Thomas Gehring, eds. Institutional Interaction in Global Environmental Governance: Synergy and Conflict among International and EU Policies. Global Environmental Accords series. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.

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    Develops a theoretical framework for analyzing interactions among EU institutions and international environmental organizations; examines the ways in which international and European Union policies can either reinforce or undermine one another; offers case studies related to biodiversity, international trade, fishery management, regional water protection, air pollution, and climate change.

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  • Social Learning Group. Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks. Vol. 1, A Comparative History of Social Responses to Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, and Acid Rain. Politics, Science, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001a.

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    Examines how ideas, learning, interests, management capabilities, and institutions affect global environmental management practice; provides historical overviews of political responses to acid rain, ozone depletion, and climate change in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the former Soviet Union, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Canada, the United States, and the European Union; includes discussion of problem framing, agenda setting, issue attention, risk assessment, monitoring, option assessment, goal and strategy formulation, implementation, and evaluation.

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  • Social Learning Group. Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks. Vol. 2, A Functional Analysis of Social Responses to Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, and Acid Rain. Politics, Science, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001b.

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    Continuation of Social Learning Group 2001a; presents the findings of the case studies discussed in the first volume; emphasizes the management of global environmental risk, including chapters on risk assessment, monitoring risks, assessing options for action, goal and strategy formulation, implementation, and evaluation; offers suggestions for future research and proposals for improving global environmental risk management.

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Transboundary Air Pollution

The management of transboundary air pollution was one of the first international environmental issues to be addressed through international negotiation. Acid rain has been the most important issue in this area, though other problems related to air quality and pollutant transport have also been the subject of international negotiation. McCormick 1997 is the classic work on international acid rain politics and offers a global perspective on the problem. Underdal and Hanf 2000 and Wettestad 2002 focus on the extensive problems and political attempts to address acid rain in the European context. Wilkening 2004 offers a more global review of acid rain policy, with an emphasis on the role of science.

  • McCormick, John. Acid Earth: The Politics of Acid Pollution. 3d ed. London: Earthscan, 1997.

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    Provides a global view of acidification; reviews the science, politics and economics of acidification; presents chapters addressing the implications of the growing scientific understanding of acid pollution, possible solutions, and detailed studies of the political struggles involved in responding to acid damage in Western and Eastern Europe, the United States, and in the newly industrializing countries.

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  • Underdal, Arild, and Kenneth Hanf, eds. International Environmental Agreements and Domestic Policies: The Case of Acid Rain. Ashgate Studies in Environmental Policy and Practice. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2000.

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    Addresses two main questions: why do governments take different positions on common problems and why do some states push for international regulation while others hold back? Explores the variation among states in implementation and compliance with international agreements; presents case studies of ten European countries’ attempts to cope with acid rain.

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  • Wettestad, Jørgen. Clearing the Air: European Advances in Tackling Acid Rain and Atmospheric Pollution. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002.

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    Analyzes the adoption of the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol within the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and the related 2001 EU National Emission Ceilings (NEC) directive; presents an in-depth analysis of the political maneuvering surrounding these two major policy advances.

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  • Wilkening, Kenneth E. “Localizing Universal Science: Acid Rain and Policy in Europe, North America, and East Asia.” In Science and Politics in the International Environment. Edited by Neil E. Harrison and Gary C. Bryner, 209–240. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004.

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    Analyzes the role of science in shaping acid rain policy in various regions of the world; argues that the manner in which science is interpreted locally significantly shapes regional responses to acid rain policy.

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International Water Management

Negotiations to address international water management also have a long history. There are a range of issues that could be grouped under this heading, including freshwater resource management, regional seas, and protection of the oceans. Bernauer and Kalbhenn 2010 provides a very good review of scholarship on freshwater resource management. Conca 2006 presents a critique of attempts at intergovernmental negotiations and explores the potential for less formalized institutions to govern water issues. Dinar, et al. 2007 utilizes quantitative methods to evaluate regional water conflict and cooperation. Dombrowsky 2007 applies economic theory to explain water conflicts and to offer suggestions for resolving such conflicts. Haas 1990 explores the protection of regional seas with a focus on the Mediterranean and the role of science in designing appropriate policies. Jacques and Smith 2003 and Bauer 2009 offer overviews of international law and policy as it relates to the oceans and coastal management.

  • Bauer, Donald C. Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy. Chicago: American Bar Association, 2009.

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    Explains the laws protecting the marine environment; offers a practitioner’s perspective on how laws work in practice; presents an ecosystem-based management approach to reforming marine law and policy.

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  • Bernauer, Thomas, and Anna Kalbhenn. “The Politics of International Freshwater Resources.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Blackwell-Wiley, 2010.

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    Provides a detailed review of the literature on international freshwater resource management; offers an extensive bibliography on works in this area. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Conca, Ken. Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.

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    Examines political struggles to create a global framework for the governance of freshwater resources; argues that intergovernmental bargaining has largely failed because of the lack of effective state authority, stable knowledge frameworks, and a territorialized understanding of nature; suggests that less formalized institutions have emerged to help shape water governance locally and globally; presents case studies illustrating the potential for alternative institutional forms of water governance.

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  • Dinar, Ariel, Shlomi Dinar, Stephen McCaffrey, and Daene McKinney. Bridges over Water: Understanding Transboundary Water Conflict, Negotiation and Cooperation. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1142/6184Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents an interdisciplinary review of transboundary water conflicts, negotiation, and cooperation with perspectives presented from international relations, international law, international negotiations, and economics; applies various quantitative approaches, such as river basin modeling and game theory, to evaluate regional water conflict.

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  • Dombrowsky, I. Conflict, Cooperation, and Institutions in International Water Management: An Economic Analysis. Advances in Ecological Economics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2007.

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    Evaluates the conditions under which cooperation is likely in cases of shared water resources and examines how institutions must be designed to realize potential gains of cooperation; develops a conceptual framework that draws on economic theories such as external effects, noncooperative games, and transaction-costs economics to inform strategies for designing appropriate international solutions; explores the role of issue linkage and of international organizations to foster cooperation.

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  • Haas, Peter M. Saving the Mediterranean: The Politics of International Environmental Cooperation. Political Economy of International Change. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

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    Analyzes the integration of science into policy in complex environmental problems involving extensive uncertainty; analyzes the role of scientific advice through a focus on “epistemic communities”; offers a case study of the influence of an epistemic community in the creation of the Mediterranean Action Plan; offers insights into the management of regional seas.

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  • Jacques, Peter, and Zachary A. Smith. Ocean Politics and Policy: A Reference Handbook. Contemporary World Issues. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003.

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    Argues that the world’s oceans face substantial challenges from overfishing, industrial wastes, oil pollution, and loss of biodiversity; reviews international law and policy related to major types of pollution, deep-seabed mining, international jurisdictional disputes, and piracy; examines the underlying reasons for these problems and provides policy suggestions for addressing them.

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Ozone Depletion

Ozone depletion was arguably the first truly global environmental problem to be addressed through international negotiations. The efforts to address ozone depletion played a significant role in laying the foundation for climate change to emerge onto the international agenda and offered a precedent for dealing with the problem. Benedick 1998 provides the most thorough review and an insider’s perspective of the international negotiations that led up to the 1987 Montreal Protocol. Parson 2003 and Anderson and Sarma 2005 provide updated histories of atmospheric ozone depletion policy and its effectiveness. Rowlands 1995 and Seaver 1997 apply international relations theories to explain the successful negotiation of an atmospheric ozone treaty. Litfin 1994 analyzes the role of science, policy, and political discourse to explain the success of the Montreal Protocol. Gareau 2013 analyzes the mixed attempts to regulate methyl bromide and provides a contemporary review of the ongoing politics of ozone depletion.

  • Anderson, Stephen O., and K. Madhava Sarma. Protecting the Ozone Layer: The United Nations History. London: Earthscan, 2005.

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    Traces the history of international responses to ozone depletion from the 1970s through the mid 2000; argues that the full participation of governments, industry, scientists, campaigners, NGOs, and the media was critical to successfully addressing this issue.

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  • Benedick, Richard Elliot. Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet. Enlarged ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.

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    Offers an insider’s view of the politics, economics, science, and diplomacy involved in creating the precedent-setting 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer; discusses the negotiations to deal with unexpected scientific discoveries and important amendments to accelerate the phase-out schedules of ozone-depleting substances during the 1990s.

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  • Gareau, Brian J. From Precaution to Profit: Contemporary Challenges to Environmental Protection in the Montreal Protocol. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013.

    DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300175264.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the politics surrounding international negotiations to phase out the use of methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol. Argues that economic interests have played a critical role in shaping the phasing out of ozone depleting substances. Provides insight into the interplay of domestic politics and international negotiations and offers a contemporary account of ozone depletion negotiations.

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  • Litfin, Karen T. Ozone Discourses: Science and Politics in Global Environmental Cooperation. New Directions in World Politics. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

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    Analyzes the translation of scientific knowledge into political change with a focus on political discourse; examines the Montreal Protocol to determine why scientists, policymakers, and activists collaborated so successfully; argues that experts used their understanding of atmospheric science to supplement the policymakers’ short-term perspective with a wider, intergenerational timeframe; argues that the discipline of international relations requires a broader conception of power to accommodate knowledge-based environmental problems.

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  • Parson, Edward. Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1093/0195155491.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a comprehensive history of international efforts to protect the ozone layer; examines the parallel developments of politics and negotiations, scientific understanding and controversy, technological progress, and industry strategy that shaped the issue’s development and its effective management; argues that authoritative scientific assessments were crucial in constraining policy debates and shaping negotiated agreements.

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  • Rowlands, Ian H. The Politics of Global Atmospheric Change. Issues in Environmental Politics. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1995.

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    Explores how the international community has responded to the challenges posed by anthropogenic change of the atmosphere; contrasts the comparative success of efforts to address ozone depletion with the failures to address the problem of climate change; offers a theory of international co-operation and then explores the special interests which have influenced the formulation of international policy on these issues.

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  • Seaver, Brenda. “Stratospheric Ozone Protection: IR Theory and the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.” Environmental Politics 6.3 (1997): 31–67.

    DOI: 10.1080/09644019708414341Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluates the extent to which international relations theories can explain why all of the major countries producing ozone depleting substances decided to sign the treaty after many had opposed a regulatory ozone treaty for more than a decade; assesses the ability of five major approaches to international relations to explain the emergence of the international ozone regime (neorealist, neoliberal institutionalist, knowledge-based, domestic politics, and two-level games).

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Climate Change

Climate change is arguably the most important environmental problem facing humanity today. As a result, it has emerged as the most widely studied of all global environmental problems. There is a vast literature addressing every aspect of climate change and applying every framework of analysis in use in the field of global environmental politics. Hulme 2009 analyzes the myriad ways in which climate change is defined as a political problem and the associated policy debates. Cass 2010 provides an overview of this vast literature and maps the contours of scholarship addressing the problem. Paterson 1996 offers one of the first and arguably the best application of international relations theory to explain the evolution of climate politics. O’Riordan and Jäger 1996 examines the early European policies to address climate change and the debates surrounding climate policy leading up to the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Luterbacher and Sprinz 2001 offers a classic review of scholarship on climate change at the beginning of the 21st century. Harris 2007 explores the politics of climate change in Europe and the effects of participation in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations on European climate policy. Pettenger 2007 presents a constructivist analysis of the politics of climate change. Miller and Edwards 2001 examines the role of science and its integration into the climate policy process. Vanderheiden 2009 is an example of a growing wave of scholars addressing the considerations relevant to ethics and justice that underlie international responses to climate change. Dryzek, et al. 2012 provides an overview of the multifaceted nature of global climate politics.

  • Cass, Loren R. “The Politics of Climate Change.” In International Studies Encyclopedia. Edited by Robert A. Denemark. Malden, MA: Blackwell-Wiley, 2010.

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    Maps the contours of the vast literature that has emerged within global environmental politics to address climate change; offers a historical overview of climate scholarship and then presents the most important recent works across a range of issues including international relations theory, international negotiations, domestic climate politics, and issues of climate justice; includes a extensive bibliography of major works. Available online to subscribers.

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  • Dryzek, John S., Richard B. Norgaard, and David Schlosberg, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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    Brings together distinguished scholars across the vast literature on climate politics and provides a discussion of the history and evolution of the understanding of climate change. Addresses the implications for society and national security and addresses the international response with a focus on issues of justice and public participation in decision making. And finally, it reviews the emerging international responses and structures of global governance related to climate change.

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  • Harris, Paul G., ed. Europe and Global Climate Change: Politics, Foreign Policy, and Regional Cooperation. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2007.

    DOI: 10.4337/9781847204264Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the formulation, ratification, and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol within Europe; provides historical background, case studies of the most influential European countries, and an assessment of what enlargement means for the implementation of Kyoto; examines how Europe’s policies have shaped and been shaped by participation in the Kyoto negotiation and implementation processes.

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  • Hulme, Mike. Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511841200Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the origins of climate change as an environmental problem and analyzes the framing of climate change as an environmental, cultural, and political phenomenon. Utilizes the perspectives of science, economics, faith, psychology, sociology, and politics to explain why there is so much conflict surrounding climate change.

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  • Luterbacher, Urs, and Detlef Sprinz, eds. International Relations and Global Climate Change. Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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    Surveys the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological approaches to studying climate change at the beginning of the 21st century; examines the role of states, nonstate actors, and international organizations to explain the evolution of climate politics; analyzes the climate regime from various conceptual and theoretical perspectives including realism, historical materialism, Neoliberal institutionalism and regime theory, and epistemic community and cognitive approaches; emphasizes questions of equity and the legal difficulties of implementation.

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  • Miller, Clark A., and Paul N. Edwards, eds. Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance. Politics, Science, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

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    Illustrates how the emerging field of science and technology studies can inform the understanding of human dimensions of global environmental change; presents detailed empirical studies of climate science and its integration into policy in the World Meteorological Organization, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; analyzes the scientific, political, and social processes involved in the creation of scientific knowledge.

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  • O’Riordan, Tim, and Jill Jäger, eds. Politics of Climate Change: A European Perspective. Global Environmental Change series. New York: Routledge, 1996.

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    Provides a critical analysis of the political, moral, and legal responses to climate change in Europe; examines policies adopted by different nations to address climate change; includes a focus on science and policy and the role of social institutions; offers case studies of the early climate policies of all of the major European states.

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  • Paterson, Matthew. Global Warming and Global Politics. Environmental Politics. New York: Routledge, 1996.

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    Examines the ability of the major international relations paradigms to explain the emergence and evolution of climate change as an issue of international relations; offers an excellent application of theory that can be used to explore other environmental issues; concludes that neorealism is not particularly useful in explaining climate politics; asserts that neoliberalism, constructivism, and historical materialism offer more insight into the origins and evolution of the problem.

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  • Pettenger, Mary E., ed. The Social Construction of Climate Change. Global Environmental Governance series. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007.

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    Addresses various approaches to understanding the social construction of climate change from a Constructivist perspective; divided into two parts with the first part focused on norm-centered analyses of climate change and the second utilizing a discourse-analysis approach.

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  • Vanderheiden, Steve. Atmospheric Justice: A Political Theory of Climate Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Presents conceptual frameworks of justice, equality, and responsibility as a foundation for the pursuit of climate policy; points toward ways to achieve environmental justice by exploring the implications of climate change for international and intergenerational justice; considers how the design of a climate regime might take these issues into account; illustrates the ways in which applying normative theory to policy permits the creation of a more just response to climate change.

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