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Chapter

This chapter examines a category of green radicalism that focuses on green consciousness. The stress on green consciousness means that the way people experience and regard the world in which they live, and each other, is the key to green change. Once consciousness has changed in an appropriate direction, then policies, social structures, institutions, and economic systems are expected to fall into place. This prioritization of consciousness is widespread in the green movement, among deep ecologists, bioregionalists, ecofeminists, ecotheologists, and lifestyle greens, among others. The chapter begins with a discussion of deep ecology, ecofeminism, bioregionalism, ecological citizenship, lifestyle greens, and ecotheology. It then considers romanticism, the discourse analysis of green consciousness, and the impact of green consciousness change. Finally, it highlights the challenges confronting green consciousness.

Chapter

6. Development and the environment  

From the Stockholm Summit to the Sustainable Development Goals

This chapter addresses environmental protection and economic development. These two policy objectives are at once contradictory and complementary; they cannot be considered separately as one necessarily affects the other. The chapter adopts a historical approach and studies how interactions between these two policy objectives have been understood since the early 1970s. To do so, it first introduces three different views — systemic, liberal, and structural — on how environmental protection and economic development interact. It goes on to assess the resonances of each of these views in key global instruments adopted in the last 50 years: the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, the 1987 Brundtland Report, the outcomes of the 1992 Rio Summit, the 2002 Declaration of the Johannesburg Summit, and the 2012 Rio Declaration. One of the main conclusions of the chapter is that a liberal understanding of the relationship between environmental protection and economic development has been gaining increased prominence over time.

Chapter

This chapter summarizes the volume's main ideas, a common thread of which is a renewed democratic politics, an ecological democracy. Each of the discourses analyzed in the text offers a reasonably comprehensive account of and orientation to environmental affairs at all levels, from the global to the local, and across different issue areas such as pollution, resource depletion, biodiversity, and climate change. Of the discourses surveyed, only Promethean discourse and ecological modernization provide any coherent analysis of what to do with the liberal capitalist economic order. The chapter considers how democratic pragmatism, sustainable development, ecological modernization, and green radicalism seem to provide more possibilities for learning. It also discusses several specific claims that can be made on behalf of deliberative democracy in an environmental context and concludes by arguing that ecological democracy should transcend the boundary between human social systems and natural systems.

Book

Jean-Frédéric Morin, Amandine Orsini, and Sikina Jinnah

Global Environmental Politics provides an up-to-date introduction to the most important issues dominating this fast-moving field. Going beyond the issue of climate change, the text also introduces readers to the pressing issues of desertification, trade in hazardous waste, biodiversity protection, whaling, acid rain, ozone-depletion, water consumption, and over-fishing. Importantly, the text pays particular attention to the interactions between environmental politics and other governance issues, such as gender, trade, development, health, agriculture, and security. Adopting an analytical approach, the text explores and evaluates a wide variety of political perspectives, testing assumptions and equipping readers with the necessary tools to develop their own arguments and, ultimately, inspiring new research endeavours in this diverse field.

Chapter

This chapter examines sustainable development, an integrating discourse covering environmental issues from the local to the global, as well as a host of economic and development concerns. Sustainable development is different from Promethean discourse because it requires coordinated collective efforts to achieve goals, rather than relying on human spontaneity and ingenuity. It is also different from environmental problem solving discourses because it is much more imaginative in its reconceptualization of the terms of environmental dispute and in its dissolution of some long-standing conflicts. After explaining what sustainable development is, the chapter provides a historical background on the concept. It then considers the discourse analysis of sustainable development and concludes by reflecting on the prospects for the success or failure of sustainable development.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the Promethean response to unlimited growth. Discourses do not need conscious articulation. They can be so ingrained and taken-for-granted that it would never occur to anyone to mention them. Such was the case for the environmental discourse which can be styled Promethean. In Greek mythology Prometheus stole fire from Zeus, thus significantly increasing the human capacity to manipulate the world. Prometheans have unlimited confidence in the ability of humans and their technologies to overcome any problem — including environmental problems. The term ‘cornucopian’ is sometimes associated with this denial of environmental limits. After providing a background on the central argument of the Promethean discourse with respect to growth, the chapter considers various criticisms levelled against it. It also explores Promethean environmentalism and the impact of Promethean discourse.

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This chapter explores the ideas and debates which shape global environmental politics. At least three types of socially constructed ideas play a key role in international environmental governance: world views, causal beliefs, and social norms. However, ideas are not universally shared, which means that ideological clashes are a feature of global environmental governance. The chapter looks at five of the major ideological debates that have marked the evolution of global environmental governance. The first two debates present conflicting world views: the first concerns the scope of environmental values, while the second examines the intrinsic values of non-human organisms. The following two debates concern causal beliefs: one is about the relationship between human intervention and environmental protection, while the other concerns the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation. The last debate considers different social norms related to environmental justice and the appropriate behaviours expected towards historically marginalized populations.

Chapter

This chapter examines ecological modernization, a discourse that addresses the restructuring of the capitalist political economy along more environmentally defensible lines. At one level ecological modernization is about the search for green production technology, and especially clean energy. However, this search also opens the door to intriguing possibilities for more intensive transformation, involving political change as well as technological change. So although at first sight ecological modernization looks like a rescue mission for industrial society, albeit an imaginative one, it also points to political and economic possibilities beyond industrial society. The central assumption of ecological modernization is that the capitalist political economy needs conscious reconfiguring and far-sighted action so that economic development and environmental protection can proceed hand-in-hand and reinforce one another. The chapter first explains the idea of ecological modernization before discussing its discourse analysis. It concludes with some remarks on the future of ecological modernization.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the complex and multifaceted relationship between science and politics. Although science and politics each follow a distinct logic and pursue distinct objectives, they are inextricably connected to one another. On the one hand, science influences political debates, by drawing attention to certain problems and providing necessary justifications for political action. On the other hand, political dynamics, including political values and power relations, structure the conduct of science. The chapter highlights the different aspects of the co-production of science and politics, in the framework of international environmental debates. An increasing number of studies on global environmental governance suggest that science and politics are co-produced. As they shape each other, it is impossible to understand one without considering the other. Political interactions are partly based on available knowledge, and scientific production is a social practice that is conditioned by its political context.

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This chapter looks at intergovernmental organisations and international regimes. As several environmental problems have transnational implications, governments have been eager to establish international institutions to address these problems collectively. In the aftermath of the landmark 1972 Stockholm Summit on the Human Environment, states created several international institutions specifically dedicated to environmental protection. Over time, and in keeping with broader trends in global politics, these institutions have begun to interact with institutions that specialize on other topics. The chapter then tracks international environmental institutions' development and impacts over time. It also considers how international environmental institutions exhibit differing levels of autonomy, before going on to look at the interactions between international institutions, in particular the dynamics of synergy and conflict between them. Finally, the chapter studies the literature on actual or planned reforms to the institutional architecture for global environmental governance.

Chapter

This introductory chapter presents global environmental politics as an important area of international and transnational cooperation and as a distinct field of study. First, as an area of cooperation, global environmental politics emerged out of the need to work together internationally and transnationally to address some pressing environmental problems, such as biodiversity loss, climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the rapid reduction of global fish stocks. Independent state action at the local and national levels is not sufficient to address global environmental issues: these issues require cooperation through global governance. Second, as a field of study, global environmental politics investigates the various dimensions of emerging actions on global environmental issues. It is a diverse field of study from both theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.

Chapter

This chapter examines administrative rationalism, a discourse of environmental problem solving which captures the dominant governmental response to the onset of environmental crisis. Administrative rationalism emphasizes the role of the expert rather than the citizen or producer/consumer in social problem solving, and which stresses social relationships of hierarchy rather than equality or competition. The chapter first considers the manifestations of administrative rationalism in various institutions and practices, including environmental impact assessment, planning, and rationalistic policy analysis techniques, before discussing the discourse analysis of administrative rationalism. It then explains the justification of administrative rationalism and problems of administrative rationalism, caused in part by its association with bureaucracy. It also explores the implications of the transition from government to governance for administrative rationalism.

Chapter

This chapter examines economic rationalism, a discourse of environmental problem solving which builds on its advances in all areas of political life to generate alternatives to and remedies for the pathologies it identifies in both administration and liberal democratic governance. Economic rationalism may be defined by its commitment to the intelligent deployment of market mechanisms to achieve public ends. It differs from administrative rationalism in its hostility to environmental management by government administrators — except in establishing the basic parameters of designed markets. The chapter first considers the issue of privatization and private property rights before discussing less radical strands that stress market incentives but not necessarily private property. It also describes the discourse analysis of economic rationalism and concludes with an assessment of the limitations of economic rationalism, including its treatment of government.

Chapter

This chapter examines democratic pragmatism, a discourse of environmental problem solving that emerged as a corrective to administration. Democratic pragmatism may be characterized in terms of interactive problem solving within the basic institutional structure of liberal capitalist democracy. The word ‘pragmatism’ can have two connotations: the first is the way the word is used in everyday language, as signifying a practical, realistic orientation to the world, the opposite of starry-eyed idealism; the second refers to a school of thought in philosophy, associated with names such as William James, Charles Peirce, and John Dewey. This chapter treats democracy as a problem-solving discourse reconciled to the basic status quo of liberal capitalism. It first considers democratic pragmatism in action before discussing democratic pragmatism as government and governance. It also explores the rationality of democratic pragmatism, the discourse analysis of democratic pragmatism, and the limits of democratic pragmatism.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the environmental discourse of limits and survival and how it set the apocalyptic horizon of environmentalism. Population biologists and ecologists use the concept of ‘carrying capacity’ — the maximum population of a species that an ecosystem can support in perpetuity. When the population of a species grows to the point where carrying capacity is exceeded, the ecosystem is degraded and the population crashes, recovering only if and when natural processes restore the ecosystem to its previous capacity. One complicating factor when it comes to applying population biology to human societies is the possibility of economic growth. The chapter first considers the origins of survivalism before discussing the political philosophy of survival, discourse analysis of limits and survival, and limits and survival in practice. It also examines the challenges confronting the limits discourse, including the lack of international action on climate change.

Chapter

This edition examines the politics of the Earth through reference to discourses based on the argument that language matters, that the way we construct, interpret, discuss, and analyze environmental problems has all kinds of consequences. The goal is to elucidate the basic structure of the discourses that have dominated recent environmental politics, and to present their history, conflicts, and transformations. The text discusses four basic environmental discourses: environmental problem solving, limits and survival, sustainability, and green radicalism. This introduction provides an overview of the changing terms of environmental politics, questions to ask about discourses, the differences that discourses make, and the uses of discourse analysis.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the relationship between the environment and security. The concept of ‘environmental security’ is omnipresent, but is nonetheless ambiguous and contested. What exactly needs to be secured, and what are the security threats? Is environmental security about state security, faced with the loss of natural resources? Or is it about protecting individuals and communities from environmental degradation and reduced access to key environmental resources? A first step in clarifying these questions is to disentangle two related but distinct causal arguments. In the relationship between environment and security, environmental degradation can be analysed either as a cause or as a consequence of security issues. A second step needed to clarify these debates is to adopt clear definitions. In the context of international relations, security has traditionally been understood in relation to the survival of the state, and the main threats to state security are armed conflicts. For the purpose of this chapter, conflicts are defined as any type of disagreement. The chapter also examines the impact of conflicts on the environment.

Chapter

This chapter considers a category of green radicalism that focuses on green politics. Green radicalism is about political change targeted at social structures and institutions as well as consciousness change. This more overtly political emphasis is advanced by a number of movements and schools of thought whose degree of radicalism varies from eco-anarchists to ‘realo’ greens. The chapter begins with a discussion of different types of green politics, including green parties, social ecology, transition towns and new materialism, red and green, environmental justice, and environmentalism of the global poor. It also considers the antiglobalization movement, global justice, the Occupy Movement, and radical summits, as well as the discourse analysis of green politics. Finally, it looks at green politics in practice and emphasizes the uncertainty about the best way to practice green politics in the face of a seemingly recalcitrant and secure liberal capitalist political economy.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on non-state actors in global environmental governance. Non-state actors, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), corporations, and transnational networks, play an increasingly significant role in global environmental politics. Some of them, such as Greenpeace and Shell, became well known by communicating directly with the public or consumers. Others, such as the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education or the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, are less visible to the wider public but no less influential. The scope, diversity, preferences, methods of engagement, and contributions of non-state actors to global environmental governance are often overshadowed by a focus on state actors. The chapter sheds light on how non-state actors engage in global environmental governance and highlights how they shape the political landscape in this field.

Chapter

This chapter introduces several debates surrounding the effectiveness of global environmental governance. These debates are closely linked to the choice of policy instruments states make within international regimes. These public policy instruments include regulations, administrative standards, scientific indicators, financial targets, and accounting practices, among others. Whereas international institutions frame the general norms, principles, and rules for tackling environmental problems, instruments provide the toolbox of policy mechanisms that actors in global environmental politics use to implement those norms, principles, and rules. In some cases, the choice of instruments is made at the international level and applied in exactly the same way by a group of states. In other cases, the choice of policy instruments is left to the discretion of states, who can then choose among different alternatives to fulfil their international commitments. The chapter then explains the modalities, diffusion, and political effects of these policy instruments. Although the concept of policy instruments may appear technical and neutral, it shows how instruments can actually shape, modify, and even undermine global environmental politics.