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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.

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 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.

Book

The Politics of the Earth provides an introduction to thinking about the environment, through investigation of related political discourses. The text analyses the various approaches which have dominated environmental issues over the last three decades and which are likely to be influential in the future, including survivalism, environmental problem solving, sustainability, and green radicalism. This new edition includes more on global environmental politics, as well as updated and expanded examples including more material on China. The text looks at the most modern discourses, including discussions surrounding climate change, and reworks the material on justice and green radicalism to include more on climate justice and new developments such as transition towns and radical summits.

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 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 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.

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 considers a range of issues that have often been neglected in national security agendas or perceived to be outside the purview of strategy. During the cold war, national security agendas were dominated by high politics, whereas low politics were rarely seen as a threat to national security. In the aftermath of the cold war, however, low politics started to garner more attention than high politics. This chapter proposes a conceptual framework based on a utilitarian assessment of environmental, resource, and population issues to determine whether there is a new agenda for security and strategy. It also examines how divergent demographic trends will shape strategy and strategic thinking and goes on to discuss commons problems, the direct environmental damage caused by military action, the spread of infectious diseases such as measles and malaria, and how countries are beginning to exhibit sensitivities and vulnerabilities to issues of low politics.

Chapter

This chapter considers a range of issues that have often been neglected in national security agendas or perceived to be outside the purview of strategy. During the cold war, national security agendas were dominated by high politics, whereas low politics were rarely seen as a threat to national security. In the aftermath of the cold war, however, low politics started to garner more attention than high politics. This chapter proposes a conceptual framework based on a utilitarian assessment of environmental, resource, and population issues to determine whether there is a new agenda for security and strategy. It also examines how divergent demographic trends will shape strategy and strategic thinking, and goes on to discuss commons problems, the direct environmental damage caused by military action, the spread of infectious diseases such as measles and Covid-19, and how countries are beginning to exhibit sensitivities and vulnerabilities to issues of low politics.