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Chapter

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 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 chapter explores the complex and multifaceted relationship between international trade and environmental protection. The global trade regime's normative principles, legal rules, and real-world consequences often contradict environmental governance. For example, there is tension between trade and environmental governance with respect to the commercialisation of endangered species, export of hazardous wastes, emissions involved in transporting goods, and patentability of living organisms. However, there are also synergies, which enable trade liberalisation and environmental protection to reinforce one another. For example, trade forces were key drivers in the reduction of ozone-depleting substances and the affordability of pollution abatement technologies. The chapter explores these conflicts and synergies by first discussing the literature that examines the positive and negative impacts that trade has on the environment. It goes on to look at the trade dimensions of various environmental regimes, and then environmental dimensions of the trade regime, within both the World Trade Organization and preferential trade agreements.

Chapter

Peter Newell

This chapter examines how developing countries are managing the relationship between the environment and development. Despite being widely regarded as a threat to their economic development and prospects for growth, environmental issues have come to occupy a central place on policy agendas throughout the developing world. Driven by donors, public concern, and vocal environmental movements, responses to these environmental issues have taken a number of different forms as they compete for ‘policy space’ with other pressing development concerns. The chapter links global agendas to national policy processes, highlighting differences and similarities between how countries respond to various environmental issues. It also considers patterns of continuity and change in the politics of environment in the developing world, along with new policy instruments for environmental protection. It concludes by reflecting on the likely future of environmental policy in the developing world.

Chapter

Viviane Gravey, Andrew Jordan, and David Benson

Despite its very strong economic roots, the European Union has nonetheless become an international leader in environmental protection and sustainable development policy. Environmental concerns have consequently shifted from being a marginal aspect of the European integration process to one that routinely grabs news headlines and, unlike many other EU policy areas, generates relatively strong political support from EU citizens. In the past, these policies, which now impinge on most sectors and areas of the economy, have proven resilient to economic and deregulatory pressures. This chapter documents and explores the reasons behind the relatively rapid transformation in the EU’s governing capabilities in this policy area, explores the main dynamics of policy-making from different analytical perspectives, and explores the impact of challenges such as climate change, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chapter

David Benson, Viviane Gravey, and Andrew Jordan

Despite its very strong economic roots, the European Union has nonetheless become an international leader in environmental protection and sustainable development policy. Environmental concerns have consequently shifted from being a marginal aspect of the European integration process to one that routinely grabs news headlines and, unlike many other EU policy areas, generates relatively strong political support from EU citizens. These policies, which now impinge on most sectors and areas of the economy, have generally proven resilient to recent economic and deregulatory pressures. This chapter documents and explores the reasons behind the relatively rapid transformation in the EU’s governing capabilities in this policy area, explores the main dynamics of policy-making from different analytical perspectives, and identifies future challenges including Brexit.

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

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.