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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

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter evaluates environmental taxes as part of a set of policies to address the threats that climate change poses. These taxes increase the price of activities that are environmentally harmful. In doing so, they discourage such behaviour and raise revenue that the state can use to redress its effects. The chapter embeds these considerations in an account of intergenerational justice, arguing that the current generation has a duty to provide future generations with prospects at least equal to its own. It also examines the objection that the proposed approach allows historical emitters off of the moral hook, showing that the state can adjust environmental taxes to take account of this. Finally, the chapter explores how to amend these taxes so that they are not regressive and that they do not present undue barriers to particularly valuable activities.

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

Simon Caney

This concluding chapter addresses the normative issues raised by the environment. The environment includes the earth's crust, soil, and natural resources; the atmosphere; all the earth's water; and the biosphere. Human activity has a profound impact on the environment. Indeed, many of the activities that humans engage in — activities which often serve important human interests and goals — result in environmental degradation. Persons depend on the environment in many ways: for their food, health, and for many of their goals in life. As such, humans face a problem when people impact on the environment to such an extent that it undercuts people's capacity to enjoy the standard of living to which they are entitled. Thus, a just account of the environment will take into account both the fact that people have legitimate interests which involve using the environment and the fact that there must be limits on people's environmental impacts.

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 studies the rise of global environmental concern, identifying major events and debates as they unfolded. Much human economic activity can be described as primary commodity production or manufacturing. Each of these has a potentially negative impact on the environment. The chapter then looks at the 'environmentalism of the poor', which tends to be based on material survival needs rather than post-material values. It also summarizes two discourses on the causes of sustainability and unsustainability. The Global Environmental Management discourse looks for top-down interventions to come from states or market actors, viewing local populations as the cause of much environmental damage. The People-Centred discourse reverses the analysis, arguing that local populations are often able to achieve long-term sustainability in their communities until outside actors like states and market actors disrupt those relations.

Chapter

1. Making Sense of Earth’s Politics  

A Discourse Approach

This chapter introduces the politics of the Earth, which has featured a large and ever-growing range of concerns, such as pollution, wilderness preservation, population growth, depletion of natural resources, climate change, biodiversity loss, and destabilization of the Earth system. It explains how the issues of Earth’s politics are interlaced with a range of questions about human livelihood, social justice, public attitudes, and proper relation to one other and other entities on the planet. It also discusses the consequences of discourses for politics and policies. The chapter clarifies how environmental issues like ecological limits, nature preservation, climate change, biodiversity, rainforest protection, environmental justice, and pollution are interconnected in all kinds of ways. It develops an environmental discourse analysis approach and shows how this approach will be applied in subsequent chapters, beginning with the positioning of environmental discourses in relation to the long dominant of discourse of industrialism.

Book

This book provides an accessible introduction to environmental politics through a powerful, discourse-centred approach which analyzes how environmental affairs are constructed and interpreted through language. It recounts developments beginning with the arrival of environmental crisis in the late 1960s, which yielded dire warnings about global shortages and ecological collapse. It moves through subsequent decades to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the anti-environmental backlash of denial and “Gray Radicalism”. The book develops an innovative approach to understanding contemporary environmental discourses, covering ecological limits and planetary boundaries, pragmatic problem-solving, sustainability, ecological modernization, and green radicalism, as well as radical anti-environmentalism. It analyzes key developments in environmental affairs alongside many examples that illustrate how discourses shape past and current debates on the environment. It concludes by examining the radical implications of the Anthropocene concept.

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 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 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 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

Jon Barnett and Geoff Dabelko

This chapter examines the concept of environmental security, focusing on how it has both broadened and deepened the issue of security. It first traces the origins of environmental security, showing that it is the product of a merger of international environmental agreements, efforts by the peace movement to contest the meaning and practice of security, the proliferation of new security issues in the post-Cold War era, recognition that environmental changes pose grave risks to human well-being, and the growing community of research practice that seeks to build peace through natural resource management. The chapter goes on to consider the different meanings of environmental security, along with four major categories of environmental security problem: how environmental change can be a factor in violent conflict or a risk to national security, how war and preparation for war can damage the environment, and how environmental change can pose a risk to human security.

Chapter

John Barry and Kerri Woods

This chapter examines the ways that environmental issues affect human rights and the relevance of human rights to environmental campaigns. It also evaluates proposals for extending human rights to cover environmental rights, rights for future generations, and rights for some non-human animals. The chapter begins with a discussion of the relationship between human rights and the environment, along with the notion that all persons have ‘environmental human rights’. It then analyses the impact of the environment on human security and its implications for human rights issues before considering case studies that illustrate how environmental issues directly impact on the human rights of the so-called environmental refugees, who are displaced from lands by the threat of climate change and also by development projects. Finally, the chapter describes the link between human rights and environmental sustainability.

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.

Book

Edited by Tim Allen and Alan Thomas

Poverty & Development in the 21st Century provides an updated, interdisciplinary overview of one of the world's most complex and pressing social problems. The book analyses and assesses key questions faced by practitioners and policy makers, ranging from what potential solutions to world poverty are open to us to what form development should take and whether it is compatible with environmental sustainability. This third edition considers the complex causes of global poverty and inequality, introducing major development issues that include hunger, disease, the threat of authoritarian populism, the refugee crisis, and environmental degradation. Three new chapters illustrate the impact of climate, refugee and health crises on development by drawing on accounts of lived experience to explore the real-world implications of theory.

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

13. Environmental Policy  

Contending Dynamics of Policy Change

Andrea Lenschow

This chapter focuses on the European Union’s environmental policy, the development of which was characterized by institutional deepening and the substantial expansion of environmental issues covered by EU decisions and regulations. Environmental policy presents a host of challenges for policymakers, including the choice of appropriate instruments, improvement of implementation performance, and better policy coordination at all levels of policy-making. The chapter points to the continuing adaptations that have been made in these areas. It first considers the historical evolution of environmental policy in the EU before discussing the main actors in EU environmental policy-making, namely: the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and environmental interest groups. The chapter also looks at the EU as an international actor.

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 assesses the global political economy of the environment. The growth of the world economy is transforming the Earth's environment. Nothing is particularly controversial about this statement. Yet, sharp disagreements arise over the nature of this transformation. Is the globalization of capitalism a force of progress and environmental solutions? Or is it a cause of the current global environmental crisis? The chapter addresses these questions by examining the debates around some of the most contentious issues at the core of economic globalization and the environment: economic growth, production, and consumption; trade; and transnational investment. It begins with a glance at the general arguments about how the global political economy affects the global environment. The chapter then traces the history of global environmentalism — in particular, the emergence of international environmental institutions with the norm of sustainable development. It also evaluates the effectiveness of North–South environmental financing and international environmental regimes.