Global Ecopolitics: Crisis, Governance, and Justice, Second Edition

Global Ecopolitics: Crisis, Governance, and Justice, Second Edition

by Peter Stoett, Shane Mulligan

NOOK Book2nd Edition (eBook - 2nd Edition)

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Despite sporadic news coverage of extreme weather events, high-level climate change diplomacy, special UN days of celebration, and popular media references to impending ecological collapse, most students are not exposed to the detailed presentation and analysis of the international relations and diplomacy of environmental policy-making.

Comprehensive and accessibly written for first-year or second-year undergraduates, the second edition of Global Ecopolitics provides students with a panoramic view of the policymakers and the structuring bodies involved in the creation of environmental policies. Detailing a considerable amount of environmental activity since its initial 2012 publication, this up-to-date second edition uses an applicable framework of systemic analysis and important case studies that push students to form their own conclusions about past efforts, present needs, and future directions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487587918
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
Publication date: 04/08/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 763 KB

About the Author

Peter J. Stoett is Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute Of Technology.

Shane Mulligan is an environmental consultant and policy researcher based in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario.

Read an Excerpt

Preface to the Second Edition

Forty-five years after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, 25 years after the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, 15 years after the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and 5 years after the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly known as Rio+20, it is high time to take stock of the evolution of global ecopolitics.

The idea of writing a short, concise treatment of global environmental governance was first broached by the University of Toronto Press, which was looking into a longer term project involving a series of short texts. Faithfully, I began working with the intention of creating just such a brief text. But I soon abandoned this idea as I realized that there was simply too much to say about too many complex issue-areas. I did strive to keep this text as short as humanly possible, however, and have presented but a fraction of the material, including historical analysis and policy option debates, that a reader should have access to if he or she wants a sound education in global ecopolitics. I enthusiastically refer the reader, therefore, to competing texts (Bodansky, 2010; Clapp & Dauvergne, 2008; DeSombre, 2006; Pirages & DeGeest, 2004), as well as to the Earth System Governance Project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (Biermann et al., 2009), though I also hope this book will serve to both enlighten and encourage further reading, reflection, action, and resolve on our collective environmental dilemmas.

I focus on several themes in this book, and one of them is that of anxious uncertainty, which seems to animate much of the public discussion on planetary futures today; and the theme of justice looms large because a humane and fair response to the anxiety that accompanies crisis is what defines the best of the human spirit. Fears of cataclysmic events—ones related both to climate change and to more “natural” disasters—are certainly ripe and have been exacerbated by recent political events. They may almost be compared to the fear of nuclear annihilation that marked the Cold War period (a fear I recall quite clearly as a young scholar of international relations at that time). But I would suggest we suffer our primary angst because of the gnawing knowledge that we are slowly, by a billion cuts, diminishing the future opportunities of the next generation. We realize that some of the more pressing environmental problems, on a local and global scale, are literally out of control. We realize that the incessant belief in unrestricted economic growth is as passé as the blind faith in technology that once reassured the mildly concerned. It is commonly understood that species are nearing extinction or reaching it on a daily basis; that air, water, and soil pollution is increasing dramatically in some regions; and that the oceans are in ecological turmoil. Yet there is little corresponding sense of a collective plan to escape these predicaments, and key political actors seem at best to offer contradictory evidence that they care.

To be clear, this book does not provide this plan. But it does suggest that we are working toward one, that we can succeed, and that we must succeed. The sheer volume of work being done by diplomats, scientists, activists, bureaucrats, and others is, in itself, a sign of hope: never before has so much activity been concentrated on efforts to solve the pressing problems of environmental decay and ecological injury. Contrary to popular opinion, there is much being done at both the international and local levels, even though ameliorative actions may be uneven and often uncoordinated. I covered only a fraction of this work in the first edition of this book, and cannot hope to cover but a small parcel of what has been added since. Perhaps most remarkably, the ambitious 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals have emerged as both a rubric for international guidance and a constant exhortation to move ahead in a progressive fashion. Though I suggest it is vital to use a critical eye when viewing global ecopolitics, I do not ascribe to the notion that we are helplessly watching the advent of a disaster. We can take positive steps, rooted in a nuanced understanding of green politics and international relations, to make things better.

We need to overcome relentless uncertainty and helplessness with firm, educated resolve. Given the foundational efforts at global governance described in this book, there is even cause for restrained optimism. I loosely use a parsimonious framework to analyze the collective governance that has emerged from global ecopolitics, observing legal and historical depth, environmental impact, cognitive evolution, and democratic legitimacy. In most of the cases I examine, there has been some measure of success in all of these categories. Of course, this does not diminish the reality of the ecological crisis we face, or diminish the size of the challenges ahead. But we can move on from here, even if we are also aware that there will always be drawbacks and limitations given the gloriously competitive but all too often unfair structure of the world economy. This book is intended as an analytic introduction to the dazzling promises, as well as the inherent weaknesses, of the international institutions and arrangements that color the fascinating landscape of global ecopolitics. But, above all, I hope it encourages readers to seek more knowledge—and take personal steps toward a greener lifestyle and a more humane world.

Table of Contents

List of Acronyms 
Preface to the Second Edition  

1. Planetary Anxiety and Collective Dilemmas 
Sovereignty, Global Governance, and Public Goods 
Shades of Green 
The Crosscutting Dilemma: Our Growing Numbers 
War, Conflict, and Ecology 
Delving Deeper into Global Ecopolitics 

2. International Arrangements: Actors and Effectiveness 
Multi-Scaled Adaptive Governance 
Individuals and Communities 
Governments and Governance 
International Law and Institutions 
Wicked Problems: Measuring Effectiveness in International Arrangements 

3. Conserving Biodiversity and Wildlife 
Rising Concerns: The Historical Context 
The Convention on Biological Diversity 
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna 
Redefining the Wealth of Nations 

4. Deforestation and Land Degradation 
The International Tropical Timber Agreement 
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification 
Taking Root 

5. Air Pollution and Climate Change 
Atmospheric Pollution 
The Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) 
The Ozone Layer Arrangement 
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change  
Deep Breaths 

6. Blue Peril: Oceans and Rivers 
The Poles 
The Oceans Crises 
Freshwater Scarcity 
The Veins of Life: Shared River Arrangements
Surviving the Tides 

7. Trade and the Global Environment
Toxic Trade 
The Basel Convention on Trade in Hazardous Substances 
The WTO and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) 
Toward Ethical Investments 

8. Governance Gaps and Green Goals 
Invasive Alien Species  
Global Tourism 
Food Security 
A Global Energy Strategy? 
Our Plastic World  
Conclusion: Fatigue or Momentum? 

9. Concluding Thoughts toward a Humane Global Ecopolitics   
Moving From Angst to Resolve 
Afterword: What Can You Do? 

What People are Saying About This

Karen Litfin

"In the face of ecological destruction and political polarization, students are dubious: can green diplomacy really work? Telling the stories for pressing issues like biodiversity, climate change, deforestation, and toxic waste trade, the second edition of Global Ecopolitics provides a nuanced answer. By parsing 'effectiveness' into its institutional, environmental, cognitive, and social justice dimensions, this clear and concise book offers tools for students to decide for themselves—and, therefore, approach the world with a greater sense of grounded optimism."

Maria Ivanova

"Global Ecopolitics offers a compelling exposé of the environmental challenges of our time, including known and persistent problems such as air and ocean pollution, climate change, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity, as well as new complex concerns such as invasive alien species, food security, nanotechnology, and energy production. It argues convincingly that effective, permanent, and consensual solutions must be rooted in adaptive governance and effective institutions at all levels and is a must-read for students and policymakers alike."

Radoslav S. Dimitrov

"This is perhaps the most inspiring book on environmental politics of the last decade. Comprehensive in thematic scope, sophisticated in analysis, and interlaced with distinctly poetic personal reflections, it will captivate students' hearts and intellects."

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