Environmental Politics and Governance in the Anthropocene: Institutions and legitimacy in a complex world, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Environmental Politics and Governance in the Anthropocene

Institutions and legitimacy in a complex world, 1st Edition

Edited by Philipp Pattberg, Fariborz Zelli


268 pages

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The term Anthropocene denotes a new geological epoch characterized by the unprecedented impact of human activities on the Earth’s ecosystems. While the natural sciences have advanced their understanding of the drivers and processes of global change considerably over the last two decades, the social sciences lag behind in addressing the fundamental challenge of governance and politics in the Anthropocene.

This book attempts to close this crucial research gap, in particular with regards to the following three overarching research themes: (i) the meaning, sense-making and contestations emerging around the concept of the Anthropocene related to the social sciences; (ii) the role and relevance of institutions, both formal and informal as well as international and transnational, for governing in the Anthropocene; and (iii) the role and relevance of accountability and other democratic principles for governing in the Anthropocene. Drawing together a range of key thinkers in the field, this volume provides one of the first authoritative assessments of global environmental politics and governance in the Anthropocene, reflecting on how the planetary scale crisis changes the ways in which humans respond to the challenge.

This volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of global environmental politics and governance, and sustainable development.

Table of Contents

1. Global environmental governance in the Anthropocene: An introduction Fariborz Zelli and Philipp Pattberg Part I Making Sense of the Anthropocene 2. The Anthropocene and the body ecologic Marcel Wissenburg 3. The sense of an ending? Nature and the Anthropocene Manuel Arias-Maldonado4. Anthropocene: Delusion, celebration and concern Simon Hailwood 5. A fair distribution within the Anthropocene: A normative conception of sustainable development Simon Meisch PART II Institutions in the Anthropocene 6. Mapping institutional complexity in the Anthropocene: A network approach Oscar Widerberg 7. Transnational governance towards sustainable biofuels: Exploring a polycentric view Christine Moser and Robert Bailis 8. Governing the Artic in the era of the Anthropocene: Does corporate authority matter in Arctic shipping governance? Judith van Leeuwen9. International river governance: Extreme events as a trigger for discursive change in the Rhine river basin Christine Prokopf PART III Accountability and Legitimacy in the Anthropocene 10. Democratic accountability in the Anthropocene: Toward a non-legislative model Walter Baber and Robert Bartlett 11. Monitoring commitments made under the Kyoto Protocol: An effective tool for accountability in the Anthropocene? Martina Kühner 12. The legitimacy and transformation of global climate governance in the Anthropocene: Implications for the global South Marija Isailovic 13. The practices of lobbying for rights in the Anthropocene era: Local communities, indigenous peoples and international climate negotiations Linda Wallbott 14. Conclusions: Complexity, responsibility and urgency in the Anthropocene Fariborz Zelli and Philipp Pattberg


About the Editors

Philipp Pattberg is Professor of Transnational Environmental Governance at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Fariborz Zelli is an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Global Environmental Governance

Global environmental governance has been a prime concern of policy-makers since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972. Yet, despite more than 900 multi-lateral environmental treaties coming into force over the past 40 years and numerous public-private and private initiatives to mitigate global change, human-induced environmental degradation is reaching alarming levels. Scientists see compelling evidence that the entire earth system now operates well outside safe boundaries and at rates that accelerate. According to a recent scientific assessment organized by the international Earth System Governance Project (ESGP), human societies must change course and steer away from critical tipping points that might lead to rapid and irreversible change, while ensuring sustainable livelihoods for all. The urgent challenge from a social science perspective is how to organize the co-evolution of societies and their surrounding environment, in other words, how to develop effective and equitable governance solutions for today’s global problems.

Against this background, the Routledge Research in Global Environmental Governance series delivers cutting-edge research on the most vibrant and relevant themes within the academic field of global environmental governance. In more detail, the areas of interest of global environmental governance research constitute:

The overall institutional and organizational structure of Global Environmental Governance

  • The core actors, their interests and motives
  • New governance instruments and approaches, including public-private partnerships; market-based governance
  • Questions of governance effectiveness, democratic legitimacy, accountability and transparency in/of Global Environmental Governance
  • Normative underpinnings and implications of Global Environmental Governance, including considerations of equity, access, fairness and justice
  • Adapting the overall global governance landscape to new challenges, including ecological and social tipping points
  • Methodological questions on how to better integrate governance research and the more quantitative modelling and scenario communities

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy