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Environmental Politics & Policy

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The idea of the interconnectedness of nature is at the heart of environmental science. By contrast, American policy making and governance are characterized by fragmentation. Separation of powers, divergent ideologies, and geographical separation all work against a unified environmental policy. Nowhere does this mismatch between problem and solution pose a greater challenge than in climate change policy, which has implications for energy use, air quality, and such related areas as agriculture and land use.

The notion of global governance is widely studied in academia and increasingly relevant to politics and policy making. Yet many of its fundamental elements remain unclear in both theory and practice. This book offers a fresh perspective by analyzing global governance in terms of three major trends, as exemplified by developments in global sustainability governance: the emergence of nonstate actors; new mechanisms of transnational cooperation; and increasingly segmented and overlapping layers of authority.

Global public goods (GPGs)--the economic term for a broad range of goods and services that benefit everyone, including stable climate, public health, and economic security--pose notable governance challenges. At the national level, public goods are often provided by government, but at the global level there is no established state-like entity to take charge of their provision. The complex nature of many GPGs poses additional problems of coordination, knowledge generation and the formation of citizen preferences.

Theory, Practice, and Prospects

How do different societies respond politically to environmental problems around the globe? Answering this question requires systematic, cross-national comparisons of political institutions, regulatory styles, and state-society relations. The field of comparative environmental politics approaches this task by bringing the theoretical tools of comparative politics to bear on the substantive concerns of environmental policy. This book outlines a comparative environmental politics framework and applies it to concrete, real-world problems of politics and environmental management.

A Supply-Side Approach to Global Warming

The Earth is getting warmer. Yet, as Hans-Werner Sinn points out in this provocative book, the dominant policy approach--which aims to curb consumption of fossil energy--has been ineffective. Despite policy makers’ efforts to promote alternative energy, impose emission controls on cars, and enforce tough energy-efficiency standards for buildings, the relentlessly rising curve of CO2 output does not show the slightest downward turn.

America is addicted to fossil fuels, and the environmental and geopolitical costs are mounting. A public-private program-- at an expanded scale-- to stimulate innovation in energy policy seems essential. In Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution, Charles Weiss and William Bonvillian make the case for just such a program. Their proposal backs measures to stimulate private investment in new technology, within a revamped energy innovation system.

Authority, Expertise, and Power in Mexican Forests

Greater knowledge and transparency are often promoted as the keys to solving a wide array of governance problems. In Instituting Nature, Andrew Mathews describes Mexico’s efforts over the past hundred years to manage its forests through forestry science and biodiversity conservation. He shows that transparent knowledge was produced not by official declarations or scientists’ expertise but by encounters between the relatively weak forestry bureaucracy and the indigenous people who manage and own the pine forests of Mexico.

The Dynamics of Science, Policy, and Citizen Interaction

Governing the Air looks at the regulation of air pollution not as a static procedure of enactment and agreement but as a dynamic process that reflects the shifting interrelationships of science, policy, and citizens. Taking transboundary air pollution in Europe as its empirical focus, the book not only assesses the particular regulation strategies that have evolved to govern European air, but also offers theoretical insights into dynamics of social order, political negotiation, and scientific practices.

Expert Cultures in a Grassroots Movement

Over the course of nearly thirty years, the environmental justice movement has changed the politics of environmental activism and influenced environmental policy. In the process, it has turned the attention of environmental activists and regulatory agencies to issues of pollution, toxics, and human health as they affect ordinary people, especially people of color. This book argues that the environmental justice movement has also begun to transform science and engineering.

Nature, Technology, and the Sustainable City

When rain falls on the city, it creates urban runoff that cause flooding, erosion, and water pollution. Municipal engineers manage a complex network of technical and natural systems to treat and remove these temporary water flows from cities as quickly as possible. Urban runoff is frequently discussed in terms of technical expertise and environmental management, but it encompasses a multitude of such nontechnical issues as land use, quality of life, governance, aesthetics, and community identity, and is central to the larger debates on creating more sustainable and livable cities.

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