Consensus and Global Environmental Governance

From Earth System Governance

Consensus and Global Environmental Governance

Deliberative Democracy in Nature's Regime

By Walter F. Baber and Robert V. Bartlett

An examination of the potential and limitations of deliberative consensus as a way to achieve effective international environmental governance.





An examination of the potential and limitations of deliberative consensus as a way to achieve effective international environmental governance.

In this book, Walter Baber and Robert Bartlett explore the practical and conceptual implications of a new approach to international environmental governance. Their proposed approach, juristic democracy, emphasizes the role of the citizen rather than the nation-state as the source of legitimacy in international environmental law; it is rooted in local knowledge and grounded in democratic deliberation and consensus. The aim is to construct a global jurisprudence based on collective will formation. Building on concepts presented in their previous book, the award-winning Global Democracy and Sustainable Jurisprudence, Baber and Bartlett examine in detail the challenges that consensus poses for a system of juristic democracy.

Baber and Bartlett analyze the implications of deliberative consensus for rule-bounded behavior, for the accomplishment of basic governance tasks, and for diversity in a politically divided and culturally plural world. They assess social science findings about the potential of small-group citizen panels to contribute to rationalized consensus, drawing on the extensive research conducted on the use of juries in courts of law. Finally, they analyze the place of juristic democracy in a future “consensually federal” system for earth system governance.


$53.00 X ISBN: 9780262028738 272 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 map


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262527224 272 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 map


  • This important book helps us make better sense of governance in general and global environmental governance in particular. Crisscrossing between political science and law, the authors develop an innovative perspective on governance, which they aptly call juristic democracy. This perspective greatly adds to our understandings about how governance works and ought to work because it links processes of deliberation to the diverse backgrounds in which actors are embedded.

    Markus Kornprobst

    Chair of International Relations, Vienna School of International Studies; author of Irredentism in European Politics and coauthor of Understanding International Diplomacy

  • A very valuable resource for policymakers and required reading for scholars and students interested in global environmental governance. With its balanced mix of theory and empirical evidence, the book instills hope in the possibility of integrating place-based research with policymaking at the global level through deliberative democratic approaches.

    Maria Grazia Quieti

    Dean of Graduate Studies, The American University of Rome

  • Baber and Bartlett make a fascinating case that humans are not so irretrievably culturally and morally diverse that global groups could not, through the presentation of facts and extended discussion, come fairly consistently to agreement about what is and is not fair regarding the resolution of environmental policy dilemmas. This superb book is well written, comprehensive, and theory-rich.

    Robert C. Paehlke

    Professor Emeritus, Environmental and Resource Studies Program, Trent University, Canada