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Environment and Urban Studies

Environment and Urban Studies

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Climate change, economists generally agree, is best addressed by putting a price on the carbon content of fossil fuels—by taxing carbon, by cap-and-trade systems, or other methods. But what about the politics of carbon pricing? Do political realities render carbon pricing impracticable? In this book, Barry Rabe offers the first major political science analysis of the feasibility and sustainability of carbon pricing, drawing upon a series of real-world attempts to price carbon over the last two decades in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Over the last fifty years, environmentalism has emerged as a clear counterforce to the environmental destruction caused by industrialization, colonialism, and globalization. Activists and policymakers have fought hard to make the earth a better place to live. But has the environmental movement actually brought about meaningful progress toward global sustainability? Signs of global “unsustainability” are everywhere, from decreasing biodiversity to scarcity of fresh water to steadily rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Biography of an American Technology

The North American power grid has been called the world’s largest machine. The grid connects nearly every living soul on the continent; Americans rely utterly on the miracle of electrification. In this book, Julie Cohn tells the history of the grid, from early linkages in the 1890s through the grid’s maturity as a networked infrastructure in the 1980s.

Why Sustainability Matters

Most people acknowledge the profound importance of sustainability, but few can define it. We are ethically bound to live sustainably for the sake of future generations, but what does that mean? In this book Randall Curren, a philosopher, and Ellen Metzger, a scientist, clarify normative aspects of sustainability. Combining their perspectives, they propose that sustainability can be understood as the art of living well together without diminishing opportunity to live well in the future.

The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data

Key to understanding and addressing climate change is continuous and precise monitoring of environmental conditions. Satellites play an important role in collecting climate data, offering comprehensive global coverage that can’t be matched by in situ observation. And yet, as Mariel Borowitz shows in this book, much satellite data is not freely available but restricted; this remains true despite the data-sharing advocacy of international organizations and a global open data movement.

The Natural Resource Negotiation Playbook

Transboundary natural resource negotiations, often conducted in an atmosphere of entrenched mistrust, confrontation, and deadlock, can go on for decades. In this book, Bruno Verdini outlines an approach by which government, private sector, and nongovernmental stakeholders can overcome grievances, break the status quo, trade across differences, and create mutual gains in high-stakes water, energy, and environmental negotiations. 

America’s aging electricity infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly even as the need for highly reliable electric service—driven by the explosion of digital technology—continues to rise. Largely missing from national discussions, however, is a coherent, comprehensive national strategy for modernizing this critical infrastructure. Energy expert Mason Willrich presents just such a strategy in this book, connecting the dots across electric utilities, independent suppliers, government bureaucracies, political jurisdictions, and academic disciplines.

Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change

Humanity faces two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Both have human origins, and both are linked to the use of nuclear energy. Inherent in the use of atomic fission is the risk that the technology and materials can be diverted to terrorists or hostile nations and used to make nuclear weapons. The key question is whether we can use nuclear energy to reduce the threat of climate change without increasing the risk that nuclear weapons will be used.

Infrastructure Legibility and Governance

Waste is material information. Landfills are detailed records of everyday consumption and behavior; much of what we know about the distant past we know from discarded objects unearthed by archaeologists and interpreted by historians. And yet the systems and infrastructures that process our waste often remain opaque. In this book, Dietmar Offenhuber examines waste from the perspective of information, considering emerging practices and technologies for making waste systems legible and how the resulting datasets and visualizations shape infrastructure governance.

A Critical Introduction

The emergence of the environmental humanities as an academic discipline early in the twenty-first century reflects the growing conviction that environmental problems cannot be solved by science and technology alone. This book offers a concise overview of this new multidisciplinary field, presenting concepts, issues, current research, concrete examples, and case studies.

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