Judith A. Layzer

Judith A. Layzer is Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She is the author of Natural Experiments: Ecosystem-Based Management and the Environment (MIT Press) and The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy.

  • Open for Business

    Open for Business

    Conservatives' Opposition to Environmental Regulation

    Judith A. Layzer

    A detailed analysis of the policy effects of conservatives' decades-long effort to dismantle the federal regulatory framework for environmental protection.

    Since the 1970s, conservative activists have invoked free markets and distrust of the federal government as part of a concerted effort to roll back environmental regulations. They have promoted a powerful antiregulatory storyline to counter environmentalists' scenario of a fragile earth in need of protection, mobilized grassroots opposition, and mounted creative legal challenges to environmental laws. But what has been the impact of all this activity on policy? In this book, Judith Layzer offers a detailed and systematic analysis of conservatives' prolonged campaign to dismantle the federal regulatory framework for environmental protection.

    Examining conservatives' influence from the Nixon era to the Obama administration, Layzer describes a set of increasingly sophisticated tactics—including the depiction of environmentalists as extremist elitists, a growing reliance on right-wing think tanks and media outlets, the cultivation of sympathetic litigators and judges, and the use of environmentally friendly language to describe potentially harmful activities. She argues that although conservatives have failed to repeal or revamp any of the nation's environmental statutes, they have influenced the implementation of those laws in ways that increase the risks we face, prevented or delayed action on newly recognized problems, and altered the way Americans think about environmental problems and their solutions. Layzer's analysis sheds light not only on the politics of environmental protection but also, more generally, on the interaction between ideas and institutions in the development of policy.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00
  • Natural Experiments

    Natural Experiments

    Ecosystem-Based Management and the Environment

    Judith A. Layzer

    This systematic assessment of seven prominent initiatives is the first to evaluate the effectiveness of ecosystem-based management at protecting the environment.

    Scholars, scientists, and policymakers have hailed ecosystem-based management (EBM) as a remedy for the perceived shortcomings of the centralized, top-down, expert-driven environmental regulatory framework established in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. EBM entails collaborative, landscape-scale planning and flexible, adaptive implementation. But although scholars have analyzed aspects of EBM for more than a decade, until now there has been no systematic empirical study of the overall approach. In Natural Experiments, Judith Layzer provides a detailed assessment of whether EBM delivers in practice the environmental benefits it promises in theory. She does this by examining four nationally known EBM initiatives (the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Program in Austin, Texas, the San Diego Multiple Species Program, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and the California Bay-Delta Program) and three comparison cases that used more conventional regulatory approaches (Arizona's Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and efforts to restore Florida's Kissimmee River and California's Mono Basin). Layzer concludes that projects that set goals based on stakeholder collaboration, rather than through conventional politics, are less likely to result in environmental improvement, largely because the pursuit of consensus drives planners to avoid controversy and minimize short-term costs. Layzer's resolutely practical focus cuts through the ideological and theoretical arguments for and against EBM to identify strategies that hold genuine promise for restoring the ecological resilience of our landscapes.

    • Hardcover $15.75 £12.99
    • Paperback $35.00 £28.00

Contributor

  • Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy

    Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy

    James Meadowcroft and Daniel J. Fiorino

    Concepts and their role in the evolution of modern environmental policy, with case studies of eleven influential concepts ranging from “environment” to “sustainable consumption.”

    Concepts are thought categories through which we apprehend the world; they enable, but also constrain, reasoning and debate and serve as building blocks for more elaborate arguments. This book traces the links between conceptual innovation in the environmental sphere and the evolution of environmental policy and discourse. It offers both a broad framework for examining the emergence, evolution, and effects of policy concepts and a detailed analysis of eleven influential environmental concepts.

    In recent decades, conceptual evolution has been particularly notable in environmental governance, as new problems have emerged and as environmental issues have increasingly intersected with other areas. “Biodiversity,” for example, was unheard of until the late 1980s; “negative carbon emissions” only came into being over the last few years. After a review of concepts and their use in environmental argument, chapters chart the trajectories of a range of environmental concepts: environment, sustainable development, biodiversity, environmental assessment, critical loads, adaptive management, green economy, environmental risk, environmental security, environmental justice, and sustainable consumption. The book provides a valuable resource for scholars and policy makers and also offers a novel introduction to the environmental policy field through the evolution of its conceptual categories.

    Contributors Richard N. L. Andrews, Karin Bäckstrand, Karen Baehler, Daniel J. Fiorino, Yrjö Haila, Michael E. Kraft, Oluf Langhelle, Judith A. Layzer, James Meadowcroft, Alexis Schulman, Johannes Stripple, Philip J. Vergragt

    • Hardcover $90.00 £75.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00
  • What We Know About Climate Change

    What We Know About Climate Change

    Kerry Emanuel

    An introduction to the scientific consensus on the human role in global warming.

    The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity has significantly increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—most dramatically since the 1970s. In February 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human-produced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are chiefly to blame, to a certainty of more than 90 percent. Yet global warming skeptics and ill-informed elected officials continue to dismiss this broad scientific consensus. In What We Know About Climate Change, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel outlines the basic science of global warming and how the current consensus has emerged. Although it is impossible to predict exactly when the most dramatic effects of global warming will be felt, he argues, we can be confident that we face real dangers. Emanuel, whose work was widely cited in media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, warns that global warming will contribute to an increase in the intensity and power of hurricanes and flooding and more rapidly advancing deserts. But just as our actions have created the looming crisis, so too might they avert it. Emanuel calls for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gases and criticizes the media for playing down the dangers of global warming (and, in search of “balance,” quoting extremists who deny its existence). An afterword by environmental policy experts Judith Layzer and William Moomaw discusses how the United States could lead the way in the policy changes required to deal with global warming.

    • Hardcover $14.95 £11.99