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Roger Karapin

Germany has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases more than almost any other industrialized democracy and is exceeding its ambitious Kyoto commitment. Hence, it is commonly portrayed as a climate-policy success story, but the situation is actually much more complex. Generalizing Germany's per-capita emissions to all countries or its emissions reductions to all industrialized democracies would still very likely produce more than a two-degree rise in global temperature. Moreover, analyzing the German country-case into eleven subcases shows that it is a mixture of relative successes and failures. This analysis leads to three main conclusions. First, high relative performance and high environmental damage can coexist. Second, we should see national cases in a differentiated way and not only in terms of their aggregate performances. Third, researchers on climate policies should more often begin with outcomes, work backward to policies, and be prepared for some surprises. Ironically, the most effective government interventions may not be explicit climate policies, such as the economic transformation of eastern Germany. Moreover, the lack of policy-making in certain areas may undercut progress made elsewhere, including unregulated increases in car travel, road freight, and electricity consumption. Research on climate and environmental policies should focus on somewhat different areas of government intervention and ask different questions.

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Syed Shahbaz Hussain and Pirzada Sami Ullah Sabri

This article analyzes and explores what policies Pakistan adopted to tackle its environmental challenges, effects and outcomes. The research consists of an overview of Pakistan's national environmental policy development and explains the motives and reasons to understand in what context the state formulates these policies. It also makes assessments and evaluations about to what extent policies are successful in achieving their objectives. The study suggests some implications of the Pakistan experience to cope with the global challenges of environmental protection.

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Neoliberalism and the Biophysical Environment

A Synthesis and Evaluation of the Research

Noel Castree

This article both synthesizes and critically evaluates a now large, multi-disciplinary body of published research that examines the neoliberalization of environmental regulation, management, and governance. Since the late 1970s, neoliberal ideas and ideals have gradually made their way into the domain of environmental policy as part of a wider change in the global political economy. While the volume of empirical research is now such that we can draw some conclusions about this policy shift, the fact that the research has evolved piecemeal across so many different disciplines has made identifying points of similarity and difference in the findings more difficult. After clarifying what neoliberalism is and explaining why the term 'neoliberalization' is preferable, the article analyzes the principal components and enumerates the social and environmental effects of this multifaceted process. By offering a comprehensive and probing survey of the salient literature, I hope not only to codify the existing research but also to guide future critical inquiries into neoliberal environmental policy.

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People, Planet, Power

Toward a New Social Settlement

Anna Coote

This article presents proposals for a new social settlement – a framework for deciding how people live together and what they expect from government, now and for the future. The proposed settlement has three goals: social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power. To achieve these goals we have identified a set of objectives too often ignored in mainstream debates: achieving prosperity without depending on economic growth; shifting investment and action upstream to prevent harm rather than coping with the consequences; strengthening the “core economy” of unpaid work, everyday wisdom, and social connections; and fostering solidarity and an understanding of how individuals depend on each other to achieve shared goals. The article draws on a report from the New Economics Foundation, which focuses on the United Kingdom but offers a framework for developing policy and practice that may be useful in other countries, especially in the developed world.

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Jobst Conrad

The article provides a general overview of social sciences perspectives to analyze and theorize climate research, climate discourse, and climate policy. First, referring to the basic paradigm of sociology, it points out the feasible scope and necessary methodology of environmental sociology as a social science concerning the analysis of physical nature. Second, it illustrates this epistemological conception by few examples, summarizing main results of corresponding climate-related social science investigations dealing with the development dynamics of climate research, the role of scientific (climate impact) assessments in politics, varying features and changes of climate discourses, climate policy formation, and knowledge diffusion from climate science. The receptivity of climate discourse and climate policy to the results of problem-oriented climate research is strongly shaped and limited by its multifarious character as well as by their own (internal) logics. The article shows that social sciences contribute their specific (conceptual) competences to problem-oriented research by addressing climate change and corresponding adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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Felipe Adrián Vázquez Gálvez and Liliana Rivera-Lozano

*Full article in Spanish

English Abstract:

NAAEC acts as an independent platform for the international cooperation between the United States, Mexico and Canada over a wide range of environmental protocols. The CEC was formed as a practical and valuable tool to achieve NAAEC goals. Therefore, the CEC supervises the development of environmental policies and their accurate implementation among the three nations. In addition, the CEC promotes the participation of private citizens in collaboration with their governments to develop diverse strategies for conservation, protection, and improvement of our shared environment. Whether or not it is necessary to maintain regular operations of NAEEC is a subject currently evaluated during the present renegotiations of NAFTA, which provides new opportunities in view of the contemporary political, economic and environmental scene.

Spanish Abstract:

El ACAAN actúa como una plataforma independiente de cooperación internacional entre Estados Unidos, México y Canadá para el desarrollo de protocolos de protección del medio ambiente. La CCA se concibe como una práctica herramienta para la instrumentación de las metas trazadas por el ACAAN. En consecuencia, la CCA se encarga de gestionar, supervisar e implementar diversas estrategias de conservación, protección, y mejoramiento del medio ambiente por medio de la colaboración entre la sociedad civil y el sector gubernamental. En la actualidad, el debate en torno a si la reciente revisión y ratificación del TLCAN requerirá mantener el existente funcionamiento del ACAAN permite el planteamiento de nuevas áreas de oportunidad en vista del actual contexto político, económico y ambiental global.

French Abstract:

L’ANACDE sert de plate-forme indépendante pour la coopération internationale entre les États-Unis, le Mexique et le Canada sur un large éventail de protocoles environnementaux. La CCE a été créée comme outil pratique et utile pour atteindre les objectifs de l’ANACDE. Par conséquent, la CCE supervise l’élaboration des politiques environnementales et leur mise en oeuvre précise parmi les trois pays. En outre, la CCE encourage la participation des citoyens à l’élaboration de stratégies diverses en faveur de la conservation, la protection et l’amélioration de notre environnement commun. La question de savoir s’il est nécessaire ou non de maintenir les opérations régulières de l’ANACDE est actuellement débattue lors des renégociations de l’ALENA, qui ouvre de nouvelles perspectives sur les scènes politique, économique et environnementale contemporaines.

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Paul G. Harris

China is experiencing profound adverse environmental changes, many of them driven—and all exacerbated—by rapid economic growth. Attitudes toward the environment in China are ambiguous. Nevertheless, these attitudes are indicators of how the Chinese view the natural environment and how they are likely to behave toward it and respond to efforts to protect it. They are also important precursors to actions by the Chinese government to address environmental problems that affect the rest of the world. Environmental awareness and attitudes are associated with individuals' educational level, socio-economic status, living environment, and exposure to media. By understanding the Chinese view of the environment and the degree to which they prioritize it (or not) relative to other important issues, Chinese and international policymakers and stakeholders can enhance their capacity to perhaps start shifting these attitudes, values, and behaviors toward those that might do less harm to China's environment and the world's. This article reviews findings on environmental awareness, attitudes, and behaviors, and makes observations on their implications for environmental governance in China. Information is drawn from Chinese survey data, secondary Chinese-language sources, and related tertiary literature.

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Constellations of Mobility and the Politics of Environment

Preliminary Considerations of the Shipbreaking Industry in Bangladesh

Deborah Breen

Although shipbreaking—the taking apart of a ship—signals the end of the useful maritime life of a vessel, the process is also the beginning of the recycling and reuse of the ship's constituent parts and materials. The process, while economically and materially useful, is also fraught with hazard, to both the environment and the laborers who undertake the breaking down of the ship. This essay examines that process in Bangladesh, one of the most significant sites for global shipbreaking. Mobility is a central theme of this examination, as the concept connects numerous aspects of the study: the shipping industry, the impact of shipbreaking on the environment; international maritime policy; and local and international responses to the industry. The essay explores the interactions that arise out of the shipbreaking industry's mobility and material and the subsequent impact on the environment and people of southern Bangladesh.

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Learning from a Contested Project in the Netherlands

The Clash over the Amelisweerd Forest, 1957–1982

Odette van de Riet and Bert Toussaint

The Amelisweerd case, a highly debated highway network expansion project from the late 1970s, has been widely portrayed as a symbolic mismatch between government and entrenched stakeholder opposition. The aim of this article is to learn from the case by unraveling the policy process using a multiactor policy analysis model. The result is that the policy process scores poorly on all the three applied criteria, and this has had a discernible negative effect on the level of stakeholder support for the policy proposals. Since then, major changes have taken place in the planning processes of infrastructural projects in the Netherlands. However, the potential for learning from Amelisweerd is much wider, as since the 1960s public projects are increasingly subject to public scrutiny and comment. Careful analysis from iconic cases like Amelisweerd can help current infrastructural policymakers and planning project managers as they develop fresh policies and projects.

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Ryan Gunderson

Environmental social scientists should analyze ideologies that reproduce ecologically unsustainable societies through the method of ideology critique. Ideology refers to ideas and practices that conceal contradictions through the legitimation and/or reification of the social order. Ideology critique is a method that allows the researcher to unmask systemic contradictions concealed by ideology. While the primary purpose of this project is to revisit and revise conceptual and methodological tools for the environmental social sciences, I provide examples of ideologies that may aid in the reproduction of the “treadmill of production” or the expansionistic production cycle that accelerates resource use and pollution.