The Global Environment in the Twenty-First Century: Prospects for International Cooperation

The Global Environment in the Twenty-First Century: Prospects for International Cooperation

The Global Environment in the Twenty-First Century: Prospects for International Cooperation

The Global Environment in the Twenty-First Century: Prospects for International Cooperation

Synopsis

This volume examines the roles of different actors in the formulation of international and national environmental policy. It starts from the premise that while cooperation among nation states has proven to be necessary to address many transboundary environmental issues, virtually all policies must be implemented at the national or local level. The growing interaction between national and international actors and levels of governance is an increasingly important aspect of international environmental policy. The authors examine the roles of state and non-state actors in safeguarding the environment and advancing sustainable development into the twenty-first century. Each of the five sections focuses on a different actor: states, civil society, market forces, regional arrangements and international organizations. By examining the functions and capabilities of each of these actors, the authors analyse their effectiveness and their relationship with other actors both within and outside of the UN system, providing a useful framework for understanding the multi-actor, multi-issue nature of international environmental policy.

Excerpt

After much anticipation and many cliches about the “dawn of a new millennium,” the twenty-first century is here. But after the celebrations are over and the anticipation is but a mere memory, what kind of world will we be living in? The earth's physical and biological systems are facing an unprecedented strain. The human population reached 6 billion in 1999 and is still growing. The major components of the biosphere, including the atmosphere, the oceans, soil cover, the climate system, and the range of animal and plant species, have all been altered by the intensity of human exploitation of the earth's resources in the twentieth century. The by-products of economic growth – the burning of fossil fuels; the release of ozone-destroying chemicals; emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxides; the production of toxic chemicals and other wastes and their introduction into the air, water, and soil; and the elimination of forest cover, among others – cause cumulative stresses on the physical environment that threaten human health and economic well-being.

At the same time, we are in a period of transition between two centuries. We are leaving a century shaped largely by world wars and ensuing cold wars and entering a new one shaped principally by ecological limits, redistributive politics, and the global reach of technology. While the future is certainly not going to be devoid of military threats, which may be compounded by the spread of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, it may be the conflict with the natural environment that will erupt on a world-war scale. And, as in the case of military conflict, it is . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.