This book is one in a series of volumes from the Project on Environmental Change and Foreign Policy, which I began in 1998 at London Metropolitan University (formerly London Guildhall University). For more than two years the project and I have been based at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.
The goals of the project are to better understand the role of foreign policy, broadly defined, in efforts to preserve the environment and natural resources. More specifically, the project seeks to understand foreign policy processes in international efforts to address adverse environmental changes at the local, regional and global levels; to analyze the actors and institutions - both domestic and international, governmental and nongovernmental - that constrain and shape actions on environmental issues; to show how environmental changes influence foreign policy processes; and to critically assess environmental foreign policies. Other objectives of the project are to test the waters of research in this field; to showcase research that has not been forced into traditional empirical, epistemological or ontological boxes (in the expectation that by so doing new areas and issues will be illuminated); to give insight to governmental and nongovernmental practitioners and activists, which can help improve their understanding of environmental issues in foreign policy; to disseminate these ideas so that they might have some positive effect on policy making and scholarship; and to enlighten students and laypersons interested in environmental protection, sustainable development, international affairs and foreign policy.
The first phase of the project examined the environmental foreign policy of the United States. Three books resulted from that phase: Climate Change and American Foreign Policy (St Martin’s Press 2000), The Environment, International Relations, and U.S. Foreign Policy (Georgetown University Press 2001), and International Equity and Global Environmental Politics: Power and Principles in US Foreign Policy (Ashgate 2001). The second phase of the project, of which this book is a part, has been dedicated to environmental change and foreign policy in East Asia. Two other books emanated from this phase: International Environmental Cooperation: Politics and Diplomacy in Pacific Asia (University Press of Colorado 2002) and Confronting Environmental Change in East Asia: International Politics, Foreign Policy, and Sustainable Development (Earthscan forthcoming 2003).