Transparency in Global Environmental Governance
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The MIT Press
Series: Earth System Governance
Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright
Frank Biermann, Oran R. Young
Humans now influence all biological and physical systems of the planet. Almost no species, no land area, and no part of the oceans have remained unaffected by the expansion of the human species. Recent scientific findings suggest that the entire earth system now operates outside the normal state exhibited over the past 500,000 years. Yet at the same time, it is apparent...
As this book goes to press in late 2013, Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency “whistleblower,” is suspended in limbo in Russia, unable to make his way out; and the geopolitics of surveillance versus transparency (and its consequences for diplomacy, human rights, national sovereignty, and global security) is front-page news everywhere. Debates...
Part I. Transparency in Broader Context
1. A Transparency Turn in Global Environmental Governance
Aarti Gupta, Michael Mason
A century after Justice Louis Brandeis uttered these prescient words, we live, seemingly, in an era of transparency. Transparency is equated most often with openness and reduced secrecy, garnered through greater availability and increased flows of information (Florini 1998; see also Fenster 2010). Whether to enhance global security, secure human rights, discipline...
2. The Lost Innocence of Transparency in Environmental Politics
Arthur P. J. Mol
Transparency is high on the public, political, and research agendas in national and global environmental politics and governance. Roughly defined as the disclosure of information, transparency is particularly prominent in the field of environment, although it is by no means limited to this field. The origins can be located in earlier right-to-know movements...
3. The National Context for Transparency-Based Global Environmental Governance
Ann Florini, Bharath Jairaj
As is true for all of global governance, the rules of global environmental governance may be negotiated transnationally, but in a world of sovereign states they are implemented nationally. Even rules arrived at by transnational private sector self-regulation will play out in national contexts that vary wildly in the degree to which they are hospitable to transparency. In...
Part II. State-Led Multilaterally Negotiated Transparency
4. So Far but No Further? Transparency and Disclosure in the Aarhus Convention
Insofar as the transparency turn in global environmental politics includes multilateral agreements, one treaty stands out as seminal—the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (henceforth Aarhus Convention 1998).1 The Aarhus Convention, negotiated under the auspices...
5. Global Pesticide Governance by Disclosure: Prior Informed Consent and the Rotterdam Convention
Kees Jansen, Milou Dubois
Accounts of human suffering and environmental contamination in developing countries because of pesticide use often propose closing the knowledge gap between industrialized (pesticide-exporting) countries and developing (pesticide-importing) countries as a solution (Hough 1998). In such narratives, improved provision of information on pesticide risks and...
6. Risk Governance through Transparency: Information Disclosure and the Global Trade in Transgenic Crops
Transparency is often linked to a democratizing impulse in governance. Yet whether this relationship holds in practice is uncertain and understudied. Transparency is widely assumed to empower those at its receiving end by enabling recipients of information to hold the powerful to account and/or by facilitating informed choices or effective participation in...
7. Transparency in the Governance of Access and Benefit Sharing from Genetic Resources
Amandine Orsini, Sebastian Oberthür, Justyna Pożarowska
Transparency is a central element in the international governance of genetic resources (GR) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). GR is material coming from plants, animals, or microorganisms that can be used for commercial applications, among others. Before being commercialized, genetic resources are often transformed by means of...
8. Making REDD+ Transparent: The Politics of Measuring, Reporting, and Verification Systems
Aarti Gupta, Marjanneke J. Vijge, Esther Turnhout, Till Pistorius
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) is currently one of the most debated climate mitigation options within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. REDD is intended to be a performance-based financing mechanism, whereby industrialized countries...
Part III. Public-Private and Private Transparency
9. The Political Economy of Governance by Disclosure: Carbon Disclosure and Nonfinancial Reporting as Contested Fields of Governance
Janelle Knox-Hayes, David Levy
In this chapter, we analyze corporate disclosure as a mechanism of governance, with a focus on two reporting initiatives, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The CDP is a nonprofit UK-based organization that encourages companies to disclose information about their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate-related...
10. Tamed Transparency and the Global Reporting Initiative: The Role of Information Infrastructures
Klaus Dingwerth, Margot Eichinger
The politics of information disclosure are often associated with high hopes.1 Disclosed information is expected to improve environmental performance, “thicken” democracy, and/or empower a broad range of stakeholders vis-à-vis corporations (for an overview, see Gupta and Mason, this book, chapter 1; Mol, this book, chapter 2). In this article, we...
11. Transparency in Energy Governance: The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Publish What You Pay Campaign
James Van Alstine
This chapter explores the challenges, opportunities, and outcomes of transparency-based energy governance through analyzing the multistakeholder Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign. The chapter begins with a discussion of how transparency has evolved into a powerful international norm within...
12. Learning through Disclosure: The Evolving Importance of Transparency in the Practice of Nonstate Certification
Graeme Auld, Lars H. Gulbrandsen
Certification programs—organized and coordinated by nonstate actors to address social and environmental challenges in numerous economic sectors—exemplify efforts to govern by disclosure.1 Some hope certification will be a tool for NGOs, investors, governments, and consumers to, via labeled products, identify and support high performers and, hence, place...
13. Transparency and Environmental Equity: The International Finance Corporation’s Disclosure Practices
Timothy Ehresman, Dimitris Stevis
Although a number of scholars postulate a connection between transparency and environmental justice, including several in this book, that relationship requires much more attention and empirical research. In this chapter, we explore whether transparency can be an effective strategy toward more equitable environmental governance and, specifically, a more...
14. Transparency Revisited
Michael Mason, Aarti Gupta
This book has sought to understand the rise and effects of a “transparency turn” in global environmental governance. Across a range of environmental issue areas, a call for transparency informs actor expectations and institutional rules, expressed in practice by diverse governance forms. The preceding chapters featured a variety of cases of environmental governance...
Graeme Auld is an associate professor at the School of Public Policy and
Administration, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Klaus Dingwerth is an assistant professor in political theory of global governance at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and a professor at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIs) at University...