Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables and Figures

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pp. ix-x

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Series Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

Environmental policy researchers have made significant progress in theorizing about and understanding the evolution of environmental concerns as well as the expanded role of government in addressing critical environmental problems, such as air and water pollution, toxic waste management, and climate change. Studies centering on political conflicts, the policy process, the choice and design of policy instruments, environmental movements, and business lobbying have demonstrated the importance of how conceptualizing environmental issues in certain ways can influence the...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

The authors are indebted to many people and institutions for supporting us in writing this book.

Core funding for research and collaboration was provided by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Thanks go also to the Canada Research Chairs program, which supported James Meadowcroft’s research activities. We acknowledge the William K. Reilly Fund for Environmental Governance and Leadership and the School of Public Affairs at American University for providing financial support for the workshop in Washington, DC. And the Program Advisory Board of the...

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1 Conceptual Innovation and Environmental Policy

James Meadowcroft and Daniel J. Fiorino

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pp. 1-20

This book is concerned with conceptual innovation and the development of environmental policy. It explores the evolution of the categories we use to think and argue about the environment, and their relationship to change in the practices of contemporary governance.

Over the past two decades, scholars have made considerable advances in understanding the evolution of modern environmental concerns and the expanded role of government in addressing environmental problems (Cohen 2006; Eisner 2007; VanNijnatten and Boardman 2009; Vig and...

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2 The Conceptual Repertoire of Environmental Policy

James Meadowcroft and Daniel J. Fiorino

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pp. 21-52

This chapter offers an overview of concepts employed in the environmental policy domain and reflects on the evolution of this conceptual repertoire. Its purpose is to provide a broad-brush portrait of the development of the conceptual field to complement the more focused and detailed examination of individual concepts presented in the chapters that follow. We use the expression conceptual field to denote the set of interconnected concepts that help establish the character of the environmental policy domain at a given point in time. The image of a field captures the idea of a plenitude...

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3 The Birth of the Environment and the Evolution of Environmental Governance

James Meadowcroft

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pp. 53-76

Today the notion of the environment is so ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine a world without it. Yet sixty years ago, the environment had not yet emerged as an explicit focus for political argument or policy design. It is not just that many of the issues that we would today class as environmental—such as acid deposition, the eutrophication of lakes and estuaries, the impact of ozone-depleting chemicals, the release of endocrine disruptors, or the risks of climate change—had yet to make it onto national political agendas, or that the specialized institutions of modern environmental governance...

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4 Environmental Impact Assessment: Can Procedural Innovation Improve Environmental Outcomes?

Richard N. L. Andrews

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pp. 77-102

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a procedure used to anticipate and document in advance the environmental impacts, effects, and consequences of proposed actions by governments as well as by many major international institutions, banks, insurers, and other businesses. It has been widely adopted, and ideally it is used to choose an alternative that is environmentally preferable, prevent or mitigate adverse effects, or at least anticipate potential risks and controversies. It also provides public access to far more information about proposed actions and their impacts than was...

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5 Environmental Risk: New Approaches Needed to Address Twenty-First Century Challenges

Michael E. Kraft

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pp. 103-128

The concept of environmental risk is pervasive in contemporary environmental policy. There are legions of experts, within and outside government, who conduct, communicate, interpret, and debate studies designed to influence decisions on the myriad environmental risks faced today, from the health effects of air pollution to the impacts of climate change. This chapter focuses on the key conceptual innovations that lie behind these ideas about environmental risk, the practical implications of using environmental risk assessment and risk evaluation in governmental decision...

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6 Critical Loads: Negotiating What Nature Can Withstand

Karin Bäckstrand

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pp. 129-154

This chapter analyzes the concept of critical loads, which represents a science-based approach to grounding policy on notions of nature’s carrying capacity or ecosystem tolerance limits. The idea of nature’s toleration limits has found concrete expression in the concept of critical loads, which can be formulated as the maximum amount of pollutants that an ecosystem can tolerate without being changed or damaged in the long term. The critical loads concept reflects efforts to base environmental policy on scientifically determined critical thresholds for ecosystems, encapsulating the idea that...

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7 Adaptive Management: Popular but Difficult to Implement

Judith A. Layzer and Alexis Schulman

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pp. 155-180

Popularized by scientists in the 1970s, adaptive management is an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to managing landscapes and natural resources. It has been recommended for use in managing water resources, national parks, endangered species and their habitats, wildlife, and even agriculture (Klerkx et al. 2010; Parkes et al. 2006; Rogers 2003). The central goal of adaptive management is to improve natural resource management by learning how ecosystems respond to human intervention, and then adjusting actions in response to that learning....

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8 Sustainable Development: Linking Environment and Development

Oluf Langhelle

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pp. 181-206

Sustainable development is both a simple and notoriously complex concept that has become part of the standard vocabulary of governments, international organizations, business organizations, local and regional authorities, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It has also permeated all academic disciplines—be it political science, sociology, economics, architecture, business studies, and more. It is a highly disputed and contested concept, too, detested by some and celebrated by others. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) crafted the...

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9 Biodiversity: Increasing the Political Clout of Nature Conservation

Yrjö Haila

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pp. 207-232

Biodiversity is a new term—a neologism—launched at a conference held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, in September 1986; the conference was titled the National Forum on BioDiversity. The organizers were biologists—most of them well-established academics with backgrounds covering all the biological subfields relevant to environmental issues. Biologists had become seriously worried about the rate of extinctions, which was thought to be increasing. This in itself was nothing new; nature conservation had been an important social movement and...

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10 Environmental Justice: Making Policy, One Skirmish at a Time

Karen Baehler

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pp. 233-258

Social justice advocates long have worried that environmental agendas would crowd out the concerns of the poor and other marginalized populations. At the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi (1972, 3) warned of “grave misgivings” among people in the developing world “that the discussion on ecology may be designed to distract attention from the problems of war and poverty.” She exhorted the environmental community “to prove to the disinherited majority of the world that ecology and conservation will...

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11 Environmental Security: Policy within a Violent Imaginary

Johannes Stripple

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pp. 259-280

The concept of environmental security revolves around the idea that there is a connection between the health of the natural environment and the security of persons, states, cultures, ecosystems, or the biosphere. While sustainability has come to evoke a cooperative and peaceful imaginary, environmental security articulates a violent and conflict-ridden future. For instance, one of the current claims is that global warming increases the risk of civil war in Africa, and political instability will follow when subsistence farmers are forced to leave their livelihoods because of drought,...

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12 Green Economy: Reframing Ecology, Economics, and Equity

Daniel J. Fiorino

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pp. 281-306

The green economy is the idea that a society’s ecological and economic goals can be pursued as a mutually reinforcing, positive sum. It accepts that economies will increase in scale and efficiency, but argues that economic growth may occur in less harmful ways ecologically through the use of new policies, patterns of investment, technology innovation, and behavioral change. The ultimate goal is that of a green economic transition, in which ecological objectives and policies are effectively integrated with many others—energy, transportation, manufacturing, and infrastructure, to name a few—and all sectors of society work more collaboratively to...

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13 Sustainable Consumption: An Important but Ambiguous Concept

Philip J. Vergragt

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pp. 307-334

Sustainable consumption is an emerging normative concept gaining traction at present in policy circles. It mainly refers to the environmental problems related to material consumption patterns in affluent societies, but also applies to inequities in consumption patterns between rich and poor. It is discussed in emerging economies that are often on a pathway toward affluent consumption patterns. It is a concept that recognizes consumption is part of a complex system, and that a shift toward sustainable consumption patterns requires systemic changes in the economy, technology, governance...

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14 Conceptual Innovation and the Future of Environmental Policy

James Meadowcroft and Daniel J. Fiorino

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pp. 335-358

This volume has drawn attention to the importance of conceptual innovation in the development of environmental policy. Following two introductory chapters, readers were presented with a set of individual concept studies, each of which traced the career of an important environmental policy concept, examined its ideational and practical ramifications, and considered the face it presents to the future. This chapter will synthesize themes that emerged from the preceding discussion and provide some concluding reflections. It focuses on two broad issues. First, it considers...

Notes on the Contributors

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pp. 359-362

Index

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pp. 363-370