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Paths to a Green World

Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment

Jennifer Clapp
Peter Dauvergne
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Paths to a Green World
    Book Description:

    This comprehensive and accessible book fills the need for a political economy view of global environmental politics, focusing on the ways international economic processes affect environmental outcomes. It examines the main actors and forces shaping global environmental management, particularly in the developing world. Moving beyond the usual emphasis on international agreements and institutions, it strives to capture not only academic theoretical debates but also views on politics, economics, and the environment within the halls of global conferences, on the streets during antiglobalization protests, and in the boardrooms of international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and industry associations. The book maps out an original typology of four contrasting worldviews of environmental change--those of market liberals, institutionalists, bioenvironmentalists, and social greens--and uses them as a framework to examine the links between the global political economy and ecological change. This typology provides a common language for students, instructors, and scholars to discuss the issues across the classical social science divisions.The second edition of this popular text has been thoroughly revised and updated to reflect recent events, including the food crisis of 2007-2008, the financial meltdown of 2008, and the Copenhagen Climate Conference of 2009. Topics covered include the environmental implications of globalization; wealth, poverty, and consumption; global trade; transnational corporations; and multilateral and private finance.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-29557-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Acronyms
    (pp. xix-xxiv)
  7. 1 Peril or Prosperity? Mapping Worldviews of Global Environmental Change
    (pp. 1-18)

    The sun could well engulf the earth in about seven or eight billion years. “So what,” you might shrug. “The extinction of earth, beyond the horizon of human time—ridiculous, not worth imagining.” Yet some environmentalists believe that waves of smaller disasters—like climate change, deforestation, toxic pollution, and biodiversity loss—are already destroying the planet. Without doubt, many of the world’s poorest people have already collided with their sun, dying from disease, starvation, war, and abuse. The beginning of the end, these environmentalists lament, is already upon us. We, as a species, are now beyond the earth’s carrying capacity,...

  8. 2 The Ecological Consequences of Globalization
    (pp. 19-46)

    We are now in an era of globalization. As a process that touches on most aspects of our economies, societies, and cultures, it is important to investigate how it interfaces with global environmental change. This chapter begins with a general overview of globalization—what it is and its implications. It then sketches broadly contrasting environmental pictures of today’s globalizing world: first, a world of progress, of better lives that result from globalization—that is, the world as seen by market liberals and to a lesser extent institutionalists; and second, a world of failure, of crisis and looming ecological and social...

  9. 3 The Globalization of Environmentalism
    (pp. 47-86)

    What has the global community done to tackle the environmental problems discussed in the previous chapter? Although there is a rich history of formal actions on the part of states to address these problems in the international arena, we must also remember that the history of global environmental politics is inextricably tied to contests of ideas: battles of worldviews and discourses.¹ We have seen new environmental ideas and language enter into mainstream discourse as global awareness rises and as environmental conditions deteriorate. These views are also affected by wider developments in the global political economy. Until recently, most accounts of...

  10. 4 Economic Growth in a World of Wealth and Poverty
    (pp. 87-126)

    Does wealth lead to better or worse environmental conditions? Does poverty lead to ecological neglect as people struggle to survive, or do poor people place less of a burden on the environment than the rich? There are no easy answers to these questions. They are intensely debated, and the conclusions one reaches depend very much on one’s worldview. The question of economic growth is at the core of most of the debates over the global economy and the environment because it is intricately tied to debates over wealth and poverty and their relationship to the quality of the natural environment....

  11. 5 Global Trade and the Environment
    (pp. 127-160)

    Is global trade saving the planet? Or destroying it? There are cogent arguments for both positions, as well as some in between.¹ Market liberals see a free flow of goods around the world as a positive environmental force. From this perspective, global trade has many benefits. Free trade, through the logic of comparative advantage, creates global wealth and prosperity. It is efficient, avoiding waste and duplication. It also provides less industrialized regions of the world with advanced technologies and goods in exchange for relatively simple products (like minerals or timber). Global trade allows a country with a comparative ecological and...

  12. 6 Global Investment and the Environment
    (pp. 161-192)

    The public often associates corporations with the world’s highest-profile transnational firms, such as General Electric, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Wal-Mart Stores, Microsoft, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and ChevronTexaco.¹ There are, however, tens of thousands of parent TNCs and hundreds of thousands of affiliates. Sales and profits drive these firms. Economic globalization, which is extending free trade, privatization, deregulation, and the amount and speed of global financial flows, is also enhancing the power of these firms. There are increasing opportunities for higher sales and higher profits in a borderless world market. A quick glance at the opportunities in China—with...

  13. 7 Global Financing and the Environment
    (pp. 193-226)

    Global financing is increasingly at the heart of the economies of the developing world. This involves governments constantly borrowing and repaying public and private loans, a steady stream of multilateral and bilateral grants and technical assistance, as well as staggering private financial flows to corporations via investment funds. Each of these has profound and somewhat different environmental implications. While the broad split in views again falls along the now-familiar coalitions between social greens and bioenvironmentalists on the one hand and the market liberals and institutionalists on the other, each perspective has its own unique take on financing and the environment....

  14. 8 Paths to a Green World? Four Visions for a Healthy Global Environment
    (pp. 227-250)

    How can we ensure a healthy and thriving ecological future? Should governments and global organizations control the forces of globalization? If so, what are the most effective means? Should we rely on technology, regimes, a world government, or local communities? There are radically different visions of the best way forward: ones rooted in radically different explanations of the causes and consequences of global environmental change.

    Market liberals call for reforms to facilitate a smooth functioning of markets. They want eco-efficiency, voluntary corporate responsibility, and more technological cooperation. Institutionalists call for reforms to facilitate global cooperation and stronger institutions. They call...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 251-282)
  16. References
    (pp. 283-332)
  17. Index
    (pp. 333-354)