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Governing the Air

Governing the Air: The Dynamics of Science, Policy, and Citizen Interaction

Rolf Lidskog
Göran Sundqvist
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Governing the Air
    Book Description:

    Governing the Air looks at the regulation of air pollution not as a static procedure of enactment and agreement but as a dynamic process that reflects the shifting interrelationships of science, policy, and citizens. Taking transboundary air pollution in Europe as its empirical focus, the book not only assesses the particular regulation strategies that have evolved to govern European air, but also offers theoretical insights into dynamics of social order, political negotiation, and scientific practices. These dynamics are of pivotal concern today, in light of emerging international governance problems related to climate change. The contributors, all prominent social scientists specializing in international environmental governance, review earlier findings, analyze the current situation, and discuss future directions for both empirical and theoretical work.[cut last sentence in first para for catalog] The chapters discuss the institutional dimensions of international efforts to combat air pollution, examining the effectiveness of CLRTAP (Convention for Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution) and the political complexity of the European Union; offer a broad overview and detailed case studies of the roles of science, expertise, and learning; and examine the "missing link" in air pollution policies: citizen involvement. Changing political conditions, evolving scientific knowledge, and the need for citizen engagement offer significant challenges for air pollution policy making. By focusing on process rather than product, learning rather than knowledge, and strategies rather than interests, this book gives a nuanced view of how air pollution is made governable.The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-29827-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Peter M. Haas and Sheila Jasanoff

    As our understanding of environmental threats deepens and broadens, it is increasingly clear that many environmental issues cannot be understood, analyzed, or acted upon in a simple way. The multifaceted relationships between human beings, social and political institutions, and the physical environment in which they are situated extend across disciplinary as well as geopolitical confines and cannot be analyzed or resolved in isolation.

    The purpose of this series is to address the increasingly complex questions of how societies come to understand, confront, and cope with both the sources and the manifestations of present and potential environmental threats. Works in the...

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. 1 Transboundary Air Pollution Policy in Transition
    (pp. 1-36)
    Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist

    Climate change, transboundary air pollution, urban air quality, greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxides, andfine particles—a cluster of related words is circulating in news reports, political discussions, and public debates. These words describe the importance of clean air for human health, a livable society, and a sustainable environment. But what is clean air, or, rather, what makes air polluted? And when pollutants are traced and explored, what kinds of actions should then be taken? How can the air be rendered governable? To what extent and in what way is it possible to steer society, regulate activities, abate pollution, and control...

  7. I Policy and Institutions

    • 2 The Improving Effectiveness of CLRTAP: Due to a Clever Design?
      (pp. 39-60)
      Jørgen Wettestad

      This chapter identifies and discusses a “top-five” list of central obstacles to the improvement of regime effectiveness and related important institutional cures and techniques and subsequently applies this framework in an analysis of the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) regime (building on and updating analyses carried out in Wettestad 1999, 2001, 2002a, 2002b, and 2005a).¹ Because effectiveness has seemingly steadily improved, and the basic problem addressed by CLRTAP must be characterized as malign, should we (re)assess CLRTAP as a truly cleverly designed regime? The chapter addresses this key question.

      The second section briefly introduces the understanding of effectiveness...

    • 3 Institutional Linkages and European Air Pollution Politics
      (pp. 61-92)
      Henrik Selin and Stacy D. VanDeveer

      Much contemporary air pollution politics and policymaking occur in institutionally dense settings involving a large set of actors interacting in complex webs of connections. Scholars and policymakers are paying a great deal of attention to characteristics and consequences of linkages among the growing number of international institutions associated with environmental politics and management (Young 2002; Raustiala and Victor 2004; Oberthür and Gehring 2006; Chambers 2008; Young, King, and Schroeder 2008; Selin 2010). As the quantity and scale of human activities with significant transnational environmental effects and the number and scope of international institutions that address environmental issues continue to grow,...

    • 4 Transboundary Science for Transnational Air Pollution Policies in Europe
      (pp. 93-122)
      Bernd Siebenhüner

      The problem of air pollution has been at the center of most industrialized countries’ environmental policymaking from early on. Damages to human health, buildings, crops, and forests through emissions of toxic gases and particles have raised political concerns since the nineteenth century and have been addressed in numerous national regulations. The problem of air pollution, however, does not remain within national borders but is transboundary in nature. This fact poses a particular challenge to political processes and the political approaches to combat air pollution with regard to international coordination and agreements.

      Within Europe, several levels of institutions and approaches to...

  8. II Expertise and Learning

    • 5 Organized Science, Usable Knowledge, and Multilateral Environmental Governance
      (pp. 125-162)
      Peter M. Haas and Casey Stevens

      There is a widespread acceptance that effective multilateral environmental governance requires the involvement of environmental scientists (Gore 1996). Although speaking truth to power has long been a major theme in political science and policy studies (Wildavsky 1979), commentators are increasingly skeptical about whether modelers and scientists are capable of developing truth and whether power ever listens to them anyhow. Indeed, international relations scholars tend to be surprised by the occasions when it does. This chapter applies the political science literature to the related question of when power does listen to science, particularly with regard to the management of complex environmental...

    • 6 Scientists Learn Not Only Science but Also Diplomacy: Learning Processes in the European Transboundary Air Pollution Regime
      (pp. 163-194)
      Atsushi Ishii

      International environmental governance is so complex that its entirety cannot be properly envisaged from the beginning. Governance is therefore inherently a learning process and at the same time is one of the best arenas for studying such processes. Learning generally means the recognition and acceptance of information that can change the actors’ motives and behavior. A rich collection of literature explores how various actors have learned in governance processes and the factors that explain such learning. However, the scientific community, which has occupied a very important role in the political process of governance, remains an under-researched actor despite the fact...

    • 7 Fewer Boundaries and Less Certainty: The Role of Experts in European Air Policy
      (pp. 195-222)
      Göran Sundqvist

      Scholars in the field of science and technology studies (STS) often repeat the message that the relationship between science and society is unstable. Spurred by regulatory failures in dealing with problems such as “mad cow disease” (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and public criticism of genetically modifi ed organisms, the European Commission has prioritized expert credibility as an important issue in need of political attention. In preparing for theWhite Paper on Governancepublished in 2001, the commission set up a working group on “democratizing expertise” whose main objective was to propose ideas on how to restore the credibility of expertise (EC...

    • 8 Co-producing Policy-Relevant Science and Science-Based Policy: The Case of Regulating Ground-Level Ozone
      (pp. 223-250)
      Rolf Lidskog and Håkan Pleijel

      Few environmental issues on the international political agenda are unsupported by a body of scientific research. It is virtually impossible for an environmental condition to be successfully transformed into a political problem without scientific support in the form of data and analysis. At the same time, the relationship between science and policy is not simple: some environmental problems become politically prioritized despite considerable scientific uncertainty (e.g., forest decline in the 1980s, discussed in chapter 7), but scientific evidence supports other environmental problems that are still low priorities in practice (e.g., the detrimental effect of many air pollutants on materials, including...

  9. III Citizens and Involvement

    • 9 Citizen Engagement with the Politics of Air Quality: Lessons for Social Theory, Science Studies, and Environmental Sociology
      (pp. 253-272)
      Steven Yearley

      Air pollution is in many ways an exemplar of environmental problems. Pollution of the air from factory emissions, household heating, and vehicles is a very clear example of an externality. It is a burden imposed on others—often the general urban population—through the acts of individuals and companies who are not charged (or not charged much) for the impacts they cause. At first sight, it makes the logic of environmental impacts and pollution control manifestly apparent.

      However, air contamination is an exemplary problem also in that a single label is used to give a name to something with many...

    • 10 Framing Air Pollution and Health Problems: How to Include Stakeholder Perspectives?
      (pp. 273-292)
      Arthur Petersen, Leendert van Bree and Willemijn Tuinstra

      The interface between science, policy, and society has been the topic of study of a whole body of political science and social studies of science literature (see also Lidskog and Sundqvist, chaps. 1 and 12 in this volume, for a broader discussion).

      Social scientists do not arrive at an unequivocal view on the science–policy–society interface, neither on how it works nor on how it should work. Nevertheless, important questions are addressed in these analyses that provide the context of our chapter.

      We analyze a case study on science–policy–society interactions in the field of air quality and...

    • 11 Governance of Air Quality and Stakeholder Engagement: Lessons and Experience from International Cases
      (pp. 293-320)
      John Forrester, Kevin Hicks, Johan Kuylenstierna, Julie Simon, Carolyn Snell, Michael J. Chadwick, Dieter Schwela and Lisa Emberson

      This chapter is about stakeholder engagement in the governance and management of air pollution control at several levels of governance: the realm of strategic policy formulation, translation of that strategic policy into policy measures, implementation of these policy measures, and policy evaluation—in other words, all the stages of what is often referred to as the “policy cycle.” It looks at four examples of institutional structures set up to provide frameworks within which different stakeholders have been engaged to differing degrees in addressing air pollution problems. These examples come from a variety of projects that we have been involved in...

  10. IV Environmental Governance and Research

    • 12 Science–Policy–Citizen Dynamics in International Environmental Governance
      (pp. 323-360)
      Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist

      This book focuses on the regulatory regime for measuring, sorting, and controlling airborne substances harmful to the environment and public health. In this regime, actors, instruments, practices, and ideas are drawn together to create clean air. By developing norms, rules, and knowledge, actors are expected to reduce emissions of harmful substances. What is seen as a “simple” international agreement—such as the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and its protocols or the European Union (EU) air pollution policy—is only the tip of an iceberg. What seems to be a static and solid regulatory regime, guided by formal...

  11. Index
    (pp. 361-368)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 369-370)