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Rethinking Private Authority

Rethinking Private Authority: Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance

Jessica F. Green
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Rethinking Private Authority
    Book Description:

    Rethinking Private Authorityexamines the role of non-state actors in global environmental politics, arguing that a fuller understanding of their role requires a new way of conceptualizing private authority. Jessica Green identifies two distinct forms of private authority--one in which states delegate authority to private actors, and another in which entrepreneurial actors generate their own rules, persuading others to adopt them.

    Drawing on a wealth of empirical evidence spanning a century of environmental rule making, Green shows how the delegation of authority to private actors has played a small but consistent role in multilateral environmental agreements over the past fifty years, largely in the area of treaty implementation. This contrasts with entrepreneurial authority, where most private environmental rules have been created in the past two decades. Green traces how this dynamic and fast-growing form of private authority is becoming increasingly common in areas ranging from organic food to green building practices to sustainable tourism. She persuasively argues that the configuration of state preferences and the existing institutional landscape are paramount to explaining why private authority emerges and assumes the form that it does. In-depth cases on climate change provide evidence for her arguments.

    Groundbreaking in scope,Rethinking Private Authoritydemonstrates that authority in world politics is diffused across multiple levels and diverse actors, and it offers a more complete picture of how private actors are helping to shape our response to today's most pressing environmental problems

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4866-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acronyms
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-25)

    This book is about how the global environment is regulated and, in particular, the diversity of actors involved in addressing the problem of climate change. But it is not only, or indeed mostly, a book about climate change. Rather, it is about how private actors—including nongovernmental organizations, firms, transnational networks, and others—exercise authority in world politics. Increasingly, private actors assume duties normally considered the province of governments. They are taking on the role of regulators, as they create, implement, and enforce rules to manage global environmental problems. This book asks when and why private actors perform these regulatory...

  7. CHAPTER ONE A Theory of Private Authority
    (pp. 26-53)

    There is broad consensus that private actors are more important in world politics today than in the recent past. They are no longer simply influencing rule makers (though that is important too); now theyarerule makers. However, we still have very little systematic knowledge about when and why nonstate actors serve in this capacity. This book aims to remedy this gap on two fronts: by presenting a theory about when we should expect to see private authority, and by providing historical data about how it has changed over time in the area of global environmental governance. In this chapter,...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Agents of the State: A Century of Delegation in International Environmental Law
    (pp. 54-77)

    This chapter is the first of two exploratory missions.¹ If private authority is on the rise, as many have claimed, where and how is this growing phenomenon occurring? Theories of delegation suggest looking to the state as the likely engine of private authority. With more governing to do, states are enlisting others to help them through the delegation of authority. As such, this chapter examines a century of multilateral environmental treaties (MEAs), asking two basic questions: How often do states delegate to private actors, and for what tasks?

    Surprisingly, we do not have very many answers to this question. Nor...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Governors of the Market: The Evolution of Entrepreneurial Authority
    (pp. 78-103)

    Delegated private authority plays a relatively consistent but minor role in global environmental politics. As I have demonstrated, private agents are most often useful for their expertise in technical matters and are delegated other tasks with little impact on state autonomy. However, they are rarely charged with potentially weightier tasks such as enforcement or rule making, and they are seldom the sole agents charged with a given task.

    Yet, if private actors are increasingly important in the landscape of global governance as many have claimed, where and how are they projecting authority? The answer to this question lies in the...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Atmospheric Police: Delegated Authority in the Clean Development Mechanism
    (pp. 104-131)

    Thus far, this book has examined the broad contours of private authority, providing a theoretical explanation for its different forms and much needed historical context. I now turn to a more focused causal analysis, explaining why private authority emerges in each of its forms in the context of the climate change regime. This chapter shows that the delegation of key monitoring tasks to private agents in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol is consistent with the theory presented in chapter 1. Delegated authority emerged because both the supply and demand conditions were met. Private actors had been...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Atmospheric Accountants: Entrepreneurial Authority and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol
    (pp. 132-162)

    Just as financial accounting measures the inflow and outflow of money, greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting provides an inventory of the gases that are put into and removed from the atmosphere. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which was created by two NGOs, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), is now the world leader in firm-level greenhouse gas accounting procedures.¹ In extensive consultation with numerous firms, government agencies and other NGOs, WRI and WBCSD created theGreenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. The protocol can be viewed as a successful example of private...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Conclusion
    (pp. 163-182)

    How are private rule makers contributing to the management of global environmental problems? As I have argued, the answer to this question lies in rethinking the meaning of private authority. When the concept is properly disaggregated, it becomes clear that private authority is not simply evidence of the erosion of state authority; public and private authority are not “zero-sum.” Rather, I have argued that a revised conceptualization of private authority demonstrates that it is diffused through and among a diverse set of actors, creating multiple loci for rule making and governance.

    Rethinking private authority means distinguishing between two separate phenomena:...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 183-206)
  14. Index
    (pp. 207-216)