The Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance

The Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance

Consequences and Management of Regime Interactions

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Harro van Asselt

‘How do the different international institutions addressing climate change interact? What are the actual and potential synergies and conflicts? What are the most effective strategies to manage institutional interplay? Harro van Asselt’s expertise in both international law and international relations, as well as his intimate knowledge of the policy-making process, make him ideally equipped to address these fundamental questions. Based on detailed case studies, he provides a wide-ranging, lucid, and theoretically sophisticated study of climate change governance. Essential reading for international lawyers and international relations scholars alike.’ – Dan Bodansky, Arizona State University, US

Chapter 1: Introduction

Harro van Asselt

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, international economic law, trade law, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, international relations

Extract

Comprehension of the interconnectedness of human behaviour and the natural environment poses a crucial challenge in our efforts to govern global environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation and ozone depletion. Although the causes and consequences of, and responses to, these problems are inevitably linked with each other and with other issue areas, laws and policies at various levels of governance have largely developed in isolation. This has led to a mismatch between the simplified way in which humans govern their relationship with the environment and the complexity of biogeophysical systems. In an era of globalization, governing human behaviour not only has to account for the world's ecological interconnectedness but also for social, economic and political interdependence. In essence, this book is about coping with the resulting socio-ecological complexity in global environmental governance. The challenge of dealing with socio-ecological complexity is especially profound in the governance of global climate change. Climate change can be considered a 'wicked problem' par excellence. In part, this is because there is no clear definition of what the 'problem' is. Is it, for instance, about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, about phasing out fossil fuel use, or is the problem bigger than that, for example the continued insistence on economic growth? Similarly, there is no simple 'solution' for the climate change problem, as solving the problem of climate change will depend on how one defines the problem in the first place. Any solution will thus be subject to value judgements.