Chapter 2: Realism
This chapter addresses the mutual neglect that has existed between realism and the study of international environmental politics. It argues that the emergence of climate issues on the international agenda alters this situation. The implications of the effects of climate change have been grasped by realist scholars as sources of conflict and as ‘threat multipliers.’ The close association between climate and energy geopolitics provides another important point of contact. However, realist thinkers have had little to say on the question of governance. Two potential contributions are proposed. The first involves the motives of those who represent state governments in climate negotiations and realist analyses of the struggle for recognition and prestige. The second relates to power structural, hegemonic and even ‘concert’ explanations of state behavior in international climate politics that derive form the realist tradition.
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