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Handbook of Global Environmental Politics

Edited by Peter Dauvergne

The first Handbook of original articles by leading scholars of global environmental politics, this landmark volume maps the latest theoretical and empirical research in this young and growing field. Captured here are the dynamic and energetic debates over concerns for the health of the planet and how they might best be addressed.
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Chapter 13: Environmental Governance . . . or Government? The International Politics of Environmental Instruments

Andrew Jordan, Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel and Anthony R. Zito


13 Environmental governance … or government? The international politics of environmental instruments Andrew Jordan, Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel and Anthony R. Zito1 Academia is awash with neologisms, none more pervasive than ‘governance’. But what is governance and to what extent has it taken root in the environmental sector? In this chapter, we draw upon recent work (Jordan et al., 2003a; 2003b) to address these two questions. In so doing, we analyse the deployment of so called ‘new’ environmental policy instruments (NEPIs) in the European Union (EU) and seven member countries, namely Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK. The addition of Australia offers an insight into whether the same dynamics of change are present within a broadly comparable, non-EU state. Broadly speaking, policy instruments are the tools by means of which governments seek to achieve policy goals. By ‘new’ environmental policy instruments, we mean non-regulatory tools of environmental policy such as market based instruments (MBIs) (that is, ecotaxes and tradable permits), voluntary agreements (VAs) and ecolabels. As traditional (‘command and control’) regulation is widely regarded as the very quintessence of government (see Héritier, 2002b), a significant uptake of NEPIs could be regarded as heralding a new era of environmental governance. In this chapter we suggest that the uptake of NEPIs relative to traditional regulatory instruments provides a simple but concrete way to assess how much change away from traditional government towards new modes of governance has taken place in the environmental field. If the adoption and...

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