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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 26: Vulnerability Analysis and Environmental Governance

Marybeth Long Martello


Marybeth Long Martello1 Global change science is as much about understanding the biosphere as it is about working out the practices and norms of environmental governance (Jasanoff, 1999; Hajer, 1995; Takacs, 1996; Miller and Edwards, 2001). The very notion that a global environment exists and should and can be managed via transnational cooperation is buttressed by numerous scientific contributions and claims (Beck [1986] 1992; Taylor, 1997). The view of our planet as captured by the Apollo astronauts is widely credited with revealing the fragility and interconnectedness of ‘spaceship Earth’ and thereby providing the basis for modern environmentalism (Hajer, 1995; Jasanoff, 1999). Discovery of a hole in the ozone layer is often cited as an explanation for the relative ease with which the international community negotiated a ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).2 General circulation model projections of globally averaged temperature and mean sea level have been an important part of global framings of climate change. And the idea of biodiversity has been central in promoting a vision of a global nature requiring transnational stewardship (Takacs, 1996). Such symbols of a global environment and the research worlds that helped give them life underpin the plethora of multilateral environmental policy initiatives that have emerged in the last generation. Within specific issue areas, scientific organizing concepts such as maximum sustainable yield, ecosystem and toxicity have helped to establish and reinforce framings of environmental problems and their preferred solutions. These concepts have also shaped and been shaped by the practices and...

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