A Multidisciplinary Analysis
Edited by Jan Wouters, Antoon Braekman, Matthias Lievens and Emilie Bécault
Chapter 4: Democratizing global environmental governance? The case of transnational climate governance
Since the mid-1990s, ‘governance’ has become a key organizing concept in studies of global-scale environmental policy-making. In its broadest sense, the term is used to characterize and assess the plethora of formal and informal mechanisms and instruments purposely established to deal with a host of global environmental threats including global climate change, the loss of the earth’s biodiversity, deforestation, desertification, the spread of toxic chemicals, and ozone layer depletion. But as witnessed in other areas of global concern (for example, human rights, global poverty, international peace and security), a more restricted notion of governance typically serves as a useful counterpoint, or, if not, a complement to the traditional state-centred regime approach in international relations (IR). By drawing attention to non-hierarchical, hybrid, and network-like forms of governing, a narrow definition unveils a more pluralistic vision of the international order, which, unlike the mainstream theories in IR such as neoliberalism and neorealism, neither posits international anarchy nor the primacy of sovereign state authority (Hurrell 2007, 3).
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