Research Handbook on Climate Governance
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Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.
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Chapter 2: Realism

John Vogler


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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