Environmental Governance and Decentralisation
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Environmental Governance and Decentralisation

Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone

This book examines how different countries define and address environmental issues, specifically in relation to intergovernmental relations: the creation of institutions, the assignment of powers, and the success of alternative solutions. It also investigates whether a systemic view of the environment has influenced the policy-making process. The broad perspective adopted includes a detailed analysis of seventeen countries in six continents by scholars from a range of disciplines – economics, political science, environmental science and law – thus producing novel material that moves away from the conventional treatment of decentralisation and the environment in economic literature.
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Chapter 7: Environmental Institutions in Germany: Leader or Laggard?

Stefanie Engel and Melanie Zimmermann


Stefanie Engel and Melanie Zimmermann 1. INTRODUCTION As a consequence of its geographic position,1 high population density, and high degree of industrialization, environmental problems have been and continue to be considered an important issue in Germany2 (Jänicke and Weidner, 1997). Since the late 1960s, major regulations covering nearly all areas of environmental policy have been passed. The country has established a reputation as a leader in international environmental protection initiatives as well as the development of ‘green’ technologies. Nevertheless, Germany has increasingly turned from a leader to a laggard. Despite impressive progress in the area of pollution control, serious environmental problems remain and the country is only slowly working towards the goal of sustainable development. Its strong economy has permitted Germany to get away with the adoption of inefficient, overly costly policy approaches for many years. Post-unification economic problems and high unemployment, however, have reinforced the need to shift towards more cost-effective measures. In this regard, Germany is lagging behind other industrialized countries, and change – although present – is slow. Pressure in the direction of ‘new environmental policy instruments’ has also increased on the part of international actors, including the European Union (EU), the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Wurzel et al., 2003). The objective of this chapter is to review the current institutional set-up of environmental policy in Germany, examine how and why this has changed over time, and evaluate the effectiveness of the applied policy tools. The...

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