Edited by Peter Dauvergne
Chapter 8: Changing North–South Challenges in Global Environmental Politics
Joyeeta Gupta1 As we enter into the second decade of the twenty-first century, it becomes evident that environmental and related equity challenges far out-pace the evolving governance processes.2 Environmental problems are escalating into major socioeconomic catastrophes; the scale of these problems is becoming global; and they are passing ecological tipping points and perhaps even social tipping points, but social challenges (such as lack of access to land, food, water and sanitation services) have not yet been expressed in such terms. The processes and tools of environmental governance are also evolving rapidly. However, democratic governance in the context of sovereign states has often meant that cooperation is captive to the willingness of states to take action that goes beyond the protection of narrow, short-term national interests. There is thus an environmental governance gap. In the autonomous and sometimes steered processes of institutional evolution to cope with escalating environmental problems, there are many changes in governance patterns. These changes occur at multiple levels of governance and may also arguably change the playing field of governance. At the same time, the actors engaged in governance are changing. There is thus a diversity of issues that need to be researched in the arena of environmental law and politics such as principles of governance, institutional fit, interplay and scale,3 multilevel governance, changing governance patterns,4 output, outcome and impacts, and so on. These are, in fact, the mainstream areas of research in international environmental law and politics. However, this chapter focuses on one area...
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