Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, Second Edition
Show Less

Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, Second Edition

Edited by Peter Dauvergne

The second edition of this Handbook contains more than 30 new and original articles as well as six essential updates by leading scholars of global environmental politics. This landmark book maps the latest theoretical and empirical research in this energetic and growing field. Captured here are the pioneering and lively debates over concerns for the health of the planet and how they might best be addressed.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 12: International Organizations and Global Environmental Governance: Toward Structural Reform

Frank Biermann


Frank Biermann Over the last two hundred years, humankind has evolved into a planetary force that influences global biogeochemical systems. No longer is the human species a spectator that merely needs to adapt to the natural environment. Humanity itself has become a powerful agent of earth system evolution. In particular, global warming is proceeding rapidly. The snowfields on the Kilimanjaro might melt within a few decades, and the ice cover on the Arctic Ocean has shrunk by over 30 percent since satellite observations began in 1979. Some scientists warn that major disruptions in the earth system could occur within this century.1 The evidence of human influence on all planetary systems is such that stratigraphy experts are prepared today to formally classify the present time as a distinct epoch in planetary history, the “Anthropocene.”2 This development poses one of the largest governance challenges ever. Policy-makers in the twentieth century gained much experience in managing confined ecosystems, such as river basins, forests, or lakes. In the twenty-first century, they are faced with one of the largest political problems humankind has had to deal with: protecting the entire system earth, including most of its subsystems, and building stable institutions that guarantee a safe transition and a co-evolution of natural and social systems at planetary scale. I call this the challenge of earth system governance, as a new paradigm to describe this particular challenge of planetary coevolution of humans and nature.3 This governance challenge is a core task for governments and civil society...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.