Global Environmental Politics


By Pamela S. Chasek

By David L. Downie

By Janet Welsh Brown

Formats and Prices





  1. Trade Paperback $48.00
  2. ebook $29.99

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 2, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

For more than twenty years, Global Environmental Politics has provided an up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased introduction to the world's most pressing environmental issues. This new edition continues this tradition while covering critical new developments in the field. Through case studies on key issues such as climate change, toxic chemicals, and biodiversity loss, the authors detail the development of major environmental regimes. With new material on the adoption of global Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the December 2015 Paris Climate Change conference; and recent meetings of major conventions on desertification, biological diversity, and more; the authors present a comprehensive overview of contemporary international environmental politics. Global Environmental Politics is vital reading for any student wishing to understand the current state of the field and to make informed decisions about which policies might best safeguard our environment for the future.


Table of Figures
FIGURE 1.1 World population, 1950-2050 (projected)
FIGURE 1.2 Global energy use, 2006
FIGURE 1.3 World energy consumption (quadrillion BTUs)
FIGURE 1.4 World CO emissions, 2006-2030
FIGURE 1.5 Evolution of global water use
FIGURE 1.6 Percentage of population residing in urban areas by major areas of the world: 1950, 1975, 2005, and 2030
FIGURE 3.1 Evolution of transboundary movements of waste among parties to the Basel Convention
FIGURE 3.2 Migration of POPs
FIGURE 3.3 Process for adding new chemicals to the Stockholm Convention
FIGURE 4.1 Worldwide production of CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs
FIGURE 4.2 Atmospheric concentration of CO, 1744-2008
FIGURE 4.3 Global CO emissions from fossil fuel burning, 2006
FIGURE 5.1 Scientific whaling catches since 1985
FIGURE 5.2 State of the world's fish stocks, 2007
FIGURE 5.3 Annual forest cover change, 1990-2005
FIGURE 6.1 Areas of the world with potential for producing electricity using geothermal energy
FIGURE 7.1A Global adult population distribution, 2000
FIGURE 7.1B Global wealth distribution, 2000
FIGURE 7.2 Net official development assistance from OECD countries, 1992-2008
FIGURE 7.3 The Millennium Development Goals
FIGURE 7.4 Examples of ecolabels

List of Tables
TABLE 1.1 Annual Expenditure on Luxury Items Compared with Funding Needed to Meet Selected Basic Needs
TABLE 1.2 The World's Megacities, 2007
TABLE 2.1 NGO Participation at WTO Ministerial Conferences, 1996-2005
TABLE 3.1 Total EU-27 LRTAP Convention Emissions
TABLE 4.1 Montreal Protocol Chemical Controls
TABLE 4.2 2006 Top Twenty Emitting Countries by Total Fossil Fuel CO (1,000 Metric Tons of Carbon)
TABLE 4.3 Kyoto Protocol Annex B: Party Quantified Emission Limitation or Reduction Commitment (Percentage Change from 1990 Base Year)
TABLE 5.1 Selected Illicit Wildlife Trade and Estimated Retail Value
TABLE 5.2 Veto States and Regime Creation or Strengthening
TABLE 7.1 The Evolving Three Pillars of Sustainable Development

Dilemmas in World Politics
Series Editor: Jennifer Sterling-Folker, University of Connecticut
Why is it difficult to achieve the universal protection of human rights? How can democratization be achieved so that it is equitable and lasting? Why does agreement on global environmental protection seem so elusive? How does the concept of gender play a role in the shocking inequalities of women throughout the globe? Why do horrific events such as genocide or ethnic conflicts recur or persist? These are the sorts of questions that confront policy-makers and students of contemporary international politics alike. They are dilemmas because they are enduring problems in world affairs that are difficult to resolve.
These are the types of dilemmas at the heart of the Dilemmas in World Politics series. Each book in the Dilemmas in World Politics series addresses a challenge or problem in world politics that is topical, recurrent, and not easily solved. Each is structured to cover the historical and theoretical aspects of the dilemma, as well as the policy alternatives for and future direction of the problem. The books are designed as supplements to introductory and intermediate courses in international relations. The books in the Dilemmas in World Politics series encourage students to engage in informed discussion of current policy issues.

Global Environmental Politics, Fifth Edition
Pamela S. Chasek, David L. Downie, and Janet Welsh Brown
Global Gender Issues in the New Millennium, Third Edition
V. Spike Peterson and Anne Sisson Runyan
United States Foreign Policy in the 21st Century: Gulliver's Travails
J. Martin Rochester
Democracy and Democratization in a Changing World, Third Edition
Georg Sørensen
The United Nations in the Twenty-first Century, Third Edition
Karen A. Mingst and Margaret P. Karns
International Human Rights, Third Edition
Jack Donnelly
Southern Africa in World Politics
Janice Love
Ethnic Conflict in World Politics, Second Edition
Barbara Harff and Ted Robert Gurr
Dilemmas of International Trade, Second Edition
Bruce E. Moon
Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention, Second Edition
Thomas G. Weiss and Cindy Collins
The European Union: Dilemmas of Regional Integration
James A. Caporaso
International Futures, Third Edition
Barry B. Hughes
Revolution and Transition in East-Central Europe, Second Edition
David S. Mason
One Land, Two Peoples, Second Edition
Deborah Gerner
Dilemmas of Development Assistance
Sarah J. Tisch and Michael B. Wallace
East Asian Dynamism, Second Edition
Steven Chan

List of Acronyms
AOSISAlliance of Small Island States
APECAsia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
BCSCBusiness Council on Sustainable Development
CAFECorporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (U.S.)
CBDConvention on Biological Diversity
CDMClean Development Mechanism
CITESConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
CO2 carbon dioxide
COFICommittee on Fisheries (FAO)
COPConference of the Parties
CSDCommission on Sustainable Development
CTECommittee on Trade and Environment (WTO)
CUEcritical-use exemption
ECEuropean Community
EEZexclusive economic zone
ETMenvironmental trade measure
EUEuropean Union
FAOFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FIELDFoundation for International Environmental Law and Development
FSCForest Stewardship Council
FTAfinancial and technical assistance
G-77Group of 77 (developing-country negotiating bloc)
G-8Group of Eight (international forum for governments of the world's eight largest economies)
GATTGeneral Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GDPgross domestic product
GEFGlobal Environment Facility
ghaglobal hectare
GHGgreenhouse gas
GMGlobal Mechanism
GMOgenetically modified organism
GNPgross national product
GPAGlobal Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities
GRIDGlobal Resource Information Database
HIPCheavily indebted poor countries
IFCSIntergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety
IFFIntergovernmental Forum on Forests
IGOintergovernmental organization
IISDInternational Institute for Sustainable Development
IMFInternational Monetary Fund
IMOInternational Maritime Organization
INCIntergovernmental Negotiating Committee
INGOinternational nongovernmental organization
IOMCInter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals
IPCCIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPENInternational POPs Elimination Network
IPFIntergovernmental Panel on Forests
IPRintellectual property rights
IUCNInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources/World Conservation Union
IUUillegal, unreported, and unregulated (fishing)
IWCInternational Whaling Commission
JPOIJohannesburg Plan of Implementation
LMOliving modified organism
LMO-FFPliving modified organism intended for food, feed, and processing
LRTAPConvention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution
MARPOLInternational Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
MDGMillennium Development Goal
MEAmultilateral environmental agreement
MMPAMarine Mammal Protection Act (U.S.)
MOPMeeting of the Parties
MSCMarine Stewardship Council
NAFONorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
NAFTANorth American Free Trade Agreement
NEPADNew Partnership for Africa's Development
NGOnongovernmental organization
NIEONew International Economic Order
NOx nitrogen oxide
OASOrganization of American States
ODAofficial development assistance
ODSozone-depleting substance(s)
OECDOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development
PCBpolychlorinated biphenyl
PICprior informed consent
POPpersistent organic pollutant
POPRCPersistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee
PRSPPoverty-Reduction Strategy Paper
RSTreview of significant trade
SO2 sulfur dioxide
SPREPPacific Regional Environment Programme
TEDturtle-excluder device
TRAFFICTrade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce
UNCCDUnited Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
UNCEDUnited Nations Conference on Environment and Development
UNDPUnited Nations Development Programme
UNECEUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe
UNEPUnited Nations Environment Programme
UNFCCCUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
UNFFUnited Nations Forum on Forests
UNGAUnited Nations General Assembly
VOCvolatile organic compound
WCMCWorld Conservation Monitoring Center
WHOWorld Health Organization
WMOWorld Meteorological Organization
WSSDWorld Summit on Sustainable Development
WTOWorld Trade Organization
WWFWorld Wildlife Fund/Worldwide Fund for Nature

1800Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane concentrations in the atmosphere hover around 270 to 290 parts per million (ppm) and 700 parts per billion (ppb), respectively. Most scientists today use these numbers as a pre-Industrial Revolution baseline for comparison.
1827Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier, a French mathematician and physicist, publishes perhaps the first paper speculating on the existence of what we now call the natural greenhouse effect.
1859John Tyndall, an Irish physicist, becomes one of the first scientists to study the greenhouse effect as well as the relative radiative forcings of different gases in the atmosphere, including CO2.
1872Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the United States, is created.
1896Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, publishes an article that concludes that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would raise temperatures by 5 to 6 degrees Celsius.
1900CO2 concentration in the atmosphere reaches 295 ppm.
1902The Convention for the Protection of Birds Useful to Agriculture is signed.
1903The first international conservation NGO is formed, the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire, in the United Kingdom.
1909U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt convenes the North American Conservation Conference in Washington, D.C.
1911The Treaty for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals is signed.
1913The Commission for the International Protection of Nature is founded.
1933The London Convention on the Preservation of Fauna and Flora in Their Natural State is signed.
1938G. S. Callendar revisits Arrhenius's 1896 publication and argues that increases in CO2 concentration could explain recent warming trends.
1940The Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere is signed.
1945The United Nations is established.
1946The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is signed; the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is created.
1947The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is established, becoming first international nongovernmental organization with a global outlook on environmental problems.
1948The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is created.
1949The International Convention for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries is signed.
1950The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is created.
-The International Convention for the Protection of Birds is signed.
1952A toxic mix of dense fog and sooty, black coal smoke kills at least 4,000 people, and perhaps as many as 12,000, in the worst of London's "killer fogs."
1954The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil is signed.
1956The European Economic Community is established.
-Roger Revelle and Charles David Keeling publish a paper on CO2, showing the trend of increasing atmospheric concentrations over the past century.
1959The Antarctic Treaty is signed.
1962Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is published.
1963The Agreement for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution is signed.
1967The supertanker Torrey Canyon runs aground in the English Channel, causing a massive oil spill.
1969The U.S. Congress passes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
1971The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance is signed.
1972The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment is convened in Stockholm.
-The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is created.
-The Limits to Growth report for the Club of Rome is published.
-The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Convention) is signed.
-The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals is signed.
1973The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is signed.
-The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is signed.
-The U.S. Endangered Species Conservation Act banning whaling and whale imports becomes law.
1974The Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) is issued by the Sixth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
-The World Population Conference is held in Bucharest, Romania.
-The World Food Conference is held in Rome, Italy.
1975The UNEP Regional Seas Programme is created.
1976The Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution is signed.


  • Praise for Prior Editions
    “Global Environmental Politics is an outstanding text. Through an impressive number of well-structured comparative case studies, the authors perform the minor miracle of rendering the complex and often arcane world of international environmental diplomacy accessible and comprehensible to their readers.” —Robert Darst, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    “This is the definitive text for students seeking to understand the actors, institutions, and political dynamism of contemporary international environmental policy.” –Wil Burns, Johns Hopkins University

    “An up-to-date, accessible, and engaging entry into the ever-evolving world of global environmental politics. . . . [the authors] effectively provide insights into cross-cutting themes being wrestled with by actors in global environmental politics today.” –Pia Kohler, Williams College

    “The definitive textbook in its field…. Clear, up-to-date, thorough, accurate, and consistently interesting for students and teachers alike.”—Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University

    “Quite simply the most comprehensive introduction to international environmental politics that currently exists. . . . This text is an essential addition to any collection.” –Choice

On Sale
Aug 2, 2016
Page Count
482 pages

Pamela S. Chasek

About the Author

Pamela S. Chasek is professor of political science at Manhattan College. She is the executive editor of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin as well as the author and editor of several books and numerous articles on international environmental policy, including The Roads from Rio, The Global Environment in the 21st Century, and Earth Negotiations.

David L. Downie teaches classes in the Department of Politics and the Environmental Studies Program at Fairfield University. He has attended nearly one hundred global environmental negotiations since 1990 and is the author of numerous publications on the creation and content of international environmental policy.

Janet Welsh Brown is a former policy analyst at the World Resources Institute, former executive director of the Environmental Defense Fund, and a former member and chair of the board of directors of Friends of the Earth.

Learn more about this author