The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Environmental Politics (OXFORD HANDBOOKS SERIES) 0197515037, 9780197515037

The complexities and scope of environmental issues have not only outpaced the capacities and responsiveness of tradition

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The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Environmental Politics (OXFORD HANDBOOKS SERIES)
 0197515037, 9780197515037

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The Oxford Handbook of


The Oxford Handbook of




Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and certain other countries. Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America. © Oxford University Press 2023 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by license, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reproduction rights organization. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above. You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer. Library of Congress Control Number: 2022049850 ISBN 978–​0–​19–​751503–​7 DOI: 10.1093/​oxfordhb/​9780197515037.001.0001 Printed by Integrated Books International, United States of America


 About the Contributors 

Introduction: The Scope and Diversity of Comparative   Environmental Politics  Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal



PA RT I   STAT E S A N D E N V I RON M E N TA L P OL IC I E S I N C OM PA R AT I V E P E R SP E C T I V E 1. The Environmental State and Its Limits  James Meadowcroft


2. California’s Environmental Policy Leadership  David Vogel


3. Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management in Chile: Effective, Democratic or Neither?  Javiera Barandiarán


4. Environment and Development: Crossing the Divide Between Global South and Global North  Kathryn Hochstetler


5. National Climate Mitigation Policy in Europe  Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie


6. Governing Flood and Climate Risks in the Netherlands and Hungary: A Comparative Analysis  Elizabeth A. Albright


7. The Politics of Climate Disasters, Social Inequality, and Perceptions of Government Assistance  Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-​Rivera


vi   Contents

8. Implementation of International Environmental Law: A Comparative Perspective  Maria Ivanova, Natalia Escobar-​Pemberthy, Anna Dubrova, and Candace Famiglietti 9. Comparative International Fisheries Management  Elizabeth R. DeSombre



PA RT I I   M E T HOD S A N D C ON C E P T UA L C ON SI DE R AT ION S 10. Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods, and Comparative Environmental Politics  J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees


11. Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics: Insights from the Water and Waste Fields  Raul Pacheco-​Vega


12. An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions  Annica Kronsell, Gunnhildur Lily Magnusdottir, Nanna Rask, and Benedict E. Singleton 13. Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics: Examining Population Debates Through Gender Lenses  Nicole Detraz



PA RT I I I   M OV E M E N T S A N D AC T I V I SM 14. Environmental Justice, Climate Justice, and Animal Liberation Movements: Confronting the Problems of Social Difference  David N. Pellow


15. Civil Society, Networks, and Contention Around Environmental Issues  Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden


16. Time and Place in Climate Activism: Three Urgency-​Induced Debates  Joost de Moor


Contents   vii

17. The Comparative Politics of Environmental Activism in Russia: Strategic Adaptation to Authoritarianism  Laura A. Henry 18. Anglo Fears: Rejection of Climate Change and Anglo Anxiety  Peter J. Jacques 19. Civil Disobedience, Sabotage, and Violence in US Environmental Activism  Joseph M. Brown

317 335


PA RT I V   M A R K E T S A N D F I R M S I N C OM PA R AT I V E E N V I RON M E N TA L P OL I T IC S 20. Territory, Private Authority, and Rights: The Place of Land Rights in Sustainable Agriculture and Forest Certification  Tim Bartley


21. Comparing Voluntary Sustainability Standards: Blindspots, Biases, and Pathways Forward  Hamish van der Ven


22. Continuity and Change in Carbon Market Politics  Carley Chavara, Christian Elliott, Matthew Hoffmann, and Matthew Paterson


PA RT V   E N V I RON M E N TA L J U S T IC E A N D R IG H T S 23. The Comparative Politics of Environmental Justice  Kemi Fuentes-George


24. Critical Perspectives on Representation, Equity, and Rights: Developing a Comparative Politics of Environmental Justice  Kimberly R. Marion Suiseeya


25. Globalization of Environmental Justice: A Framework for Comparative Research  Prakash Kashwan


viii   Contents

26. Rights of Nature: Institutions, Law, and Policy for Sustainable Development  Craig M. Kauffman


27. Implementing Environmental Rights: Reviewing the Evidence from Research and Practice  Joshua C. Gellers and Chris Jeffords


28. Gendering the Human Right to Water in the Context of Sustainable Development  Farhana Sultana


PA RT V I   NAT U R A L R E S OU RC E S A N D P OL I T IC A L E C ON OM Y 29. Green Industrial Policy in Comparative Perspective: Supporting Renewable Energy Industry Development in Emerging Economies  Joanna I. Lewis


30. Natural Resources and the Politics of Distribution  Mohannad Al-​Suwaidan and Nimah Mazaheri


31. Temporality, Limited Statehood, and Africa’s Abandoned Mines  W. R. Nadège Compaoré and Nathan Andrews


32. Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Mekong: The Interplay of Actors, Legal Governance, and Political Economy  Songkhun Nillasithanukroh, Ekta Patel, Edmund Malesky, and Erika Weinthal


PA RT V I I   T H E P OL I T IC S OF E N E RG Y T R A N SI T ION S 33. Fracked Taxpayers and Communities: Shale Economics in the US and Argentina  Shanti Gamper-​Rabindran


34. Renewable Energy, Energy Poverty, and Climate Change: Opportunities and (Many) Challenges  Michaël Aklin


Contents   ix

35. Renewable Energy Supply Chains and the Just Transition  Dustin Mulvaney 36. The Rise and Fall of Fossil Fuels: Two Moments in the Energy History of the Middle East and Their Global Consequences  Dan Rabinowitz



PA RT V I I I   C I T I E S A N D SU STA I NA B I L I T Y 37. Cities and the Environment in Africa: An Agency-​Centered Research Agenda  Christopher Gore


38. Reclaiming the Circular Economy: Informal Work and Grassroots Power  Manisha Anantharaman


39. Urban Climate Adaptation: Discontents and Alternative Politics  Eric Chu and Linda Shi


PA RT I X   E N V I RON M E N T S , R E S OU RC E S , A N D V IOL E N C E 40. War and Environmental Politics: A Comparative Perspective  Jeannie Sowers and Erika Weinthal


41. Climate and Conflict: Lessons from the Syria Case  Marwa Daoudy


42. The Integration of Conservation and Security: Political Ecologies of Violence and the Illegal Wildlife Trade  Rosaleen Duffy and Francis Massé




About the Contributors

Michaël Aklin, Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh Elizabeth A. Albright, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University Isabella Alcañiz, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland Jen Iris Allan, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University Mohannad Al-​Suwaidan, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University Manisha Anantharaman, Justice, Community, and Leadership, Saint Mary’s College of California Nathan Andrews, Department of Political Science, McMaster University Javiera Barandiarán, Department of Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara J. Samuel Barkin, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massachusetts Boston Tim Bartley, Department of Sociology, Washington University in St. Louis Joseph M. Brown, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston V. Miranda Chase, Department of Political Science, San Diego State University Carley Chavara, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Eric Chu, Department of Human Ecology, University of California Davis Marwa Daoudy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Joost de Moor, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University Elizabeth R. DeSombre, Department of Environmental Studies, Wellesley College Nicole Detraz, Department of Political Science, University of Memphis Anna Dubrova, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massachusetts Boston Rosaleen Duffy, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield Christian Elliott, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Natalia Escobar-​Pemberthy, Department of International Business, Universidad EAFIT

xii   About the Contributors Candace Famiglietti, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massachusetts Boston Kemi ​Fuentes-George, Department of Political Science & Environmental Studies, Middlebury College Shanti Gamper-​Rabindran, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh Joshua C. Gellers, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of North Florida Christopher Gore, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Toronto Metropolitan University Jennifer Hadden, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland Laura A. Henry, Department of Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College Kathryn Hochstetler, Department of International Development and Political Science, London School of Economics Matthew Hoffmann, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Maria Ivanova, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University Peter J. Jacques, School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs, University of Central Florida Chris Jeffords, Department of Economics, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Prakash Kashwan, Environmental Studies Program, Brandeis University Craig M. Kauffman, Department of Political Science, University of Oregon Annica Kronsell, School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University Joanna I. Lewis, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Gunnhildur Lily Magnusdottir, Department of Political Science, Malmö University Edmund Malesky, Department of Political Science, Duke University Francis Massé, Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University Nimah Mazaheri, Department of Political Science, Tufts University James Meadowcroft, Department of Political Science, Carleton University, Canada Dustin Mulvaney, Environmental Studies Department, San José State University W. R. Nadège Compaoré, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Mississauga Songkhun Nillasithanukroh, Department of Political Science, Duke University

About the Contributors    xiii Raul Pacheco-​Vega, Methods Lab, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Sede México Ekta Patel, Nicholas School of the Environment/​Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University Matthew Paterson, Department of Politics, University of Manchester David N. Pellow, Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara Dan Rabinowitz, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel-​Aviv University Nanna Rask, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-​Rivera, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland Linda Shi, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University Benedict E. Singleton, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg Jeannie Sowers, Department of Political Science, University of New Hampshire Kimberly R. Marion Suiseeya, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University Farhana Sultana, Department of Geography, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University Paul Tobin, Department of Politics, University of Manchester Hamish van der Ven, Department of Wood Science, University of British Columbia Stacy D. VanDeveer, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massachusetts Boston Saskia van Wees, Department of Political Science, University of Florida David Vogel, Department of Political Science, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, California Erika Weinthal, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University Louise Wylie, Department of Politics, University of Manchester

Introdu c t i on

The Scope and Diversity of Comparative Environmental Politics Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal Comparative environmental politics (CEP) is a vibrant field of scholarship and practice that addresses a range of environmental issues facing communities, non-​state actors, and nation-​states. It draws not only on the disciplinary study of politics and policy but, as this volume shows, also is enriched by interdisciplinary insights from anthropology, geography, sociology, law, and development studies. In contrast to global environmental politics, comparative environmental politics has a broader geographic and thematic reach, drawing upon experiences of most of the world’s population with diverse environmental issues. The intensifying climate crisis and the deepening burden of pollution and ecological destruction has accentuated structural inequalities associated with poverty, gender, caste, race, and region. This volume thus reflects increased scholarly interest in environmental rights, environmental mobilization and movements, and non-​state forms of political engagement. Moreover, contestation and regulation of environmental issues can no longer be relegated to the margins of formal politics anywhere. As James Meadowcroft’s contribution to this volume notes, some version of the “environmental state” is here to stay, and the governance of environmental issues is increasingly recognized as central to political economy, political theory, political behavior, and political institutions. In the decade since Steinberg and VanDeveer (2012) published Comparative Environmental Politics (MIT Press), CEP scholarship has embraced new questions and methods even as it seeks to address enduring questions in the broader field of comparative politics. This volume brings together cutting-​edge research that tackles important environmental issues around the world using a range of theoretical and methodological approaches. We include leading scholars in particular areas of research and include new voices to offer innovative perspectives from multiple disciplines on emerging challenges and debates in the field of CEP. The chapter authors seek to capture current controversies and debates in their areas of interest and to make an original argument about how their work fits more broadly into the study of CEP. The aims of this volume are two-​fold: to illustrate some of the main theoretical debates and critical thematic issues that have emerged in the field and to include a

2    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal broad cross-​section of scholars. All the chapters, regardless of their country focus or comparative research design, take on the challenging task of synthesizing what they see as the state of art in their respective thematic areas and indicating where additional research could yield fruitful inquiry.

Scope and Method in Comparative Environmental Politics Comparative politics is characterized by the enduring importance of domestic institutions, actors, and political processes, and situates these in broader transnational and regional developments. In contrast to some of the dominant framings in international relations, which emphasize the homogenizing impacts of the global economy and global governance, comparative politics is concerned with examining variation and diversity as well as commonalities. Methods and approaches employed in the field are equally diverse, in ongoing conversation with ​a variety of social science traditions and developments. The contributors to this volume illustrate the diverse strands that characterize the field of comparative politics. Some authors focus on an in-​depth case study of a single country or subnational jurisdiction (such as a US state), drawing on significant fieldwork and in-​ depth knowledge of domestic political dynamics and state–​society relations. This method has long generated some of the most insightful research in comparative politics and is well represented in this volume in the chapters by David Vogel on California’s environmental leadership, Javiera Barandiarán on the effects of Chile’s neoliberalism on environmental governance, Laura Henry on the effects of Russia’s turn to authoritarianism on environmental activism, Marwa Daoudy on drought and conflict in Syria, Joseph Brown on strategies of civil disobedience in US environmentalism, and Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-​ Rivera exploring whom voters blame in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastating impacts on Puerto Rico. Other chapters employ an explicitly comparative framework across two or more political contexts to explain causes of variation in environmental policy formation, organizational capacity, public opinion, and social movement advocacy. These include Christopher Gore’s chapter on urban environmental politics in several African cities, Shanti Gamper-​Rabindran’s chapter on fracking in the United States and Argentina, Songkhun Nilliasithanukroh et al. on illegal wildlife trade in the Mekong Basin countries, Elizabeth Albright’s contribution comparing flood risk management in the Netherlands and Hungary, Prakash Kashwan’s comparison of advocacy for environmental justice in India and the United States, and the intersectional analysis of four Swedish governmental agencies that include mandates to address climate change by Annica Kronsell et al. Other authors examine comparative environmental performance across a much broader number of cases. These range from looking at the implementation of climate mitigation policies across European countries, as in the chapter by Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie, to comparing the effectiveness of the approximately 20 interstate regional fisheries management organizations established for various fish stocks and marine regions in Beth

Introduction   3 DeSombre’s chapter. Maria Ivanova et al. use a dataset of 13 countries that includes cases from the Global North and the Global South to analyze variation in implementing multilateral environmental treaties and, in doing so, undermine notions that environmental performance is confined to high-​income countries. In addition, Peter Jacques’s contribution explores why and how climate science denialism remains so robust in “Anglo” countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Yet other chapters draw on traditions of political theory, gender theory, and human rights to explore normative claims and new ways to conceive of environmental rights and obligations to humans and non-​humans. David Pellow, for instance, argues that climate, environment, and animal liberation movements can engage in more deeply intersectional practice by emulating the radical institutional reforms called for by anti-​racism and abolitionist movements. Nicole Detraz uses a gender lens to explore discourses associated with debates about the global human population as they play out in the US context, seeking to problematize and interrogate them. Farhana Sultana argues that a gender perspective is essential to understand the various dimensions of the human right to water. Eric Chu and Linda Shi critique dominant climate adaptation discourses in urban planning, providing examples of alternatives that would more adequately meld climate adaptation and environmental justice concerns. The study of CEP, as shown above, is not limited to scholars working in the discipline of political science. Indeed, the field draws on the much broader sweep of environmental studies to ask questions about power, governance, and distribution of human welfare with insights from anthropology, geology, urban studies, and sociology. The contributions of these disciplines in broadening the contours of environmental politics include the chapters by Christopher Gore on urban environmental anthropology, Manisha Anantharaman on ethnographies of informal work and the circular economy in India, and Raul Pacheco-​Vega on employing ethnographic methods to study water and waste. Several chapters in this volume call for more consideration of underutilized approaches in both method and methodology. Notably, the chapter by Barkin et al. challenges CEP scholars to engage in more “methodological creativity” by employing interpretive epistemology alongside quantitative methods, a relatively rare combination in the field. In exploring trends over the past decade, the Handbook highlights the growth in scholarship about a broader range of countries and regions than the initial focus on Europe and the United States, with growth in coverage of “developing” countries, authoritarian states, and the Global South. Important work on globally influential countries such as Brazil, China, South Africa, and India is growing rapidly, as is work that compares cases in the Global South and grapples thematically with issues of great salience to a broader range of countries. In this volume, the expanded geographic scope is well captured in contributions that draw on extensive fieldwork and field knowledge of non-​Western contexts. These include the chapters by Barandiarán on Chile, Alcañiz and Sanchez-​Rivera on Puerto Rico, Pacheco-​Vega on Mexico, Henry on Russia, Kashwan on India, Kauffman on Ecuador, al-​Suwaidan and Mazaheri on rentier states in the Persian Gulf, also examined in the chapter by Rabinowitz, Songhkhun et al. on the Mekong Basin, Gore on African cities, Anantharaman on India, Daoudy on Syria, and Duffy and Massé on South Africa. This trend is also seen in comparative studies of energy transitions and industrial policy in low-​ and middle-​income countries (e.g., Hochstetler 2021; Lewis, this volume).

4    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal Furthermore, comparative regional studies, for example of Africa and Latin America, are also on the rise. Beyond simply including more of the world’s states and societies in CEP scholarship, however, this work is increasingly recognized as theory-​generating and not just testing theoretical propositions developed elsewhere. In other words, conceptual and theoretical frameworks constructed and developed mostly via social science research in and about Europe and North America are being challenged, augmented, or replaced by scholarship about the rest of the world. For example, Kate Neville’s (2021) work develops a framework for understanding contestation and resistance to energy projects based on her research in Kenya’s Tana Delta and Canada’s Yukon and deploying scholarship from social mobilization theories and political economy. Kathy Hochstetler’s book (2021) analyzes renewable energy outcomes across countries based on her comparative work on Brazil and South Africa. Hochstetler’s contribution to this volume argues that CEP scholarship should continue to interrogate and de-​center the North–​South binary in comparative politics scholarship. She also argues that environmental politics scholars should engage more with the classic questions and analytical tools of comparative politics scholarship. The Handbook also finds new trends in CEP scholarship, particularly in more explicit attention to the comparative study of environmental injustice and intersectional inequities. Environmental hazards are often distributed unequally, reflecting entrenched relationships of inequality and exclusion based on class, caste, racial, gender, citizenship, tribal, and Indigenous ascriptions (see contributions by Compaoré and Andrews, Aklin and Bartley, for example). The unequal distribution of environmental hazards and increased vulnerability to these hazards based on lack of adequate access to healthcare, basic services, and civic representation, among other factors, can be understood as a form of “slow violence” (Nixon 2011). These injustices include colonial origins of land and biodiversity conservation (e.g. chapters by Duffy and Massé, and Fuentes-​George), the siting of landfills near communities of color, and lack of access to clean water and air (Marion Suiseeya). Meanwhile Sowers and Weinthal’s chapter draws our attention to the many human rights violations from the growing inclination of military combatants to target and destroy civilian and environmental infrastructure. Globally, the field of environmental justice and rights has examined the role of environmental defenders and activists in protecting the environment and community livelihoods. It has also explored new forms of law and jurisprudence that call into questions patterns of economic growth and consumption, putting forward the rights of nature. Gellers and Jeffords’s contribution seeks to take stock of evidence about whether and under what conditions the increasingly diverse set of “environmental rights” produce meaningful outcomes in implementation. The question of environmental injustice extends beyond simply that of humans to non-​humans. Because politics, broadly understood, is usually considered a domain of collective human action, political science has not embraced animals, plants, insects, and other nonhumans as subjects and agents, as an influential strand of environmental history has done. David Pellow’s chapter argues that scholars and activists should consider how to build upon discursive and conceptual linkages between movements for racial, environmental, climate, and animal justice. The overlaps between considerations of non-​ humans, along with claims for the “rights of nature” and struggles against environmental racism are well articulated in the chapters by Kemi Fuentes-​George and Craig Kauffman. These chapters outline an important set of questions for CEP scholars moving forward.

Introduction   5 Dustin Mulvaney’s contribution links these discussions and CEP research to the growing “just energy transitions” literature. The remainder of this chapter introduces the major themes of each section by putting the chapters within it in dialogue with each other. We also note where specific chapters speak to important issues raised in other sections.

Part I:  States, Domestic Political Institutions, and Policymaking The nation-​state is the traditional locus of environmental policymaking, and Part I takes stock of advances in studies of state policy and practice. The chapters explore the growth and scope of environmental regulation in various countries, the turn to neoliberalism, and recent rollbacks in environmental regulation under right-​populist regimes, as in Chile. The contributions also examine subnational variation in effectiveness, particularly in federal systems, and the impact of domestic politics on broader environmental issues and the design and implementation of international environmental regimes. Variations in state capacity and legacies of state formation shape both supranational and subnational forms of environmental governance. James Meadowcroft’s “The Environmental State and Its Limits” asks us to reflect on the accomplishments, the very demonstrable limits, and the continuing potential of decades of effort to “green” states since the 1960s. Air pollution issues and regulation in wealthier countries offer illustrative examples of substantial environmental achievements in many countries, alongside persistent failures to grapple with the ecological and human health challenges. Meadowcroft traces the construction of contemporary understandings of the “environment” and the parallel idea that states are responsible for various forms of environmental protection through attempts to regulate various undesirable outcomes. While such regulation is often “ratcheted up” over time, involving changing scientific and technical understandings alongside political activism and advocacy, the limits of this approach are manifest in the long list of current air pollution-​related environmental challenges. Meadowcroft challenges researchers and practitioners to ask questions about the potential of environmental states to move beyond regulating adverse impacts toward a focus on transforming production and consumption in more sustainable directions. David Vogel’s chapter, “California’s Environmental Policy Leadership,” focuses on one of the globe’s leading environmental policy entities: the US state of California. He explores several dimensions of California’s environmental leadership and the impact of this leadership well beyond California’s borders, with particular attention to energy, climate change, air pollution, and chemicals regulation. This work connects the California “case” to US and comparative environmental federalism and adds to scholarship comparing national and subnational public sector leaders and political processes around the globe (e,g., Selin and VanDeveer 2015). Javiera Barandiarán’s contribution takes us to Chile, focusing on how neoliberal ideas, assumptions, and goals are embedded in environmental policies through state institutions and constitutional provisions. Her work, which deploys scholarship from the

6    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies, explores relationships between the state, science, society, and nature—​in part via attention to markets for scientific knowledge and the persistent impacts on the credibility and perceived independence of scientific knowledge creation engendered by neoliberal policies. Barandiaran contrasts Chile’s neoliberal constitutional principles, and the neoliberal democracy’s “umpire state” these helped create, with Ecuador’s 2008 constitutional reforms that attempt to center Indigenous-​ informed concepts of “good living.” She calls for more research attention to diverse civic epistemologies institutionalized in states and societies and what impacts these have on environmental rights, policies, and the organization and influence of scientific knowledge. The next contribution, “National Climate Mitigation Policy in Europe” by Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie, focuses on the well-​studied and dynamic area of European climate politics. They note that Europe’s reputation for climate change policy leadership often masks huge variance in stringency, content, consistency, and impacts of national climate change policies across European states. Furthermore, a series of political, economic, and public health crises in Europe since 2010 differentially impacted national climate policymaking. They argue that the frequent focus on climate leaders—​and the simple notion that other states are laggards—​obscures substantial political variance and complexity. It also hides the unequal impacts of climate change on marginalized populations and obscures the host of actors beyond the state engaged in climate policymaking. Kathryn Hochstetler’s chapter takes the critique of simplistic binaries between environmental leaders and laggards far beyond Europe. She argues that the persistent division in much environmental politics scholarship between countries in the Global South and the Global North does not serve well either the study of the environment or of comparative politics. A small number of advanced industrialized countries still dominate the environmental literature, while the vast diversity of environmental ambitions, outcomes, and politics in the Global South remains understudied. As she argues, “The understudy of most of the world’s countries, most of which are developing countries, and the understudy of critical comparative politics topics in them means that we too often work with negative concepts once we move outside the advanced industrialized world.” Ascribed deficits in state capacity, financing, and leadership all too often figure in lieu of robust comparative analysis of developing countries. Moreover, the conceptual divide between North and South narrows research agendas in both. Many environmental studies of the Global South continue to focus on such topics as conservation and natural resources rather than exploring the politics of pressing environmental issues regarding cities, service provision, sanitation, and the political system more broadly, although this is changing as some of the chapters in the volume attest. Moreover, studies in and of the Global South increasingly figure prominently in the comparative scholarship on environmental movements and rights, as also demonstrated in the Handbook. Hochstetler further notes that moving beyond and away from assuming a North–​South conceptual divide enables comparative scholarship on the rise of populist parties, democratic backsliding, and political polarization that characterize polities such as the United States, Brazil, Hungary, and Turkey. The next two chapters analyze how policy responses to natural disasters—​floods and hurricanes—​are shaped by both domestic and transnational factors. Elizabeth Albright’s contribution is a historically informed comparative assessment of climate and flood risk management in the Netherlands and Hungary. Despite substantial differences in geography and political history and institutions, she finds substantial similarities between the

Introduction   7 two states’ approaches as both move to reconceptualize and manage flood risks through climate change adaptation lenses. In fact, catastrophic flooding in both countries in the 2000s seems to have pushed states in similar discursive and policy directions and produced similar challenges in terms of reforming and integrating policy approaches across a host of domestic institutions. She also finds barriers to civil society engagement in these policy areas in both countries. Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelissse Sanchez-​Rivera’s chapter, “Climate Disasters, Inequality and Perceptions of Government Assistance,” focuses on the question of who citizens believe is responsible for post-​disaster relief and the failures in relief and recovery after a disaster. This focus on post-​disaster responsibility attribution draws on experiences following three damaging hurricanes in 2017, with a particular focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The chapter, moreover, shows that additional research is needed to understand the comparative politics of climate disasters, given the likely influence of governance structures, partisanship, ideology, and social and economic inequity. The last two chapters in this section explore how international and regional environmental governance is shaped by domestic capacities and institutional arrangements. Maria Ivanova and her coauthors focus the comparative analysis on states’ implementation of the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) they have signed and ratified. The chapter assesses implementation efforts in 13 countries, from the Global North and the Global South, related to four MEAs focused on hazardous waste, persistent organic pollutants, wetlands, and trade in endangered species. Their analysis deploys a database index of MEA implementation that includes information about measures taken by states (and reported by states) regarding national policies, regional collaboration, and data collection and management. Their work demonstrates that, contrary to oft-​seen generalizations about countries in the Global South, several such countries perform extremely well—​including Rwanda and Vietnam. The authors argue that there is substantial, often overlooked, environmental leadership potential among states in the Global South. Beth DeSombre’s chapter applies comparative analysis to interstate organizations called regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs). About 20 RFMOs have been negotiated by states to improve the management of high seas fisheries (fisheries that otherwise are beyond state jurisdiction). Some RFMOs focus on specific fish, such as tuna, halibut, or pollock, in a particular oceanic region (e.g., the Pacific or the Bering Sea), while others seek to regulate multiple fisheries for a region (such as the Mediterranean). The organizations vary in terms of the organization of scientific knowledge, voting procedures, decision rules, monitoring, and enforcement processes. As DeSombre outlines, RFMO regulatory variation is substantial, as is the effectiveness of said regulation across RFMOs.

Part II:  Methods and Conceptual Considerations Since CEP scholars embrace a wide array of qualitative and quantitative methodological choices, we have included a section in the Handbook that focuses specifically on

8    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal methods to illuminate the rich methodological diversity and pluralism of the field. Methods used by CEP scholars range from ethnographic field research and archival studies to network analysis and large-​N statistical studies. Increasingly, research is carried out in collaboration and partnership with communities, as described by many of the chapters on environmental justice and Indigenous rights. The chapters in the Handbook highlight the broad array of methods deployed to tackle questions relevant to the field of CEP. The chapter by J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees argues that CEP should interrogate the common assumption that quantitative methods are associated with comparative inference questions while interpretive questions are associated with qualitative methods. These methodological associations, they argue, simply do not have a robust epistemological basis. The chapter, “Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods and Comparative Environmental Politics,” offers two illustrative case studies of the effective use of quantitative methods for interpretive research without embedding those methods in epistemological positivism. One case examines patterns of environmental performance and foreign policy in India and China while the other explores efforts by Indigenous and traditional communities in the Amazon Basin to oppose dam construction that negatively impacts their communities. The chapter closes by offering important distinctions between method, methodology, and epistemology. Instead, it calls for approaches grounded in methodological pluralism, reflectivity, and creativity, approaches that refuse to blithely assume simplistic connections between particular methods and epistemologies. Raul Pacheco-​Vega’s contribution focuses our attention on the merits of ethnographic research methods and contributions of these to CEP, with reference to studying vulnerable communities. Pacheco-​ Vega defines ethnography as “the systematic observation of populations and communities with the intention of learning about the cultural inner workings of a societal group.” His chapter draws on research related to bottled water consumption and informal waste picking to illustrate aspects of how ethnographic research can be designed and carried out and some of the contributions it can make to CEP. Annica Kronsell and her three coauthors’ chapter embarks on an intersectional exploration of climate change institutions in Sweden. Using documentary analysis and interviews they explore how a set of social issues are understood in four Swedish governmental climate institutions—​the Environmental Protection Agency, the Traffic Agency, the Energy Agency, and the Innovation Agency. While social issues are widely recognized, they are lower in priority than technological innovation and economic incentives and difficult to integrate with these dominant orientations. The authors advocate the use of more feminist and intersectional approaches in the study of CEP. Nicole Detraz’s contribution, “Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics,” also illustrates the value of deploying gendered and feminist lenses in CEP. Detraz finds that population discourses, particularly those associated with climate change, often continue to rely on rigid gender norms and problematic assumptions about which people or communities in society are framed as environmental saviors and which as environmental problems. While population discourses may have shifted away from early, more extreme rhetorics, she calls on social scientists to critically examine their own use of language and reflect on their roles in promulgating discourses that cast marginalized women as environmental burdens, potentially impeding environmental and gender justice.

Introduction   9

Part III:  Movements and Activism in Comparative Environmental Politics Central to comparative politics and environmental politics is the study of social movements and political activism. Environmental activism, in particular, has manifested itself in many ways across the world depending on different institutional and historical contexts and has involved different coalitions of actors. CEP has long explored how people mobilize around specific issue areas and influence environmental outcomes. Regime type can, for example, influence the creation and form of environmental organizations and movements; authoritarian countries like Russia are increasingly putting restrictions on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), forcing them to register as foreign agents (see Henry). CEP has also highlighted processes by which domestic and international environmental NGOs forge alliances to tackle environmental problems, as was the case in Kazakhstan (Weinthal and Watters 2010). In democracies, environmental movements may morph into political parties, or environmental NGOs may build coalitions with different political parties to further their agendas. Chapters in this section showcase different repertoires of action for addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustices across a range of political spaces. David Naguib Pellow’s chapter explores tensions between social movements focused on climate and environmental justice and those centered on animal liberation, two areas of CEP scholarship to which he has contributed substantially. The chapter explores warfare and militarization as phenomena and cases with common, dire short-​and long-​term consequences for humans (especially marginalized communities) and other species. Such consequences illustrate the potential common interests of environmental and multispecies justice and the creation of “deeply intersectional” movements. Pellow concludes with a fascinating discussion of what he calls “multispecies abolition democracy”—​a concept rooted in the work of W. E. B. Du Bois. “As much as prison and slavery abolitionists have articulated powerful narratives of freedom for people oppressed by institutions that cage and restrict their mobility, that political project is incomplete without a consideration of the fuller range of beings—​nonhumans—​who are also caged and consumed by structural violence,” he writes. In pushing scholars of comparative environmental politics to consider the welfare of other species, Pellow argues that abolitionists and radical reformers for racial and social justice offer a repertoire of language and practice that can inspire deeper and broader commitments to “multispecies” justice. The contribution by Jennifer Allan and Jennifer Hadden explores civil society participation in CEP, asking questions about what the growing size, diversity, and complexity of civil society networks means for scholarship. Their examination of environmental civil society over time argues that growing complexity within civil society networks, with respect to outcomes and impacts, and growing contention within civil society pose several challenges to contemporary scholarship. They highlight a need for further cross-​national comparative research that includes more of the developing world and engages debates about legitimacy and private authority, topics on which both have written extensively. Joost de Moor focuses our attention on “Time and Place in Climate Activism.” The climate movement has been fundamentally shaped by the temporality of climate change: namely, many of its consequences are or will be inevitable and irreversible, making urgency a

10    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal central, increasing, and driving force in climate movements. Because time is partially socially constructed, its meanings and implications are contested within climate activism, impacting aspects of politics, strategy, and goals. Time is also contextual. What might seem a future threat that can be managed by more privileged places and communities is already an unfolding catastrophe for disadvantaged communities. Framing and deploying urgency within climate politics shapes and reshapes climate activism across time, space, and scale. The chapter by Laura Henry asks how environmental NGOs continue their activism under conditions of increasing authoritarian governance. Henry’s chapter explores the Russian experience, from the 1990s post-​Soviet year through the 2020s. She explains conditions in the 1990s that allowed for the emergence of Russian environmental NGOs and charts the increasing hostility of the Russian state to these NGOs, which undermined some of the very conditions that facilitated their emergence, such as initially allowing and then banning foreign financial support. As Russia became a more centralized, authoritarian, and repressive political regime, Russian environmentalists adapted their strategies and activism, as social movement theory might predict. She thus argues that we should not overlook new forms of activism that could emerge even as previous forms are repressed or forestalled. Peter Jacques’s “Anglo Fears” focuses our attention on the comparative politics of climate denial across borders. His work demonstrates that broad-​based, politicized rejection of climate science is a well-​funded and well-​organized counter movement to oppose global and national climate movements and forestall climate mitigation policies. The chapter focuses on the United States and the United Kingdom as the most important host countries for the organized counter movement as they center and help export climate denialism in Australian, Canadian, and South African politics (among others). Jacques demonstrates that climate denialism is primarily an Anglo effort, connected to anxieties about losing long-​held privileges and ways of life. Joseph Brown’s chapter, “Civil Disobedience, Sabotage and Violence in US Environmental Activism,” explores the diversity of tactics used by environmental activists and traces debates within environmental movements about when to escalate from legal, accommodationist strategies to more confrontational, yet still largely nonviolent approaches. He draws examples primarily from the United States but also from Canada and other countries in which activists sought to halt logging in old-​growth forests, delay and cancel fossil fuel pipelines, and hinder whaling vessels. These campaigns were often characterized by broad coalitions of activists and stepwise escalation in tactics when legal and political challenges to state and corporate decision-​ making proved insufficient. Environmental movements have systematically eschewed violence, defined by Brown as causing harm to people without their consent, but smaller groups have embraced civil disobedience, nonviolent struggle, and, less frequently, sabotage (“ecotage” in the language of EarthFirst!). Violence, he shows, has been far more frequently employed against environmental activists, particularly those engaging in nonviolence civil disobedience.

Part IV:  Markets and Firms in Comparative Environmental Politics CEP has understood firms—​whether private or state-​owned—​to be central actors in generating environmental outcomes, often with a focus on corporate interests in shaping

Introduction   11 institutions. Firms and corporations often circumvent state-​led regulations and instead push for voluntary governance mechanisms, including certification schemes to promote sustainability outcomes, for example. While environmental groups have frequently promoted eco-​labels and certification schemes to expand information and transparency for consumers about products that they buy and consume, companies across sectors and countries have understood the value of such certification schemes and labels. CEP scholars have examined the use of private regulation in promoting more sustainable development and environmental management. Some comparative research has focused on what makes some third-​party certifiers more credible than others (Starobin and Weinthal 2010). Extractive industries have increasingly relied on private regulation and certification schemes, especially in countries with weak governance or where the state has opted to decentralize policy and regulation for the extractive sector. Tim Bartley, in his chapter on “Territory, Private Authority, and Rights,” examines these questions in relation to sustainable agriculture and forestry certifications. Such market-​ based solutions ask corporations rather than states to address the environmental and social impacts of corporate extractive policies. As a result, transnational sustainability standards are increasingly contested, especially when they come into conflict with Indigenous customary practices. Bartley’s chapter compares forest certification in Indonesia and China to illuminate the tension that ensues when private sustainability standards encounter other land claims and shows how these conflicts vary across different institutional contexts. The chapter furthermore highlights the application of “free and prior informed consent” for sustainability standards to Indigenous land. Hamish van der Ven, in his chapter on “Comparing Voluntary Sustainability Standards,” continues to unpack what CEP scholars know about voluntary sustainability standards as well as what is missing in our knowledge toolkit. Van der Ven undertakes a survey of the literature that compares two or more voluntary standards, covering forestry, fisheries, and organic produce. In doing so, he finds a range of methods employed in the literature as well as regional biases. Furthermore, as the comparative literature on sustainability standards fails to focus on environmental impacts, van der Ven argues for a new research agenda that will support CEP scholars in addressing the many weaknesses he identifies in the certification and standards literature. Another area of CEP research on markets and firms has to do with market-​based approaches in lieu of state-​led governance mechanisms for addressing “wicked” environmental problems. While states have voiced their collective support for climate action at the international level with the signing of the Paris Agreement, much of the actual work on addressing climate change is decentralized to states. Here, too, market-​based approaches are being introduced at the national level as a means for states to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). Yet comparative politics tells us that states have unequal capacities to meet their NDCs as well as different institutional structures that shape their policy choices at the national level. Carley Chavara, Christian Elliot, Matthew Hoffman, and Matthew Paterson, in their chapter on “Continuity and Change in Carbon Market Politics,” investigate the variation in domestic institutions and political economies across five cases—​the European Union, China, Canada, South Korea, and Indonesia—​to explain developments in carbon markets. While the chapter highlights the transnational diffusion of policy ideas across different institutional contexts, it also suggests that strategies to decentralize climate policy through a focus on carbon markets may prevent countries from introducing more sweeping programs to reduce carbon emissions.

12    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal

Part V:  Environmental Justice and Rights The chapters in Part V offer a deep dive into questions of environmental justice and rights. In doing so, authors apply a comparative lens to ask, “What is environmental justice and rights”? While scholars concur that there is a “normative commitment to justice” (Marion Suiseeya) and that environmental justice is concerned with a range of issues ranging from climate justice to food justice, the chapters here investigate under what circumstances environmental rights make a difference (Gellers and Jeffords), how communities struggle to protect their communities’ well-​being and the environment (Marion Suiseeya), and claims for the rights of nature in which ecosystems are subjects with rights (Kauffman). Permeating scholarship on environmental justice and rights within CEP are calls for action to rectify the exclusions of marginalized populations from decisions about the costs and benefits of natural resource use and the siting of polluting activities that affect their communities and livelihoods. In many instances, governments in both industrialized and industrializing regions have purposefully perpetuated racist policies that incentivized environmental harms and extraction in communities of color. The CEP literature on environmental justice and rights, as highlighted in this Handbook, recognizes that justice manifests itself in different ways depending on different institutional contexts and different types of environmental struggles. In some parts of the world, communities and activists are fighting for access to clean water and air and reducing exposure to toxic wastes when large polluting industries are sited in their communities, or they are fighting to prevent the construction of large dams that could erase their ancestral homelands and cause forced displacement. In other parts of the world, activists are fighting to protect forests upon which their livelihoods depend and protect land being appropriated by large agro-​conglomerates for export crops. Frontline environmental justice communities, as Marion Suiseeya notes in Fiji, for example, are increasingly at risk from existential threats such as climate change. Authors in this handbook forcefully argue through a comparative lens that environmental justice and environmental rights require rectifying situations in which human beings are deprived of rights to clean and healthy environments. Kemi Fuentes-​George’s chapter on environmental justice highlights the comparative dimensions of justice central to environmental and social struggles across the world. While the language of environmental justice and environmental racism has manifested itself in a particular context pertaining to the struggles of largely Black and Hispanic communities in the American South, Fuentes-​George shows that these concepts help to capture broader social justice struggles and activism in New Zealand, Mexico, Jamaica, and Brazil, among other places. He draws on a wide range of cases, which include fossil fuel extraction in industrialized countries and agricultural development in the Global South, to illustrate how socioeconomically marginalized communities continue to pay the costs for a global economic system premised on economic growth and consumption. One important takeaway from Fuentes-​George’s chapter is a “critique of ‘colorblind’ mainstream environmentalism,” which has not overcome “racist and ecologically unsustainable policies.” The chapters also shed light on the different means and mechanisms by which groups pursue justice across and within different countries. Some political systems have increasingly adopted rights-​based approaches for rectifying injustices incurred by many groups

Introduction   13 over decades in which natural resources, for example, were appropriated for use by the state or the private sector. Fuentes-​George, in his chapter, proposes mechanisms to “promote and democratize information” and include “marginalized participation in policymaking” to facilitate a more just and sustainable environment. Kim Marion Suiseeya, in her chapter on “Critical Perspectives on Representation, Equity, and Rights,” adds another dimension to our understanding of environmental justice by treating environmental justice as a driver rather than as an unintended outcome of the policy and political process. Marion Suiseeya asks whether theories of environmental racism and discriminatory siting can help to explain environmental justice politics across a range of countries. Her chapter makes the case that environmental justice is a “political phenomenon,” and that environmental injustice varies by specific context. The chapter draws attention to the local dimensions of environmental injustice while demonstrating connections to a global environmental justice movement and the role of activists in building networks across different environmental justice movements. She further examines how environmental justice is operationalized and defined in practice. In like manner, Prakash Kashwan seeks to further a formal comparative environmental justice approach in his chapter on “Globalization of Environmental Justice.” Recognizing that the roots of environmental justice are widespread, Kashwan offers a systematic comparison of how environmental justice is manifested in the environmental politics of different countries. Through an in-​depth comparison of environmental justice advocacy in the United States and India, the chapter highlights the political economy of institutions in shaping the scope and form of the environmental justice movements. Several chapters discuss the expansion of basic rights to non-​human living things, as has been the case in the Ecuadorian 2008 Constitution or the 2010 Law of the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia (e.g. chapters by Fuentes-​George, Kauffman). Craig Kauffman’s chapter on “Rights of Nature: Institutions, Law, and Policy for Sustainable Development” expands on the legal strategy of including “Rights of Nature” provisions in domestic and international policy arenas. Through an extensive comparative review, Kauffman sheds light on the relationship between Rights of Nature (RoN) and human rights and the ensuing implications for rethinking our understanding of sustainable development as ecological sustainability. The intersectionality with Indigenous rights has profound implications for past modes of economic development, as has been the case in Ecuador, where the government canceled mining concessions to protect the Cofán’s community rights (see Kauffman). Given the proliferation of environmental rights, as documented in the chapters in this section, Gellers and Jeffords offer a roadmap forward for assessing the conditions under which environmental rights are producing meaningful outcomes. The global environmental politics field has struggled with defining effectiveness; at times effectiveness has meant solving an environmental problem, whereas at other times it has meant compliance with an international environmental regime (Young 1994). In similar manner, CEP scholars may not agree on what is meant by efficacy. Gellers and Jeffords open a discussion regarding implementation of human and non-​human rights to consider examples ranging from the impacts of expanding access to improved water sources and sanitation facilities to the practice of democratic participation. They ask CEP scholars to ponder situations where protecting rights of nature might hamper the welfare of populations if people were

14    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal no longer able to access a water body for drinking water, for instance. Overall, their chapter pushes the research agenda on RoN to adopt evidence-​based approaches for evaluating rights-​based forms of environmental protection. Farhana Sultana’s chapter, “Gendering the Human Right to Water in the Context of Sustainable Development,” highlights the intersectional and gendered aspects of rights and justice on the ground as applied to the human right to water. Sultana argues that rights are linked and cannot be disaggregated precisely because they are co-​constitutive of a broader set of issues pertaining to sustainable development and social justice. Sultana explains why gendering the human right to water is critical for achieving a more just and inclusive future. For example, Sultana shows how advancing women’s human right to water helps to empower women and gender minorities and how, when governments fail to facilitate these rights, they reduce other rights to dignity and well-​being for women and girls. Overall, the chapters offer new paths to address climate change, mass extinction, and environmental destruction through calls for expanding rights to marginalized communities and ecosystems, arguing that conventional environmental laws, policies, and regulations are inadequate. Most notably, these chapters highlight the insights from CEP, in which global environmental governance is increasingly rooted in the domestic politics of states. This is particularly the case because domestic law should not only address the demands and grievances of communities harmed by extractive policies, but also should recognize ecosystems as subjects in the fight to prevent global environmental destruction and the climate crisis. Rights of nature are also important in changing global economic institutions that have prioritized the commodification of nature (e.g., Kauffman’s chapter).

Part VI:  Natural Resources and Comparative Political Economy Comparative politics, and specifically the subfield of comparative political economy, has long analyzed how variations in state–​business relations impact development trajectories and the evolution of specific economic sectors. States around the world continue to actively shape the supposedly “invisible hand” of the market through a variety of industrial policies. Joanna Lewis’s chapter, “Green Industrial Policy After Paris,” examines how states pursue “green” industrial policies designed to create opportunities for the domestic production of renewable energy technologies. The rapid uptake of renewable energies is essential to limit global warming, yet industrial policies that protect domestic markets can also create distortions and inefficiencies that limit innovation and slow the uptake of new technologies. Joanna Lewis shows how many countries—​both advanced industrial economies and “developing” countries—​have experimented with a wide range of industrial policies, including local content requirements, tax and other financial incentives, domestic certifications and standards, research and development funds, and state auctions and contracts for wind and solar projects. She argues that China stands out for its early and highly effective strategy of fostering a domestic wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) industry by deploying green industrial policies, despite friction with the World Trade Organization, the United States, and foreign renewable energy companies as a result. India has proved less successful in breaking

Introduction   15 into the solar market, partly because it confronts global and domestic markets in which Chinese solar PV exports remain cheaper than other alternatives. Mohanned Al-Suwidan and Nimah Mazaheri’s chapter on “Natural Resources and the Politics of Distribution” explores the various ways in which revenues collected by states from the sale of natural resources like oil and gas can be distributed to the population. In doing so they revisit some of the assumptions made in the extensive comparative politics literature on rentier states and the so-​called resource curse. They highlight that, because of variations in state capacity, regime type, citizen needs and preferences, and resource ownership, universal prescriptions on how to manage natural resource rents are misplaced. Instead, they called for enhanced empirical comparative research on distributive policies, including sourcing more accurate data through community surveys, geospatial mapping, and close attention to the potentially adverse outcomes of policy innovations. Several chapters in this section highlight the importance of analyzing environmental issues not just across spatial scales, but also across various timescales. The chapter “Temporality, Limited Statehood, and Africa’s Abandoned Mines,” by W. R. Nadège Compaoré and Nathan Andrews, asks us to consider what happens after large, open pit mines in sub-​Saharan Africa close and are abandoned by the international firms that contracted with states to run the mines. The chapter highlights how domestic regulation, international frameworks, and contracts between international mining firms and states all “silence” the issue of mine closure by simply not including provisions for environmental accountability after the mines close. Instead, they note that firms, states, and development agencies continue to embrace mining as a development strategy despite its dismal record of social and environmental harm. The chapter by Songkhun Nillasithanukroh, Ekta Patel, Edmund Malesky, and Erika Weinthal, “Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Mekong: The Interplay of Actors, Legal Governance, and Political Economy,” analyzes the political economy of the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Rather than invoking “weak enforcement” or “weak state capacity” in explaining the growing trade in wildlife despite formal laws and international treaties such as CITES, the authors analyze the political economy of wildlife supply chains (i.e., suppliers who poach and harvest wildlife, middlemen who handle transport and trade, and consumers of illegal wildlife commodities such as ivory and rhino horns). The authors examine attempts to curtail trade in illegal wildlife through outright bans, regulating hunting in protected areas, legalizing farms for captive breeding of endangered species such as turtles and crocodiles, and other means. They argue that, by addressing the incentives created by legal loopholes, jurisdictional overlap, criminalization, low wages for enforcement officers, and pervasive corruption across the supply chain, the Mekong Basin countries could achieve more effective interventions to limit trade in illegal wildlife.

Part VII:  The Politics of Energy Transitions Part VII’s focus on the politics of energy transitions examines how different states have responded to climate change through investing in alternative energy sources. In the early

16    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal 2000s, shale gas was pitched as a clean source of energy, especially when compared to coal. Such shifts in energy production and sources of energy are not simply driven by changes in technology that make new sources available, however. Rather, different countries may adopt strikingly different approaches to new sectors, such as hydraulic fracking and the extraction of unconventional shale oil. France early on banned hydraulic fracturing, whereas, in the United States, regulation was left in the hands of US states and the private sector rather than the federal government (Keulertz et al. 2018). The US industry also supported voluntary regulations as opposed to mandatory disclosures for the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process (Neville et al. 2017). The lack of coordinated oversight and baseline studies, however, meant that little information is available to the public on total water withdrawals or cumulative chemical loads in groundwater from multiple fracking operations. Since the US oil and gas industry is in the hands of the private sector and the sector remains largely unregulated, many small and medium size companies turned the United States into a leading producer of shale gas even as it became clear that this development had numerous negative environmental and social impacts, including methane pollution. Shanti Gamper-​Rabindran, in her chapter on “Fracked Communities and Taxpayers in US and Argentina,” examines the variation in political, legal, and financial institutions that allowed the shale gas industry to externalize negative economic, health, and environmental costs. What is striking in both cases is the power of state and local governments to prevent affected communities, including Indigenous communities, from restricting shale gas development in their areas. Ultimately, to push meaningful energy transitions forward, Gamper-​Rabindran argues that entrenched industries able to capture the policy process and externalize costs will need to be reformed. While renewables have the potential to reduce energy poverty and thus contribute broadly to social welfare and economic growth globally, their introduction faces numerous political, economic, and social challenges. Michaël Aklin, in his chapter on “Renewable Energy, Energy Poverty, and Climate Change,” probes what hinders the expansion of renewable energy given its potential economic benefits and contributions toward decarbonization. Aklin sheds light on the high costs of renewables to consumers and the variation in government support for, and social acceptance of, the renewable sector. While much attention has focused on solar as the means to expand energy access in many low-​income countries, Aklin notes that renewable energy may not fully raise living standards. It is essential to analyze the comparative dimensions of the supply chains underpinning new energy sources to understand their diverse social and environmental impacts. Dustin Mulvaney, in his chapter “Renewable Energy Supply Chains and the Just Transition,” shows that while much attention has focused on the importance of new energy sources to address global climate change, different types of renewable energy depend on different materials and supply chains, with differential impacts for actors involved in the different sites of production. For example, cobalt is required for batteries, and its production, refining, and manufacturing takes place across a broad range of countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Japan, and Germany. Given varying institutional structures and geographies, supply chains may generate more negative impacts in some countries than in others. As Mulvaney notes, “The attribute of being renewable is not sufficient to understand

Introduction   17 the implications for sustainability or environmental justice, as there are many ways that renewable energy could be produced, integrated, or deployed, and these configurations affect who benefits and who is made more vulnerable by energy transitions.” Last, to decarbonize the world economy, the countries likely to be most resistant are those that depend most on fossil fuel exports as their main source of revenue. Daniel Rabinowitz, in his chapter on “The Rise and Fall of Fossil Fuels,” suggests that even the most fossil-​fuel dependent countries can be incentivized to lead the transition to renewable energy. Facing an uncertain future owing to climate change that is leading major importers of oil and gas to shift to renewables, and the negative consequences of rising temperatures and increasing drought, ruling elites in Saudi Arabia and other major oil-​exporting Gulf countries may find reasons to undertake an energy transition.

Part VIII:  Cities and Sustainability Cities are increasingly important actors in environmental and climate governance. Their demographic and political weight within their respective countries give them even more prominence in setting national and regional environmental agendas. Issues of urban sustainability are thus at the forefront of comparative environmental inquiry. All three chapters in this section use comparative analysis to take seriously the diversity of cities and their distinctive roles as nodes in local, national, and transnational political economies and cultures. As the chapters show, CEP interventions in urban studies benefit from including comparative perspectives grounded in the fields of anthropology, geography, and political ecology. Urbanization constitutes one of the greatest social, economic, and environmental transformations of the past century. Most of the world’s megacities are in Asia and, with the exception of Japan, are found in middle-​or lower-​income countries where they are hubs of government, finance, industry, and trade. Many continue to grow each year, both in terms of population and spatial distribution. Eight of the 23 largest cities in the world (based on total population) are in Asia (China, Japan, and the Philippines), five in South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), four in Latin America (Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil), two in the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt and Turkey), and two in Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria). Rural-​to-​urban migration continues to fuel the expansion of secondary cities, towns, and provincial centers across much of the Global South, as well as in some areas of the United States. In contrast, cities in many advanced industrial countries grow slowly or are losing population, which poses quite different urban dynamics and challenges than the rapidly changing contours of other cities. Christopher Gore, in his chapter “Cities and the Environment in Africa: An Agency-​ Centered Research Agenda,” takes comparative environmental politics to the streets, informal dump sites, and urban agricultural plots of selected cities in sub-​Saharan Africa. Gore builds on development scholarship that emphasizes “co-​production” of environmental governance between civil society actors and urban authorities. His in-​depth, qualitative, field-​based research in Durban, South Africa, and Nairobi, Kenya, as well as in other cities, reveals how residents and city governments can craft innovative, effective interventions

18    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal across such disparate environmental issue areas as solid waste collection, urban climate change adaptation, and urban agriculture. Manisha Anantharaman’s chapter, “Reclaiming the Circular Economy: Informal Work and Grassroots Power,” further highlights the importance of understanding already-​existing urban political economies as a prerequisite for effective and just approaches to sustainability. Her focus is on the people and livelihoods in the informal waste sorting and recycling sector in many cities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Families and micro-​enterprises extract value from waste streams through collecting, sorting, disassembling, refurbishing, and repairing activities and are important but underappreciated actors in the domestic and international waste and recycling trade. State plans to “upgrade” and “improve” informal waste recycling sectors in many of these cities, however, have often marginalized and sometimes dispossessed these communities, motivated in many cases by land speculation, corporate profit, and class-​and caste-​based prejudices. The ideal of a green circular economy, in which waste and materials are indefinitely recycled and reused, is increasingly invoked as a new paradigm for urban sustainability, particularly by some cities in the European Union. Fundamentally, the question of who benefits from novel interventions to “close the loop” in materials and energy is a political one. Anantharaman argues that corporate and state initiatives for new “circular economies” rarely consider the experience and needs of already-​present communities involved in local circular economies. The chapter by Eric Chu and Linda Shi, “Urban Climate Adaptation: Discontents and Alternative Politics,” on comparative urban adaptation, echoes some of the environmental justice themes of the prior two chapters but does so through an epistemological critique of the “dominant ways of knowing” employed by planning and climate professionals in cities across the global North and South. As part of the growing field exploring different forms of “climate urbanism,” Chu and Shi identify shared discourses and approaches in urban adaptation planning for climate change, including extrapolating vulnerability from climate models and prioritizing engineering and “hard” infrastructure projects to deal with climate risks (particularly for sectors considered high-​value or that serve middle-​and upper-​ income communities). Like other forms of urban planning, climate adaptation planning has also been significantly shaped by neoliberal development paradigms calling for privatization of public assets and the shrinking of public services. They note, however, that there is great diversity in city adaptation plans and that some cities have succeeded in incorporating alternative approaches. These include more adequately conceptualizing social/​climate vulnerability in terms of historical marginalization and exclusion, incorporating environmental justice perspectives into adaptation planning, and engaging with civic and climate activists demanding a fundamental restructuring of not only urban energy systems but also entrenched structures of inequality.

Part IX:  Environment, Resources, and Violence The final section expands the volume’s exploration of various relationships between violence and the environment. The chapters in Part IX explore the effects of armed conflict

Introduction   19 and “peacetime” military activities on the environment; the militarization of conservation efforts; and the ways in which civil wars are more a product of state policies than drought or climate change per se. War and armed conflict have long wrought a grim toll on the physical environment and human and non-​humans alike, as David Pellow’s chapter in Part III highlights. The stark images of denuded landscapes destroyed in trench warfare in World War I, the fire-​bombed cities of World War II, aerial spraying of agent orange in Vietnam by US forces, the billowing smoke and fires of the Kuwaiti oil fires in the Gulf War, and the destruction of Ukrainian cities and infrastructure all show only the most visible and immediate forms of harm. As Jeannie Sowers and Erika Weinthal show in their chapter, “War and Environmental Politics: A Comparative Perspective,” preparation for war, militarism, and the ongoing activities of military-​industrial complexes impose large environmental footprints and long-​term environmental impacts, only some of which are adequately documented given the histories of secrecy around these institutions. The environmental and health impacts of the nuclear arms race on remote areas of the United States and the Soviet Union illustrate some of these issues, as does ongoing spraying of herbicides and defoliants for security purposes. They further review the literature on environmental security to show how natural resources such as timber, diamonds, water, and fossil fuels are used by parties to conflict—​as a weapon, as a source of revenue, and sometimes as a locus for negotiation and cooperation. Last, they warn that the wartime targeting of civilian infrastructures and economic warfare measures such as sanctions can lead not only to long-​term negative impacts on human health but also undermine ecosystem functioning and viability. While Sowers and Weinthal focus on the environmental impacts of war and military-​ industrial activities, Marwa Daoudy’s chapter, “Climate and Conflict: Lessons from the Syria Case,” interrogates assumptions that natural resource scarcity—​and, in particular, droughts—​lead to armed conflict and civil war. Using the case of the mass Syrian uprising in 2011–​2012 and subsequent civil war, Daoudy refutes these arguments. As anthropogenic global warming led to more intense and prolonged droughts across much of the eastern Mediterranean in the 1990s and 2000s, rural communities in northeast Syria had already been rendered vulnerable to food and water insecurity by government policies. The ideological commitment of Syria’s Ba’athist regime to self-​sufficiency in cereals promoted agricultural policies that overextracted groundwater and sought to extend irrigation to areas traditionally used for pastoralism. The uprising itself did not rely on either the areas or the populations most gravely affected by drought. It was instead primarily a revolutionary political challenge to the Assad government, which was widely viewed as neglectful, corrupt, and repressive. Rosaleen Duffy and Francis Massé, in their chapter “The Integration of Conservation and Security: Political Ecologies of Violence and the Illegal Wildlife Trade,” explore the militarization of anti-​poaching efforts in South Africa’s Kruger’s National Park and other national parks, particularly in sub-​Saharan Africa. Increased poaching of rhinos and elephants is part of the expanding global illegal wildlife trade, driven by demand in China and Vietnam for black rhino horn also addressed in the chapter by Nillasithanukroh et al. As Duffy and Masse show, enforcement efforts have an increasingly militarized character. A reliance on military technologies, private security forces, paramilitary training and arming of rangers, and the criminalization of wildlife poaching have come to the fore. The authors note that the “securitization” of conservation is partly in response to the militarization of poaching

20    Jeannie Sowers, Stacy D. VanDeveer, and Erika Weinthal itself, with armed criminal syndicates seen as a threat to the country’s natural heritage. The authors argue that these “enforcement-​first” approaches to conservation foster new discourses of policing, violence, and militarization in and around protected areas, rather than reducing global demand for illegal wildlife or prioritizing resources to address poverty and livelihood opportunities for local communities.

References Hochstetler, Kathryn. Political Economies of Energy Transition: Wind and Solar Powerin Brazil and South Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. Keuleurtz, M., J. Sowers, E. Woertz, and R. Mohtar, R. “The Water-​Energy-​Food Nexus in Arid Regions: The Politics of Problemsheds.” In Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Policy, edited by K. Conca and E. Weinthal, 167–​196. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Neville, Kate J. Fueling Resistance: The Contentious Political Economy of Biofuels and Fracking. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. Neville, Kate, Jennifer Baka, Shanti Gamper-​Rabindran, Karen Bakker, Stefan Andreasson, Avner Vengosh, Alvin Lin, Jewellord N. Singh, and Erika Weinthal. “Debating Unconventional Energy: Social, Political and Economic Implications.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 42 (2017): 241–​266. Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. https://​​10.4159/​harv​ard.978067​4061​194. Selin, Henrik, and Stacy D. VanDeveer. European Union and Environmental Governance. London and New York: Routledge, 2015. Starobin, Shana, and Erika Weinthal. “The Search for Credible Information in Social and Environmental Global Governance: The Kosher Label.” Business and Politics 12, no. 3 (2010): 1–​35. Steinberg, Paul F., and Stacy D. VanDeveer. Comparative Environmental Politics Theory, Practice, and Prospects. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. Weinthal, Erika, and Kate Watters. “The Transformation of Environmental Activism in Central Asia: From Dependent to Interdependent Activism.” Environmental Politics 19, no. 5 (2010): 782–​807. Young, Oran. International Governance: Protecting the Environment in a Stateless Society. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994.

Pa rt I


Chapter 1

The Environmenta l Stat e and Its Li mi ts James Meadowcroft Over the past two decades, scholars directed increased attention to the development of the “environmental,” “green,” or “ecological” state (Dryzek 2003; Eckersley 2004; Barry and Eckersley 2005; Christoff 2005; Duit 2016; Meadowcroft 2005, 2012; Bäckstrand and Kronsell 2017). Although usage of these terms varies, all draw on the fact that modern states have increasingly become enmeshed in the challenge of environmental governance.1 During the last third of the twentieth century advanced industrial countries built elaborate mechanisms of regulation, specialized bureaucracies, and ideational and knowledge systems for addressing environmental challenges. And environmental argument emerged as an irreducible feature of political life. Over the ensuing decades much has been done to improve environmental conditions in the most developed states, and yet the weakness, inconsistency and fragility of these gains is continuously on display. Setting aside the more complex problems of climate change and biodiversity loss, even on the mundane issues of air and water pollution, states with comparatively sophisticated mechanisms of environmental governance (such as Germany or the United States) remain prone to serious “lapses” where they fail to deliver basic standards of environmental protection. Consider the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal that came to light in 2015, where hundreds of millions of citizens (especially in Europe) have been exposed to elevated nitrogen oxide emissions. Or the ongoing lead contamination of drinking water brought to the fore by events in Flint, Michigan, in 2014. Not surprisingly, these and other failures have led some scholars to become skeptical of the achievements of the environmental state, referring to its “decline” (Mol 2016) or to a “glass ceiling” which severely limits its sphere of action (Hausknost 2020; Hatzisavvidou 2020). This chapter reexamines the accomplishments and potential of the environmental state. As its starting point, it considers efforts to address air pollution. This choice may appear paradoxical: If societies now face acute global threats such as climate change, why dwell on the more conventional problem of air pollution? The issue provides an interesting entry point for several reasons. It has a long pedigree, with ordinances regulating smoke going back centuries. And air pollution was among the problems that prompted the establishment of modern systems of environmental governance in the 1960s and 1970s (Weidner and

24   James Meadowcroft Janicke 2002). Despite what is sometimes assumed, the problem is not straightforward, with multiple sources and substances of concern, complex interactions among pollutants in the atmosphere, transboundary impacts, and a continuously evolving understanding of potential harms to humans and natural systems. Controlling air pollution remains a challenge in developed states, to say nothing of developing countries from China and Mexico to India or Nigeria. Recent estimates put worldwide premature deaths associated with air pollution at more than 8 million a year (Vohra et al. 2018). Although it may appear an “easy case” when compared to climate change or preventing biodiversity loss, it is not so easy as to be trivial. Approaching the environmental state on its “home turf ” can therefore provide a useful jumping off point to reflect on its accomplishments and limitations. The chapter is organized into four sections. The first provides a brief introduction to modern environmental governance. The second reviews experience with managing air pollution, showing how political processes mediated through the environmental state have allowed a gradual ratcheting up of standards in the developed countries. The third explores broader implications for environmental governance, suggesting that the potential for existing states to dramatically reduce environmental burdens is far from exhausted. Last, a brief conclusion considers the future of the environmental state and suggests some avenues for further research.

Greening Governance Environmental states emerged during the final three decades of the twentieth century as advanced industrial societies wrestled with increasing environmental dislocation driven by economic development. They involve specialized administrative structures, bodies of law and regulation, systematized scientific knowledge, and the expenditure of state funds to mediate interactions with the environment (Duit et al. 2016). With the birth of the environmental state, continuous intervention to protect the environment became accepted as a legitimate activity of the public power (Dryzek et al. 2002; Meadowcroft 2005). Argument over exactly what this entails has become an irreducible dimension of political life (Barry and Eckersley 2005; Meadowcroft 2012; Bäckstrand and Kronsell 2017). The genesis of this environmental state was closely linked to the emergence of the concept of the environment. Prior to the 1960s “the environment” was rarely invoked to denote the totality of human surroundings which provide the context for societal well-​being but which are being degraded by human activity (Meadowcroft 2017). This notion of a “threatened environment” drew together a disparate array of phenomena (industrial pollution, agricultural chemical use, air and water quality, protection of wildlife and landscapes, conservation of renewable resources, urban living conditions, waste management, and so on), absorbing them into a narrative about the destructive consequences of industrial civilization. Faced with the magnitude of this threat, it made sense to call for national governments to establish specialized systems of control, with dedicated organizations, personnel, knowledge, and budgets, to protect the vulnerable environment and reduce harm to humans and ecosystems. Over time the “official” diagnosis of the seriousness of environmental problems and the scale of the societal effort required to manage them has evolved. Early initiatives focused

The Environmental State and Its Limits    25 on pollution control and clean-​up (Janicke and Weidner 1997; Hanf and Jansen 1998; Tatenhove et al. 2000). Attention later turned to the introduction of “environmental management systems” and to adjusting processes and products to reduce the imposed environmental burden. By the time “sustainable development” received international endorsement at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987), “policy integration” had become a central concern, with the goal of linking environmental considerations into decision-​making across government and throughout society (Nilsson and Eckerberg 2007; Jordan and Lenschow 2008, 2010; Persson et al. 2018). With time, perspectives and approaches initially championed by environmental activists and researchers gradually gained acceptance in the governmental sphere, such as ecosystem management, life-​cycle analysis, adaptive management, carbon pricing, and others (Meadowcroft and Fiorino 2017). Climate change put discussion of global “environmental limits” firmly on the international agenda (Meadowcroft 2012). Recent talk of the circular economy, green industrial policy, a green recovery, and the transition to net-​zero carbon emissions has pointed to an active role for the state in reconfiguring economic processes into more ecologically friendly configurations. The emergence of the environment as a focus for activity by national governments in developed states from the 1970s paved the way for an increasing internationalization of environmental governance through (a) the convergence of policy prescriptions and institutional structures across nation states, encouraged by institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Long 2000), (b) the spread of systems of national environmental control from developed states to an increasing number of developing countries, and (c) the establishment of multilateral and transnational governance mechanisms (Duit et al. 2016). Conceptualizing this history in terms of the evolution of an “environmental state” points to parallels with the twentieth century growth of the “welfare state” (Meadowcroft 2005; Gough 2016), which also emerged as a product of long-​term political conflicts associated with the rise of industrial societies, capitalist economic development, and democratization (Flora and Heidenheimer 1981; Held 1983; Pierson 1998). Discussion of the state (Skocpol 1979; Evans et al. 1985; Pierson 1996; Hague et al. 2019; Hay et al. 2005), the welfare state (Ashford 1986; Arts and Gelissen 2010), the security state (Mabee 2009), and their linkages to “varieties of capitalism” (Hall and Soskice 2001; Hay 2020) has long been a staple of comparative politics as analysts have struggled to understand cross-​national variation in patterns of political and economic power and their evolution over time. While the welfare state focuses on redistribution and service provision (Gough 2008), the environmental state has to date functioned primarily by regulating activities deemed to have environmentally undesirable consequences (Gough and Meadowcroft 2011). Like welfare states, environmental states are but one dimension of a politico-​administrative state structure that is embedded within (and helps to reproduce) a broad set of established socio-​ economic arrangements. Like welfare states, they are not finished products but are constantly reworked through social and political struggle. Environmental goals, programs, and institutions exist in tension with other state functions and structures (Meadowcroft 2012). And the existence of environmental states does not mean that environmental concerns trump other issues any more than welfare states guarantee a permanent end to inequality and social privation.

26   James Meadowcroft The account of the environmental state presented here is broadly consistent with a “neo-​materialist” conception that understands the state as an (only partly integrated) institutional construct that is bound up in and marked by particular social and economic relations. Modern states perform functions critical to social reproduction, but the order they reproduce benefits some groups more than others (Dunleavy and O’Leary 1987; Huber et al. 2015). It is broadly agreed that, over the past half century, environmental states in the developed countries have achieved much to clean up contaminated sites, reduce air and water pollution, improve management of waste and toxic chemicals, ameliorate forestry practices, and extend protected areas (Duit 2014; EEA 2020). These improvements have been secured even as population and economic output in these countries have grown. On the other hand, it seems that while problems may be managed, they rarely go away. Sometimes solutions turn out to have been forms of displacement (where impacts are shifted across media or space or time) or of problem-​substitution (where the new practices generate other difficulties which only gradually become apparent). Over the decades, the scale at which environmental impacts are manifest has grown, moving from local to global, as has their “social reach” into domains more deeply embedded in existing institutional arrangements. New problems continue to emerge as existing practices are reproduced at a broader scale that finally triggers overt harm, research reveals negative processes that had hitherto escaped notice, and novel technologies create additional impacts which provoke a societal response. To these difficulties must be added the unevenness of environmental states—​in the level of environmental protection each accords across an array of issues, and of their failures—​ when they do not consistently implement their own rules and policies. The apparent fragility of their accomplishments, as a new government or changed economic circumstances can lead to a rapid unravelling of previous gains, is also evident: Trump rolling back vehicle fuel efficiency standards or clean water regulations in the United States, deregulation risks associated with Brexit, and so on. And also their inequities, where environmental burdens and the costs and benefits of environmental policy, are distributed unevenly across communities (within countries as well as internationally), as a number of chapters in this volume explore. All this is before we talk of the difficulty of making meaningful progress in relation to the meta challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss associated with the continuing growth in the human appropriation of the biosphere. Indeed, despite the measures that have been taken over the past half century, the overall scale of the human impact on the non-​human natural world continues to expand (Geo5 2012; Waters et al. 2016; Newbold et al. 2016; Bar-​on et al. 2018; IPBES 2019).

Governing the Air It used to be that you could dump pretty much whatever you wanted into the air. Not so today, where in developed countries complex regulatory systems control emissions of multiple pollutants from numerous sources. Rules apply not just to discharges from large industrial facilities, but also to the products that can be brought to market and the activities of businesses and households. The history of air pollution control over the past century is

The Environmental State and Its Limits    27 complex, with significant variation across jurisdictions, but some of the main features are highlighted here. • The range of substances subject to some form of control has steadily expanded. Initial efforts were focused on visible pollutants: smoke and soot, particularly from coal combustion. Attention then moved to smog, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, ground-​ level ozone, lead, stratospheric ozone-​depleting substances, volatile organic compounds, mercury, particulates (PM10 and PM2.5), ammonia and greenhouse gases (GHGs). • Concern has been with both ambient levels and emissions. Ambient levels determine the potential exposure to harm of humans, the built environment, and natural ecosystems. Air quality standards establish maximum ambient pollutant concentrations below which harm is deemed acceptable. Emissions drive ambient levels, so restrictions on emission can reduce ambient levels and the associated harms. Issues of causality, the nature and severity of harms, technological and behavioral alternatives to existing practices, and the costs of action and inaction typify the discussion of air quality standards and emission control. • Strategies to manage air pollution include reducing human exposure to high ambient levels (smog advisories, air filtration for buildings, mask recommendations), displacing polluting activities geographically (siting restrictions) and in time (activity limits for specific periods), diluting pollutants in greater volumes of air (tall smokestacks), the treatment of exhaust gases (capturing pollutants for processing and/​or alternative disposal), altering feedstocks or production processes to avoid generating emissions (burning low-​sulfur coal), and satisfying needs in ways that obviate demand for damaging activities or products. • Control efforts typically focus first on major point sources, then on mobile and widely distributed sources. Smoke controls were applied to coal-​fired power plants (higher smokestacks and moving plants away from urban areas), then to railways (with a switch from steam to diesel electric locomotives) and domestic heating fuel (substituting coal with smokeless fuel). Later measures for coal-​fired power generation included improving combustion efficiency, switching to low-​sulfur coal, flue gas desulphurization, electrostatic precipitators (for particulates), demand management (reducing the need for new power plants), and fuel switching (to gas and other generation technologies). Building heating moved from coal to gas or electricity. Attempts to control automobile emissions focused on changing engine design, altering fuel composition, adopting catalytic converters to clean tailpipe emissions, restrictions on car usage, shifting commuters to mass transit or active mobility, and so on. • Over time the jurisdictional level at which air pollution has been addressed has evolved. Originally understood as a local issue caused by local industry and climate conditions, early action campaigns were based in major cities (Temby 2012). By the 1950s, weaknesses of this strategy were becoming apparent; national governments became more involved with research and monitoring, and pioneering air pollution legislation was adopted in some countries, such as the United Kingdom. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, air pollution control was “nationalized” across the developed world with the adoption of national emission controls and air quality standards. Growing evidence of the long-​range transport of pollutants, such as acid rain in Europe and North America and mercury deposition in the Arctic, prompted increased international

28   James Meadowcroft cooperation. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), with its evolving protocols covering different substances, coordinated a collective response. And further international initiatives followed. Yet states (and the state-​like European Union) remain in the driving seat, largely determining the pace and direction of efforts to address air pollution. • Justifications for air pollution control have shifted over time, variously including the prevention of nuisance and property damage (e.g., to buildings) and the maintenance of a cleanly urban environment, the reduction of acute damage to ecosystems (forest die-​back, lake acidification, eutrophication, etc.), and the protection of human and planetary health. • Science has played a critical role in understanding how pollutants react in the environment and in identifying potential harm to humans and ecosystems. A collaborative modeling approach proved critical to building trust in the LRTAP process (Bäckstrand 2017). Yet knowledge of harm on its own has rarely driven action. Nor has research been effectively oriented to explore the full range of potential threats (Grandjean 2013). Understanding the human health consequences of air pollution continues to expand: for example, recent evidence suggests that particulates are associated not just with respiratory ailments but also with cardiovascular, endocrine, and cognitive issues, as well as with diseases of the eye. With this knowledge have come calls to lower ambient thresholds and secure more profound emissions reductions (WHO 2021). If we look back over half a century, the data reveal significant reductions in the emission of major air pollutants and improvements in ambient air quality across the developed world (Fowler et al. 2020a, 2020b; Amann 2020). Emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, lead, volatile organic compounds, and particulates have all fallen substantially, although the depth of reductions varies by substance and country. The curves for some pollutants are choppy, but the overall decline is clear (see, e.g., Figures 1.1 and 1.2). Over this period, developed countries have experienced an absolute decoupling of economic growth from these criterion air pollutants (Fowler et al. 2020a; McDuffie et al. 2020). Does this mean that these governments have cracked the problem of air pollution? Clearly not. Despite emissions reductions and improved air quality, significant harm to human health and ecosystems continues. On the health side, this is illustrated through estimates of premature death, while monitoring for acidification, eutrophication, and other ecosystem damage shows continuing damage from air emissions, even if at greatly reduced levels. Why? Because, while emissions are down, they are not down far enough. Many cities or regions regularly fail to meet established air quality standards. Even within cities that meet overall targets, neighborhoods near industrial facilities or major highways—​where the poor or marginalized communities tend to live—​suffer disproportionately (Tessum et al. 2021). Thus, emissions controls are not sufficiently strict (or are not adequately enforced) to secure consistent attainment of ambient standards that protect the entire population. And even when existing air quality standards are met, the damage remains because limits have not been reduced to reflect advances in the understanding of the impacts of pollution. For example, many developed countries have yet to adopt the 2005 WHO air quality guidelines, to say nothing of the more stringent standards issued in 2021.

Index: 1970 = 100 (For Ammonia 1980 = 100)




Ammonia Non-methane volatile organic compounds



Nitrogen oxides



PM2,5 Sulphur dioxide 0 1970





1995 Year





Source: Ricardo Energy & Environment

Figure 1.1  Trends in annual emissions of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen oxides, ammonia, non-​methane volatile organic compounds, and sulfur dioxide, 1970–​2019 (1980–​2019 for ammonia) in the UK. Source: UK DEFRA 2020 (https://​​gov​ernm​ent/​publi​cati​ons/​emissi​ons-​of-​air​pol​luta​nts/​emissi​ons-​of-​air-​pol​luta​nts-​in-​the-​uk-​1970-​to-​2018-​summ​ary)

Change Relative to Initial Measurement*




0 1980

1990 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

2000 PM2.5

Ozone (O3)

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

2010 Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Lead

Figure 1.2  Change in gross domestic product and six common air pollutants, 1980–​2018, in the United States Source: Federal Reserve Economic Data | Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. *The index begins at 1 in 1980, with the exception of PM2.5, which was measured beginning in 2000. The index for each year is the actual value divided by the initial value. Available at: https://​www.resour​​archi​ves/​look​ing-​back-​50-​years-​clean-​air-​act-​1970/​

30   James Meadowcroft Thus, the overall pattern is one of a stepwise improvement of air pollution outcomes spread over more than half a century, where advances typically lag the evolving scientific understanding of potential harm by one or more decades. Pollution control measures that provoke the least disruption to established economic interests are adopted first. But increased scientific knowledge, advocacy campaigns that broaden the public perception of damage, and expanding technological options to reduce emissions (at low cost or that secure other benefits) feed into political/​policy system cycles that allow a periodic ratcheting up of standards and controls. Demonstration of the inadequacy of existing standards can ultimately focus attention, increasing pressure on governments to introduce more stringent policy measures and on industry to adopt technological alternatives to lower emissions. The process is far from smooth or unidirectional: regulations can be relaxed as well as strengthened, changing business strategies or consumer demand can spur growth of new emissions sources and pollutants, and regulatory failures (poor instrument design, lack of monitoring or enforcement) can lead to worsening conditions. In comparative terms, political system factors matter, including the ease of producer group access to government and possibilities for regulatory capture, opportunities for pollution control advocates to organize and mobilize pressure, and whether a return to primary legislation is required to implement tighter controls (Fiorino 2011). Business routinely opposes more stringent measures, with loss of international competitiveness often cited as a reason to delay, although in some countries and sectors the opposite case is made (early movement to higher environmental standards can spur innovation and enhance competitiveness) (Porter and Linde 1995). Pioneer jurisdictions do much to dispel myths that higher standards will bankrupt industry. Over time the trend has been toward a ratcheting up of standards across the developed world. And with the establishment of regulatory systems in less-​affluent countries (often modeled on OECD norms) this trend has become international.

The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal The Volkswagen emissions scandal is illustrative of these processes. In the 1990s, with climate emerging on the political agenda, European governments began to encourage consumers to shift to more fuel-​efficient diesel engine cars (with lower CO2 emissions per mile). Although embraced by European automakers who held an advantage in diesel engine design for light-​duty vehicles and saw a way of deferring more fundamental change to the industry to confront climate change, the policy was flawed on two counts. First, diesel engines produce more conventional pollutants, including particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. And, second, from a climate perspective, the turn toward diesel was a distraction from developing power trains compatible with full decarbonization (electric or fuel cell vehicles). Although the EU gradually tightened its conventional air emissions standards, the regulations were designed to accommodate the motor industry through a loose inspection regime that avoided realistic road tests (with varying terrain, traffic, weather conditions, etc.). Notwithstanding this lax regulatory environment, manufacturers experienced increasing difficulties meeting the bench tests: not that the standards could not be achieved, but that attainment implied additional costs (for emissions abatement technologies) and servicing requirements that customers might find irksome. Instead, Volkswagen (and

The Environmental State and Its Limits    31 other manufacturers) deployed software “defeat devices” which switched engines into a pollution control mode during lab testing but turned down the abatement apparatus for ordinary driving. The result was real-​world NOx emissions many times the permitted levels (Oldenkamp et al. 2016). When a US lab uncovered the scam, regulators initiated enforcement proceedings and imposed billions of dollars in fines for the implicated companies. The excess emissions helped explain why NOx in European cites was consistently above predicted levels. Volkswagen and other manufacturers suffered significant reputational damage, and critics pointed to collusion between industry and regulators that allowed abusive practices to go undetected. Although the German government ensured the scandal did not threaten the survival of a strategically significant firm, they supported a modest tightening the EU emissions control system. The shock of this episode was sufficiently large to spur Volkswagen to rethink its approach, abandon the diesel engine, and accelerate the transition to electric vehicle (EV) technologies.

Politics and Ratcheting Up Not everyone would agree with the account just given. Some would emphasize the extent to which air quality gains in developed states have been facilitated by structural economic shifts that have little to do with environmental goals—​the shuttering of inefficient factories in Eastern Europe after the collapse of communism in 1990 and the transfer of polluting industries to developing countries with the internationalization of production chains and dominance of the service sector in developed economies. Thus, any fall in emissions in the rich countries has been more than offset by surging pollution in China or India. Moreover, to the extent that governments in developed states have acted to enforce more significant air pollution controls, they have often done so after industry has already begun to embrace technological alternatives. So, state action appears more like a post hoc confirmation of a trajectory already anticipated by business rather than as an autonomous driver of environmentally oriented change. It is true that the locus of many extractive and manufacturing activities has shifted away from the rich countries. But the achievement of absolute reductions in conventional air pollution, in a context where population, economic activity, energy use, and material consumption have continued to grow, represents a significant achievement (Vestreng et al. 2007). Pollution in rapidly industrializing countries is causing major environmental damage, but in the most successful of these economies the state is already beginning to adopt more stringent air controls. This is particularly the case where states are competent and where development and environmental goals can be pursued in tandem. Consider how China’s drive to deploy EVs is reducing domestic air pollution even as it helps the country dominate the global supply chain of this emerging technology. Moreover, analysis suggests that even at the global level some air pollutants may have peaked (SOx), and, over time, we can expect that the dynamics that have led to enhanced air pollution control in the richer countries will be extended elsewhere (Fowler et al. 2020a; McDuffie et al. 2020). Ultimately, some form of regional air pollution control regime in Asia (like LRTAP in Europe and North America) could contribute to such an outcome. With respect to the second issue, the point is not that environmental regulators have always been out in front, proactively scanning the horizon for threats and imposing rules

32   James Meadowcroft that compel industry to avoid environmental harm. Even when they are up to the analytical challenge, politics may prevent any immediate response. Rather, it is that the emergence of an air pollution issue into the political sphere—​with arguments over the social costs and benefits of emission reductions—​can trigger a response across multiple actors, initiating a search for potential solutions. This process of “social sensitization,” one facilitated by institutions of the environment state, can shift the socio-​political landscape, changing the context in which firms operate, altering the societal perception of products and processes, and influencing choices around research, product development, investment, and consumption toward pathways that can begin to address the problem. Of course, industry lobbies try to obfuscate the issue and delay or dilute action, unless they see a potential competitive gain. Such competitive gains can include the prospects for new markets, advantage over rivals, and reputational value. Even as they resist regulatory initiatives, however, they or other actors search for ways around the problem that could provide a good return should the move toward emissions abatement become imperative. Often this search turns up advantageous alternatives, with material or energy efficiencies, lower costs, enhanced performance, or consumer appeal. Or approaches pursued for quite distinct ends gain additional traction because of their ability to sidestep the pollution problem. Unsurprisingly, states are hesitant to take regulatory action before a “cost competitive” option appears on the horizon. They have other concerns besides the environment and fear that premature action could place national firms at a disadvantage, disrupt economic activity, and so on. Thus, businesses may begin to implement technological solutions even before regulations come into force. But that does not alter the fact that politics, with its potential to highlight problems and mobilize the regulatory and economic weight of the state, has been working in the background to help “steer the search” for solutions.

Implications for the Environmental State So, what does the air pollution case suggest about the potential and limits of the environmental state? First and most obviously, it illustrates the extent to which environmental states are anchored in wider political institutions and underlying socio-​economic relationships. They represent but one dimension of a state that must continuously reconcile multiple goals and societal tensions and that structurally favors certain interests over others. Despite the grandiose affirmations sometimes found in constitutional preambles or basic environmental laws, the environment is not generally treated as a special category somehow foundational to the attainment of other social goods. The protection of citizens and ecosystems from the harms of environmental pollution must take its place among an array of other state priorities that include economic development, welfare provision, maintaining order, and national security (Meadowcroft 2012). In comparative terms, the stage of economic development is a basic determinant of air pollution outcomes, influencing the scale and source of emissions, the pollical/​administrative attention allocated to air issues, and the institutional capacity of the state to orchestrate a coherent response (Fiorino 2011). That said, even in developed countries with strong organizational and fiscal capacity, air quality issues compete for attention with other pressing problems. And pollution control advocates must work to prevent historic gains from being (a) swamped by the continued growth in

The Environmental State and Its Limits    33 population, energy use, and material consumption (while cars emit less pollutants per kilometer, there are more of them on the roads, traveling greater distances); or (b) subject to political erosion (e.g., through deregulatory initiatives); to say nothing of (c) battles to secure additional gains in air quality. Nevertheless, controls have been ratcheted up over time. Critical to this process has been • the advancing scientific understanding of the sources of air pollution, the evolving chemistries as pollutants move through the biosphere, and their impacts on ecosystems and human heath; • the organized intervention of activist groups and professional communities (environment and health advocates, community groups, campaign organizations, educators, and so on) to promote more vigorous government action; and • continued technological innovation in relevant industries and across the economy more generally (as well as allied social and business model innovations) that create novel possibilities for clean alternatives to manage pollution or replace processes and products that generate air emissions and that can strengthen the economic interests vested in these novel approaches. The environmental state provides an institutional frame to support this process on multiple levels: codifying established standards, monitoring air quality and regulatory compliance and publicly reporting results, supporting scientific research on pollution and emission reduction approaches, serving as a focal point of expertise within government and for external groups, communicating with the public on the causes and solutions to air pollution, linking into international networks and expert bodies concerned with environment performance (furthering the exchange of data, development of joint approaches and methods, peer review), and normalizing new conceptual frames that can legitimate more comprehensive pollution control efforts (e.g., “integrated pollution control,” “sustainable development,” “circular economy,” “net zero GHG emissions”) (Meadowcroft and Fiorino 2017). So, at least with respect to air pollution, what we observe is not a permanent stagnation of emission control efforts or a collision with a “glass ceiling.” Instead, there is continuing pressure both to dig deeper on long-​standing issues (nitrous oxides, particulates, ozone depleting chemicals, etc.) and to explore action on emerging issues (ammonia, plastics). As the list of substances of concern grows and the scale of desired reduction increases, so, too, does the pressure to reach more deeply to transform production (and sometimes consumption) practices which are at the source of persistent problems. Rather than a “glass ceiling,” a more appropriate analogy may be one of advancing through the levels in a video game. At a certain point, what can be accomplished at a given stage comes to an end. Further progress demands that the players step-​up a level, deal with wider and more challenging problems, and deploy an expanded set of tools. As the scale and character of the human impact on the natural word changes, so new capacities and resources are demanded from environmental governance. It is interesting to note how the emergence of more fundamental air emission issues can open the door to the resolution of other long-​standing problems. Leaded gasoline provides a good example. From the 1920s, the medical profession had sounded “early warnings” that adding lead (a well-​known toxin) to gasoline as an anti-​knocking agent represented a significant public health threat (Needleman and Gee 2013). But objections were successfully

34   James Meadowcroft overridden by powerful economic interests, and, for half a century, the practice went largely unchallenged. Eventually, accumulating evidence of severe developmental damage to children, combined with the urgency of addressing smog-​inducing automobile tailpipe emissions, led to the phase out of leaded gasoline. It turned out that lead “poisoned” catalytic converters, so the best bet for reducing tailpipe emissions required a switch to unleaded gasoline.2 A similar sort of process is now playing out at a still more fundamental level with the shift from internal combustion engine to battery electric vehicles. Although conventional air emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles could in principle be reduced further, there is no straightforward pathway to eliminate CO2 emissions from gasoline combustion.3 Faced with the certainty of ever tightening GHG emissions standards and rapid advances in EV technologies driven by Tesla and Chinese companies, established automakers such as GM and Volkswagen finally decided to accelerate the EV shift. This change, when combined with a movement to GHG emission-​free electricity generation, will ultimately eliminate most conventional air pollution associated with automobiles.4 However, not all environmental problems are the same, and one cannot assume that progress on air pollution guarantees similar results elsewhere. Environmental issues vary with respect to the spatial and temporal scales over which negative feedbacks accumulate and the social embeddedness of the practices which engender them. When impacts are spatially dispersed or remote from those who cause them, when feedbacks are stretched over decades or centuries and offending practices are deemed central to existing ways of life and the interests of power holders, solutions are harder to find. Soil loss (which played an important role in the decline of ancient civilizations and continues with industrial monocropping), unsustainable patterns of water use (on display, e.g., in the US Southwest), and contamination of ecosystems and people by chemicals are cases in point (Montgomery 2012). But this is especially true for the meta problems of climate change and biodiversity loss, and it is to these broader problems that critics typically point to establish the ultimate impotence of the environmental state. A substantial academic literature explores the limitations of contemporary environmental governance. In addition to work on implementation failure (Howes 2017), regulatory capture (MacLean 2016), the challenges of collective action (Percival 1998), corporate power (Gonzalez 2001), and the reproduction of social inequalities (Ard 2015), many writers emphasize underlying structural barriers that prevent states from consequent action to address environmental crisis. The most influential strand focuses on capitalism and the logic of growth, suggesting that, to survive, capitalism requires continuous economic growth; economic growth necessarily entails an expansion of material throughput; and this increasing material footprint drives ever more extensive environmental destruction (Schnaiberg et al. 2002). To ask contemporary states to end this destructive spiral would be to expect them to erode their own (capitalist) economic foundations: to abandon the growth that allows continued capital accumulation, funds welfarist consumerism, generates tax revenues to support state institutions and activities, and maintains the prosperity and political stability that gets politicians re-​elected. Variants of these arguments point to the role of the international system, where cooperation is difficult and interstate rivalry, such as that emerging between the United States and China, drives environmentally destructive conflict; the pathologies of contemporary democracies, where business elites wield decisive power; and fiscal dilemmas, such as the perceived impossibility of a “degrowing” state to sustain welfare expenditure while also financing climate mitigation and adaptation) (Bailey 2020).

The Environmental State and Its Limits    35 Clearly, we cannot take up these complex arguments in any detail here. But while acknowledging that multiple structural barriers are operative, it is worth emphasizing that there are reasons to believe that these limits are less absolute than critics contend. In the first place, it is far from evident that the linkages between capitalism, economic growth, throughput growth, and critical environmental impacts are as tight as sometimes postulated (Meadowcroft 2017). One could imagine capitalism without (much) economic growth, or economic growth without (much) material throughput growth, or (some) material throughput growth without a corresponding increase in critical environmental loadings. Any combination of these possibilities would weaken an automatic link between capitalist economic foundations and ever-​expanding critical environmental impacts. Yet to argue that modern states do not rest on economic foundations that by definition require a continuous extension of critical environmental burdens does not mean that current political-​economic arrangements do not encourage such an extension. Prevailing practices allow the private accumulation of wealth through the externalization of environmental costs and the socialization of environmental risk. Businesses routinely increase value by exploiting unsustainable process of production and encouraging unsustainable patterns of consumption. The co-​evolution of technologies, financial practices, regulatory regimes, and consumer expectations can “lock-​in” existing social-​technical configurations that are vigorously defended by interests that benefit from their reproduction. Economic management (maintaining a stable macro-​economic climate, supporting businesses, creating jobs) is a critical government preoccupation, and concern to avoid disruption of existing economic activities (or offend major economic interests) acts as a constraint on environmental policy. Moreover, underlying features of current economic reality including the commoditization of new areas of social life, the power of multinational corporations and markets over capital flows, increasing corporate concentration, credit-​based “consumer society,” business models built around planned obsolesce, the manufacture of “artificial needs,” the cultivation of positional goods, and so on continuously frustrate efforts to bring environmental pressures under control. Thus, there is a sense in which failures of the environment state are overdetermined. These institutions were called into being precisely because the “natural” operation of contemporary political economies was eroding the integrity of the ecosystems on which human welfare and future development depended. To this extent environmental states have always been pedaling up hill on a track littered with potholes, obstacles, and false turns. Nevertheless (as we have seen in the case of air pollution) states have made some progress in addressing environmental ills because the actual operation of these constraints is open to political contestation and reform. Putting it rather simplistically: states will not deliberately bankrupt themselves with environmental policies, but the range of non-​bankrupting but meaningful policies is substantial. States cannot alienate the whole business world simultaneously, but they can bear down on some interests while opening avenues for others. They will not turn prevailing economic relationships upside down, but they can substantially reorder legal frameworks governing property rights. They will not systematically put environmental concerns before other societal issues, but they will sometimes put the environment first. Environmental policy success over the past four decades on issues that have managed to capture public and political attention show that the veto of vested interests is not absolute. The political realm remains dynamic, closed policy communities can be broken open,

36   James Meadowcroft consensus-​favoring policy stasis can be overturned, and politicians (and bureaucrats and businesses leaders) personally wedded to environmentally pernicious behavior eventually leave the scene. The literature on policy change emphasizes reframing issues, building political coalitions, exploiting windows of opportunity (political crises, catastrophic events, disarray among opponents, etc.), and institutionalizing practices that can secure better environmental outcomes even when political attention has shifted elsewhere (Steinberg 2001; Steinberg and Stacy 2012; Sowers 2012; see Steinberg chapter, this volume). Economic elites are fragmented, and these cleavages can be exploited by skillful political action. While some businesses oppose change, others may see opportunities. Policy intervention can deliberately strengthen the latter, building up new centers of economic power to generate jobs, export earnings, and tax revenues, shifting the center of gravity away from incumbents. Recent scholarship on socio-​technical transitions has added insights on encouraging niche players and destabilizing incumbent regimes to encourage system adjustment (Leipprand and Flachsland 2018). In other words, the “ratcheting up” process described earlier with respect to air pollution can at least in principle be operative across a range of environmental issues. So, while the story of climate mitigation is usually presented as one of policy failure—​an inability to act decisively despite 30 years of international effort—​it can also be understood as a processes of accumulating political forces and technological resources required to actualize change. With states now explicitly discussing and, in many cases, implementing, regulatory, fiscal, innovation-​ policy, and industrial-​ policy measures to phase out fossil fuel usage and restructure entire industrial sectors, a transformative project of considerable scope is gathering pace. Deeper engagement with environmental issues will require adjustment across multiple spheres, including the operation of the economic and political systems. And it may be that changes result from broader political movements to improve welfare, equity, and governmental effectiveness rather than being driven purely by environmental concerns.

Looking Forward Whatever the ultimate limits on the environmental effectiveness of modern states, we are far from having reached them today. Indeed, experience suggests that, despite the difficulties, it is possible to find ways around structural obstacles to address particular environmental problems, given time to build appropriate coalitions and implement necessary institutional reforms. “Given time” is the first caveat here. Negotiating significant policy change can take repeated attempts and many decades. Even then the solution may be partial. The air pollution issues we have discussed here underline this reality. The constraints that block action by existing democratic states on major environmental problems can be removed or circumvented but this happens typically through protracted processes of public sensitization, political coalition building, partial policy reform, and capitalizing on periodic crises. Precisely because environmental policy is not an isolated sphere but is intertwined with economic and social practices across the polity (in agriculture, resource extraction, industry, transportation, cities, and other sectors) and cross-​connected internationally, change involves iterative rounds of struggle across multiple domains. More particularly, it can imply reform in

The Environmental State and Its Limits    37 other core areas of state activity including economic management, international relations, and welfare systems. And it can require adjustments to the organization of the state itself. “But there is no time!” comes the reply: science tells us that on climate change (for example) we must dramatically reduce emissions now, or it will be too late. If environmental states cannot deliver now, then they are fundamentally impotent. There are several possible responses to this. One is to point out that climate change will continue to grow more severe as long as we keep releasing GHGs into the atmosphere. And the longer we go on, the greater the ultimate impact. So, it is better to bring down emissions sooner rather than later. Still, “later” is better than “much later” and “much later” is preferable to “very much later.” True there may be critical “tipping points,” and delay increases the risk that we will encounter such discontinuities. On the other hand, we may already have crossed such thresholds. So, action is urgent, for even if we have passed one tipping point there are others to be avoided. But we should remember that politico-​economic obstacles to action are real obstacles that must be given their due. They cannot simply be wished away. Another line of response is to point out that there is in any case no plausible course of action that does not invoke the apparatus of existing environmental states. No radical reorganization of society is likely in the short term to speed up the required transformation of technology, social practice, and governance to address climate change. Indeed, radical system change might be accompanied by dislocations that could delay action even further. So, for now, we are stuck with the environmental state. The second caveat is that it is important to assess constraints in relation to “particular” environmental problems. This can be understood in two ways. In the first place, “particular” as opposed to “universal” or “general.” The “environment” is composed of many interrelated processes, operating at different spatial and temporal scales, which are experienced in different ways by different actors at different times and places. So, there can be no definitive and comprehensive statement of the “environmental problem” and hence no universal “solution” to environmental problems. There are many environmental issues, and how they are to be defined or managed is continuously socially contested. Second, “particular” in the sense of “this problem” but not necessarily “that problem.” In other words, depending on how environmental problems are identified there will be some that have no solution accessible to the environmental state (and perhaps to any other form of socio-​political formation that could readily emerge from current conditions). The third caveat is that while it “is possible” to overcome constraints (relating to specific problems and given time), there is no guarantee that they will be overcome. What happens will depend on the evolution of political forces, technologies and social practices, interaction with contingent events, and so on. So it is not possible to know in advance the extent to which a given set of constraints can be overcome in a specific and evolving context. This means that, in a very real sense, we cannot determine exactly what are the “limits” to the environmental state in advance of serious and protracted efforts to realize change. Only by struggling practically to push the boundaries of the possible can one determine exactly how far change can go.

Whither Comparative Research on the Environmental State? This chapter has considered the development of the environmental state, primarily in developed countries over the past 60 years, arguing both that it has achieved

38   James Meadowcroft real-​but-​partial improvements and that we are far from having reached the limits for further reform. This context suggests important areas for future comparative research. In the first place, more effort could be applied to the analysis of developing countries (including poor, middle-​income, and rapidly industrializing societies) (see Hochstetler chapter this volume), to states that lack representative-​democratic political institutions (Sowers 2012), and to states in which political systems shift between military and civilian rule (see the chapter on Chile, this volume). More generally, work is needed to explain differential outcomes (both across problem areas and across countries): Why are advances made on some problems and/​or in some polities and not others? Despite pioneering work (see, e.g., Duit 2016; Koch and Fritz 2014), environmental states have proved resistant to ready classification (akin to Esping-​Andersen’s 1990 characterization of welfare states): Could more be done to build convincing typologies? And, despite work on policy instruments, there is still inadequate understanding of the broader institutionalization of environmental states (budgets, personnel, organization, legal frames), at least in comparison to the voluminous work on welfare structures, bureaucracies, and expenditure. Above all, we need more research on the transformative practice and potential of environmental states as they move into a phase where governance serves not just to mitigate impacts, but also to actively restructure production and consumption practices to meet global challenges associated with issues such as climate change and which are already beginning to take shape under the banners of green industrial policy, green innovation policy, and net-​zero implementation.

Acknowledgments The author would like to acknowledge contributions from Paula Barrios (then a postdoctoral research fellow at Carleton University) and Bruce Lorie (President of the Ivey Foundation), to research on which the discussion of air pollution is based, and the Ivey Foundation which provided funding support.

Notes 1. For the purposes of this chapter, I understand the environmental state to be an existing entity analogous to the welfare state. I take “green state” to be an ideal construct—​a state that really takes the environment seriously. “Greening” is a process whereby environmental issues become more deeply embedded in state institutions and routines. How far existing states can come to reflect “green state” ideals remains to be seen. 2. In an interesting twist, the industry’s preferred substitute for lead itself turned out to be a major pollutant. Its phase-​out several decades later saw a return to ethanol, which is what was originally replaced by lead. 3. Strictly speaking this is not true: direct air capture could draw down CO2 produced by burning fossil gasoline or gasoline could be synthesized by a process drawing on renewable energy. But neither of these processes is near commercial viability today. 4. Cleaning up the emissions from vehicle production and managing particulate emissions from tire and road wear will remain challenges (Emission Analytics 2020).

The Environmental State and Its Limits    39

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Chapter 2

California ’ s Environmenta l P ol i c y Leadersh i p David Vogel Introduction Throughout its history, California has played a leadership role in the making of environmental policy. In areas of regulation ranging from wilderness and coastal protection to automobile emissions, energy efficiency, chemical safety, and global climate change, California has typically been on the cutting edge of environmental policy innovation in the United States. Many of California’s policies have had impacts beyond its borders, among both other states and the federal government, and at time internationally—​a pattern of policy diffusion that has been labeled “the California effect” (Vogel 1995). Because California is a state within a federal system, its policies have frequently influenced federal regulations even as these policies have also been shaped by federal actions. This relationship is a complex one and its dynamics are constantly shifting. Historically, many regulations that California initiated were subsequently adopted by the federal government. But, the federal government’s recent efforts to roll back and weaken the nation’s environmental regulations frequently brought it into conflict with California. As the state with the most stringent and extensive environmental regulations, California played a leadership role in opposing the environmental policies of the Trump administration.

Nature Protection California’s attractive natural environment played a critical role in the state’s historical environmental leadership. Threats to its natural amenities led to the nation’s first environmental protest, and the first protected wilderness in the United States was designated in California in 1864.

44   David Vogel In June 1853, California gold miners chopped down a 300-​foot-​tall Sierra redwood tree that was more than 1,000 years old. A large section of the tree’s trunk was then exhibited to paying customers in the United States and Europe who had never before seen such a large tree. The cutting down of this and other magnificent trees, which were among the oldest, largest living entities in the world, provoked outrage. A San Francisco newspaper expressed shock “at the vandalism and barbarity of flaying that giant of the woods,” while a Boston-​ based magazine wrote that “it seems a cruel idea, a perfect desecration to cut down such a splendid tree” (Tackach 2019, p. 95). The New York Herald responded by urging federal action: “We say that Congress should interpose . . . these tress are public property. . . . it is the duty of the state of California, of Congress . . . to protect and to preserve those California monuments of the capabilities of our American soil” (Tackach 2019, p. 95). During the 1850s, the nation was preoccupied with the sectional strife that led to the Civil War and had no time for wilderness protection. But these protests were nonetheless historically important. In a nation whose vast natural resources had been repeatedly exploited for financial gain, they signaled the beginning of public support for protecting nature for its own sake. In 1959, Horace Greeley, the influential editor of the New York Tribune, visited Yosemite Valley, a deep glacially carved, virtually enclosed valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was located about 100 miles from where the large tree had been cut. Greeley proclaimed it “the most unique and majestic of nature’s marvels.” His assessment was echoed by Frederick Olmsted who described Yosemite as “the union of the deepest sublimity with the deepest beauty of nature” (Vogel 2018, p. 51). But the natural attractiveness of the valley was threatened by logging, which would in turn open up Yosemite to livestock grazing. Olmsted wrote to California’s U.S. Senator John Conness urging that Yosemite be protected. Olmsted’s initiative was supported by California’s steamship industry, which wanted to attract visitors to Yosemite in order to encourage travel on the industry’s ships. In May 1864, Conness introduced legislation to protect both Yosemite Valley and an adjacent stand of giant sequoias, which the Senator argued had “no parallel perhaps in the world” but were now “subject to damage and injury” (Browning and Silver 2020, p. 197). His proposed statute gave the valley and the grove of ancient sequoias to the state of California, with the stipulation that the “State should accept this grant upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation” and “shall be inalienable for all time” (Tackach 2019, p. 99). The legislation came before the Congress in the midst of some of the most bitterly fought battles of the Civil War, when Grant was beginning a long effort to defeat Lee’s Army of Virginia in what became known as the Overland Campaign. As Browning and Silver note, “it may be more than mere coincidence” that Conness’s bill was introduced on May 17, 1864, “ten days after the Battle of the Wilderness and the beginning of the bloody Overland Campaign” (Browning and Silver 2020, p. 197). Underlying Congressional passage of the Yosemite Valley Grant Act and its signing into law by President Abraham Lincoln on June 30 was the hope that the natural world could be a source of spiritual rebirth and healing. This idea “came to the fore in a nation whose land and people had been torn asunder by war” and would shape future protections of the western landscape (Browning and Silver 2020, p. 199). The Yosemite legislation was unprecedented: it was the first time federal lands had been granted to a state in order to be protected. The Yosemite Act also marked the beginning

California’s Environmental Policy Leadership    45 of wildlife conservation in the United States because the terms of the grant also protected the fish and game within the park’s boundaries. While Yosemite was originally a state park, it served as a model for the nation’s first official national park, which was established in Yellowstone in 1872. By 1890, three of the nation’s four national parks were in California (including Yosemite Valley, which became part of Yosemite National Park in 1906). In 1916, Congress established the National Park Service, which gathered into a single system 14 national parks and 21 national monuments. As of 2020, 62 national parks cover more than 80 million square miles of the United States, including many of the nation’s most important and distinctive natural attractions. However, the protection of the nation’s public lands remains contentious and contested. In 2019, a public lands bill was passed with bipartisan support that created five national monuments protecting more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness. It also expanded two national parks and blocked more than 370,000 acres of public lands from mining. But through executive orders, the Trump administration’s Interior Department removed protection from 145 million acres of public land, opening them up to mining, including the land bordering the national parks in California’s desert areas (Shea and Kustin 2019).

Coastal Protection Coastal protection is another environmental policy area in which California has played a leadership role. Oil drilling in California began in the San Joaquin Valley in the 1870s. It subsequently spread to the city of Los Angles and the Santa Barbara Coast. By the 1920s, the Los Angeles basin was producing 80 percent of the state’s oil output. Subsequently, oil drilling expanded from dry land onto the beaches of Los Angeles. As a consequence, the shore became filled with derricks, drilling piers, fences, and pipes. Fences and oil equipment often blocked beach access, while spilled oil, derrick fires, noise, and fumes further interfered with the recreational uses of the beach. “Oil drilling operations transformed the beaches from recreational to industrial landscapes,” threatening the prosperity of shoreline communities (Ekland 2001, p. 24). In the mid-​1930s, a new organization, the Shoreline Planning Association, was formed to lobby for increased public beach access. Thanks in part to the Association’s efforts along with public support, oil rigs and drilling equipment on and around the beaches in southern California were progressively removed, making California the first state to restrict coastal oil drilling. The increased attractiveness of the beaches of southern California made them into major commercial assets, which overshadowed their value as sources of oil. However, coastal oil drilling continued, led primarily by the federal government. In 1968, the federal government sold leases for offshore drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara, with disastrous consequences. The ecological vulnerability of California’s coast to oil drilling was dramatically revealed in January 1969, when a spill from an offshore well located within the federal government’s jurisdiction deposited between 2 million and 3 million gallons of oil into the Santa Barbara channel (Nash et al. 1972). It impacted 800 square miles of ocean and coated more than 35 miles of coastline with oil up to 6 inches thick. This spill severely impaired the economy of what had become a major resort community. Charter fishing, boat rental, and marine and fishing supply companies all suffered heavy losses, as did beachfront hotels, motels, and

46   David Vogel restaurants. The volume of beachfront property sales declined while the value of beachfront property decreased between 15 and 25 percent due to the oil spill (Vogel 2018). The spill received extensive national media attention. News coverage showed dramatic pictures of thousands of petroleum-​covered birds and blackened beaches while a Congressional hearing on the spill was broadcast by the nation’s major television networks. The disaster—​the largest offshore oil spill in the United States to date—​called national attention to the vulnerability of the nation’s coastal areas to oil drilling and played an important role in sparking an upsurge of public interest and support for stronger environmental regulations by the federal government. Once again, a threat to California’s natural environment had political and policy implications beyond the state. In response to the spill, California prohibited the drilling of any new wells on existing leases within the 3 miles of the ocean that it controlled. Florida, which also had extensive commercially valuable beachfront properties along its Gulf and Atlantic coasts, followed California by imposing similar restrictions. It banned all offshore drilling in state waters and, like California, also opposed additional drilling in federal waters. Florida’s political leaders were concerned that even though such drilling could produce substantial revenues and jobs, it “could cause the economy to go bust by scaring off tourists and hurting commercial fishing” (Goklany 1999, p. 118). As had initially occurred in California, many states began to increasingly recognize that the amenity values of their coasts were more valuable than the potential revenues from oil drilling (Freudenburg and Gambling 1994). State support for coastal protection has become an important source of political opposition to oil drilling. In January 2018, the Trump administration announced that it planned to reopen virtually all the coasts of the United States to oil drilling in the 4 to 6 miles off the nation’s coasts in which the federal government had jurisdiction (Tabuchi and Wallace 2018). Florida, whose tourism industry on its Gulf Coast had been severely impacted by the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster off the coast of Louisiana in 2010, immediately announced its opposition to these plans. Florida Governor Rick Scott stated that his “top priority was to ensure that Florida’s natural resources are protected” (Friedman 2018). His opposition to offshore drilling was echoed by Republican Representative Francis Rooney, who stated that “offshore drilling will negatively affect our environment, tourism and military readiness.” Rooney added that “I am fighting to protect our Florida coast for future generations to enjoy because Florida’s economy is dependent on clean water and a healthy environment” (Friedman 2018). The governors of every state on the continental East and West Coasts also announced their opposition to the federal plans, typically couching it in economic terms. Virginia governor-​elect Ralph Northam stated that expanding drilling would jeopardize his state’s tourism and fishing industries, while North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper described it as a “critical threat” to the state’s economy, one that could cause unrecoverable damage to the state’s $3 billion tourism and fishing industries (Friedman 2018). According to Governor John Carney of Delaware, “tourism and recreation along the Delaware coastline account for billions in economic activity each year and supports tens of thousands of jobs”(Profeta 2018). In response, the Trump administration was eventually forced to abandon its oil drilling expansion plans—​one of the most significant examples of an effective backlash by several American states to federal efforts to weaken environmental protection.

California’s Environmental Policy Leadership    47

Controlling Air Pollution If California’s unusually attractive wilderness helped inspire the nation’s national park system and the economic value of its beaches initiated opposition to off-​shore oil drilling, its unusual levels of urban air pollution played a critical role in promoting the regulation of automotive emissions. During the 1950s, urban southern California had the worst air quality in the United States. This was in part due to the region’s unique topography, which trapped ground-​level pollutants. But this natural proclivity for poor air quality was exacerbated by both the region’s substantial population growth and its high concentration of motor vehicles. By 1956, 3 million cars were registered in Los Angeles county, making it home to the largest concentration of motor vehicles in the world (Vogel 2018). In 1947, California enacted the nation’s first state air pollution control statute. The Air Pollution Control Act authorized the creation of local air pollution control districts. The first and most important of these was established in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District not only became the largest and best funded pollution control agency in the United States, but its innovative regulations and the expertise it developed in formulating and implementing them also influenced the work of state and local pollution control agencies throughout the United States. In 1960, California went a step further, establishing a new state agency, the California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board. It was given the authority to approve new technologies to reduce vehicle emissions. The Board subsequently enacted the nation’s and the world’s first tailpipe emission standards, which went into effect in 1966. The first federal standards that went into effect 2 years later were based on California’s standards. After other states began to consider enacting their own vehicle emission requirement—​some of which differed from those of California—​the automobile industry became worried that a “multiplicity of different State standards would create chaotic conditions in the nation’s largest industry” (Rabe 2019, p. 126). When Congress began to consider legislation further strengthening federal pollution control standards in the 1960s, it faced a battle between the national automobile industry, which wanted uniform national standards, and the state of California. The state had recently established a new agency, the California Air Resources Control Board, to strengthen its administrative capacity to regulate air pollution. Its officials insisted that the state needed to retain the ability to establish its own vehicle emission standards because federal standards were unlikely to be sufficiently stringent to address the unique air pollution problems faced by Los Angeles. The battle in Washington was a heated one, but California prevailed. The Air Quality Act of 1967 established uniform emission standards for all new vehicles sold in the United States, but permanently exempted California. The state was permitted to request a waiver from a federal agency, allowing it to adopt more stringent standards than the federal government whenever it could demonstrate a “compelling need” to do so. This California exemption was unprecedented in a federal regulatory statute. It meant that the United States would become the only country with two separate automobile emissions standards and that California would be able to continue to play a leadership role in this policy area.

48   David Vogel California’s innovative role in the making of automobile emission standards has proved both enduring and influential. Between 1968 and 2007, the state made 117 waiver requests, all but a handful of which were granted (Rabe 2019). But what made California into a national regulatory leader was that many of its more stringent standards were subsequently adopted by the federal government, often within 2 to 5 years. For example, unleaded gasoline, the two-​way catalytic converter, and evaporative control systems were first required in California and then nationally. Of the 90 newly established or strengthened standards required by the federal government’s 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, nearly all of them had previously been required for vehicles sold in California. Because other states, especially those in the relatively heavily polluted Northeast, also wanted to adopt California’s standards, in 1977, Congress permitted all states the option of choosing between California and federal emission controls. This provision was retained in the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, with the added proviso that no state could adopt more stringent standards than California. These statutory changes increase California’s national leverage since no state could adopt regulations exceeding federal standards until California had done so. Thirteen states in addition to the District of Columbia, which account for one-​ third of the national vehicle market, have adopted several of California’s pollution control regulations, with vehicles sold in the rest of the United States required to meet the federal government’s somewhat laxer emissions standards.

Renewable Portfolio Standards Renewable portfolio standards require that a certain portion of electricity be produced from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal. Because the United States has no federal renewable energy requirements, these regulations are up to American states. While California was not the first state to issue such requirements, its targets have been among the most progressive. In 2002, California required that investor-​owned utilities and other retail sellers increase their production of energy from renewable sources from 12 to 20 percent by 2010 (Golden 2003). This standard was subsequently strengthened: the state established a renewable energy target of 33 percent by 2020 and 50 percent, later increased to 60 percent, by 2030. Most ambitiously, California plans to have 100 percent of its energy come from carbon free sources by 2045—​making it one of eight states to commit to such a sweeping goal. As part of its plan to increase energy production from renewable sources, California has aggressively promoted the use of solar energy (Vogel 2018). The state has 750 solar installations, including three of the largest photovoltaic facilities in the world. California now produces more solar power than any other state and accounts for nearly half of the power generated by solar electric generation facilities in the United States. The state has also encouraged the development of local or rooftop solar generation. In 2006, it launched the California Solar Initiative, with the goal of installing 1 million solar roof facilities by 2018. To help accomplish this goal, the state has provided generous tax subsidies as well as introduced net metering, which permits homeowners to sell back their excess power to the utility grid. In 2018, the state went a step further, requiring all new residential buildings to install rooftop solar installations. Half of all rooftop solar panel installations in the United

California’s Environmental Policy Leadership    49 States are in the state of California and they produce 5 percent of the state’s energy, more than in any other state. The size of the state’s large solar installation industry has provided its firms with the financial resources to lobby for regulations to promote solar installations in other states, again illustrating the state’s broader policy impact.

Promoting Energy Efficiency California also has been a leader in promoting energy efficiency (Vogel 2018). In 1982, the California Public Utilities Commission adopted a new regulatory approach for the state’s utilities. Known as “decoupling,” this approach gave utilities a financial incentive to meet the energy needs of their customers not by constructing new power plants but rather by promoting energy conservation. In effect, it made “negawatts” as valuable as “megawatts.” In 2007, California subsequently increased the incentives of the state’s utilities to help their customers use less energy and further reduce the need to construct new power generation plans. California was the first state to change its utility rate regulations to encourage energy efficiency and conservation. In 2009, the federal government made a state’s receipt of federal funds to promote energy efficiency conditional on their adopting regulatory policies that provided utilities with incentives to reduce energy use, mirroring what California had begun more than two decades earlier. Currently, more than half of the states have adopted some form of utility revenue decoupling, once again demonstrating California’s broader policy impact. California has also played a pioneering role in enacting regulations to improve the efficiency of appliances. The state issued its first such regulations in 1976; they applied to refrigerators and freezers. The former were particularly important as these appliances are major users of energy. The introduction of new efficient models demonstrated that meeting a tighter efficiency standard was technologically feasible and cost effective (Rosenfeld and Poskanzer 2009). The California Energy Commission (CEC) subsequently established efficiency standards for several additional products, including space heaters, water heaters, air conditioners, and showerheads. As more states began to adopt California’s appliance standards, the appliance manufacturers became concerned about having to comply with a multiplicity of state standards. They now wanted the federal government to issue national standards for appliances. Once again, there was a conflict between state and federal authority. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 was a compromise (Klass 2010). It stated that once the federal government had issued an appliance standard, a state could no longer do so, but states were free to develop standards for products not regulated by the federal government. Significantly, as in the case of automobile emission standards, many federal standards, such as those for refrigerators, were based on those previously adopted by California. For example, the federal standards for appliances in 2005 were identical to those issued by California the previous year. Because the federal government has frequently lagged in setting new standards—​in fact the Department of Energy failed to establish standards for two-​thirds of the appliances over which it has authority—​California continued to develop its own. The California Energy

50   David Vogel Commission established new energy efficiency standards for 17 products in 2004 and added an additional 22 in 2009. The latter included the world’s most rigorous efficiency standards for televisions, which cut the energy use of flat-​panel products by 50 percent. In 2018, California issued the nation’s first energy efficiency requirements for desktop computers and monitors. Because of the size of California’s market, these efficiency requirements have become not only de facto national standards, but also are being adopted by global brands as well. California’s energy efficiency standards now cover more than 50 products—​more than any other state—​and the number of regulated products is steadily increasing. Twelve other states, led by Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, and Nevada, have also adopted standards for products not yet regulated by the federal government. In most cases, their standards tend to be based on those of California. Moreover, many appliance manufactures have chosen to manufacture all their products sold in the United States to meet California’s standards. 2019, The steady strengthening of performance standards for both appliances and buildings, as well as the efforts of its “decoupled” utility firms to promote the adoption of more energy-​ efficient technologies by residential and commercial customers, has had a major impact. California is the second most energy efficient state in the United States after Massachusetts. Between 1974 and 2014, residential energy consumption per capita remained nearly stable in California while it increased nearly 75 percent in the rest of the United States. If one compares fossil fuel input per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) across states, then between 1975 and 2016, California reduced its use of fossil fuels per unit of economic output by 70 percent compared to the other 49 states, whose reduction was 60 percent less. This gap is significant: US carbon emissions would be almost 25 percent lower today if the nation had kept up with California (Roberts 2019). Within California itself, energy efficiency programs have resulted in 30 fewer new power plants being built, which in turn has improved air quality and protected scenic areas.

Automobiles and Climate Change In 2004, California became the world’s first government to issue regulations restricting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles. These regulations proved very popular, and, by 2007, 17 states, which accounted for half of all new vehicle sales in the United States, had adopted them. However before California or any state could implement them, California first had to receive a waiver from the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) In 2008, the EPA rejected California’s request on the grounds that climate change was an international problem, not one that especially affected California, and therefore the state’s statutory exemption did not apply. California, along with several other states that also supported these regulations, appealed this ruling. While this litigation was still pending, Barack Obama became president in January 2008. He asked the EPA to reconsider California’s waiver request, which the agency did, approving it in June 2009. The automobile industry, now worried about a patchwork of state rules, negotiated with the Obama administration to establish new national restrictions on GHG emissions, and California in turn agreed to adjust its own rules to link them to the newly established federal ones. The federal standards issued in 2010 required automakers to progressively improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles to an average of 54.5 miles per

California’s Environmental Policy Leadership    51 gallon by 2025, nearly double their average in 2012. To meet these requirements, the industry would need to speed the development and increase sales of zero-​and low-​emission vehicles. Because tailpipe emissions are a leading source of GHG emissions in the United States, and burning less fuel produces less carbon dioxide, these strengthened fuel economy standards represented a key component of the Obama administration’s program to address the risks of climate change. Once again, the state’s “bottom-​up” tactics had a national impact. As former EPA director William Reilly wrote in 2013, “We would not be where we were today if California had not kept up the pressure for cleaner cars” (Reilly 2013). In addition, to promote a national market for electric cars, in 2012, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued new zero-​emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates, which required that a percentage of each auto company’s total sales had to be either fully electric, plug-​in hybrids, or powered by hydrogen fuel cells. These requirements were adopted by nine other states and have played a critical role in increasing the sales of electric vehicles in the United States, half of which have been sold in California. They have also provided an incentive for the world’s major automotive manufacturers to increase their production and marketing of electric cars. The Trump administration, which took office in January 2017, announced that it planned to both issue new weaker federal fuel economy standards and repeal the waiver the Obama administration had approved for California. In September 2019, the EPA formally revoked California’s wavier, which also prevented any other state from retaining more stringent fuel economy standards. California and 23 other states then filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s decision, setting up a major conflict between California and the federal government (Tabuchi 2020). When, in March 2020, the federal government officially announced the weakening of national fuel economy standards, nearly two dozen states, led by California, sued to reverse this decision. This was the eighty-​second lawsuit filed by California against the Trump administration, most of which have targeted the White House’s reversals of climate change and other environmental regulation, making California the leading state opponent of the Trump’s administration’s deregulatory initiatives. California prevailed in 20 of these suits; the others were resolved (Phillips 2019). With the election of President Joseph Biden in 2020, these legal conflicts between state and federal environmental standards diminished as federal standards were strengthened.-​often with the support of California. The Trump’s administration’s unprecedented rollback of California’s waiver had politically divided the automobile industry. Fearing a split American market, Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen, which together account for 30 percent of new car sales, announced that all the vehicles they sell in the United States will meet the California standards being challenged by the Trump administration. Thus the state’s pioneering efforts to reduce GHG emissions from motor vehicles continue to shape industry practices. Notably, one of the first environmental initiatives of the Biden Administration was to approve California’s vehicle emissions waiver.

Leadership on Global Climate Change In January 2005, California’s newly elected governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a speech at the United Nations World Environmental Day conference in San Francisco in which he

52   David Vogel stated that “the time for action is now. California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming” (Vogel 2018, p. 206). He then issued an executive order that required the state to reduce its current GHG emissions to their 2000 levels by 2010 and then to reduce them to 80 percent below their 1990 levels by 2050. The state legislature followed by passing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which mandated a cut in state GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (Nichols 2009). While other states had previously set GHG reduction targets, and some of them were more stringent than California’s, their goals were either narrow in scope or not legally binding, making the California statute “the most ambitious climate change legislation enacted anywhere in North America and among the most aggressive polices in the world” (Rabe 2013, p. 67). The law’s passage had a national impact: 14 other states now have GHG reduction targets (Vogel 2018). In 2012, acting under the authority granted to it by the Global Warming Solutions Act, the CARB began to implement a cap and trade program. Under this plan, GHG emissions covered by the program were capped and then required to be reduced each year. Firms were issued permits for their carbon allowances, which they then could buy or sell to one another. While three years earlier, Congress had failed to approve a similar plan, California was still willing to go ahead on its own. However, the state had hoped that neighboring states sharing its power grid would follow its example as this would improve the effectiveness of emissions trading. None was willing to do so. Today the state’s only formal partnership for its cap and trade plan is with the Canadian province of Quebec. In 2016, the California legislature voted to expand the state’s emissions reduction goals. This legislation codified an executive order requiring the state to reduce its GHG emissions to 40 percent below its 1990 levels by 2030—​an interim target for the state’s long-​term goal of achieving an 80 percent reduction by 2050. These goals are among the most ambitious in the world. Led by California Governor Jerry Brown, in 2017, the state legislature voted to extend the state’s cap and trade program through 2030. For Brown, the June 2017 decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord had made it especially critical for California to show the world that the United States was not abandoning its climate change reduction commitments. As Brown stated, “I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track” (Plumer 2017). With the Trump administration’s strong opposition to policies to reduce GHG emissions, American leadership in addressing the risks of global climate change has passed to California and other state and local governments. California state officials have established a de facto State Department, working to cooperate with and assist governments throughout the world on their emissions reduction efforts. Established jointly by California and the German state of Baden-​Wurttermberg, 165 local governments in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Great Britain have signed on to a Global Climate Leadership Memorandum of Understanding committing them to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. California’s global leadership has been particularly notable in China, where the state is serving as a technical advisor to 100 cities. China’s zero-​emissions vehicle regulations were based on those of California. During a highly publicized visit to China that followed shortly after the Trump withdrawal decision for the Paris Accord, Governor Brown signed an agreement between the two governments, pledging to cooperate on exchanging emissions reduction technologies. As one observer noted, “The reference point for China is not

California’s Environmental Policy Leadership    53 Washington, it’s California. They would rather learn from California than any other jurisdiction” (Megarian et al. 2017). California policy-​makers hope that the ability of the world’s fifth largest economy to continually reduce its GHG emissions while continuing to grow economically will inspire other governments to emulate its example. Clearly, much is riding on California’s future environmental record and economic performance.

Chemical Safety California has also played a leadership role in protecting its citizens from chemicals and other hazardous materials. Its first important policy initiative took place in November 1986, when the voters of California overwhelming approved Proposition 65 (Brady and Kilroy 1989). Labeled the “State Drinking and Toxic Enforcement Act,” its goal was to protect Californians and the water they drink from harmful chemicals. It prohibited the discharge of any listed carcinogen or reproductive toxin into a potential source of drinking water and furthermore required that citizens be notified if they were being exposed to such chemicals or toxins. While federal environmental laws and rules had required new restrictions to meet a cost-​benefit test, California, in a major policy innovation, chose not to do so: the intention of this Proposition was that its restrictions on chemicals were to be entirely health-​based. The implementation of this Proposition has had a major impact on business practices, especially on consumer products (Rechlschaffen and Williams 2005). It has led to scores of these products, ranging from raincoats and other plastic clothing, to baby rash powders and creams, playground equipment, galvanized pipes, hair dyes, and nail care products being reformatted. As a result, many hazardous substances in these products, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury, were eliminated. Because of the large size of California’s consumer market, many of the products that had been reformulated to meet California’s requirements are also being sold throughout the United States, increasing the Proposition’s impact. In 2003, California became the first state to restrict electronic wastes from entering landfills (Sachs 2006). It established a program for obsolete computers, televisions, and later cell phones that contained lead and other toxic heavy metals to be collected and recycled in order to keep these dangerous substances out of landfills. By 2007, more than half of American states had adopted roughly similar “producer take back” programs for electronic products. California also went a step further, prohibiting the sale of larger electronic products that contained either four heavy metals or two chemicals known to be dangerous. This later provision was similar to a regulatory requirement issued by the European Union and has also been adopted by several American states, though most cover fewer hazardous substances or products. Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are widely used in common household products, such as furniture padding, mattresses, draperies, and upholstery, to slow the spread of fire. While many countries have regulated or banned them, the EPA was slow to act. However, concern about their safety grew in California as BFRs had appeared in breast milk and could serve as endocrine disruptors, impairing the development of children (Daub 2005). California became the first government to ban two kinds of BFRs, requiring that they be phased out by 2008. Because the state was the largest consumer of products containing these chemicals, California’s ban effectively shut down the national market for them. Twelve

54   David Vogel other states, following California’s lead, soon banned them as well. For its part, while the federal government continued to evaluate the risks of these chemicals, it assisted the implementation of California’s de facto national ban by working with their major manufacturers to ensure that approved substitutes would be available throughout the United States. In 2008, California launched its “Green Chemistry Initiative” (Kay 2010). Historically, both nationally and in California, chemical regulations had been primarily reactive: they evaluated the safety of and, if necessary, imposed restrictions on hazardous substances already in use. The purpose of California’s new policy initiative was preventive: its purpose was to change the way products containing potentially dangerous chemicals were designed in the first place. It required companies to both identify and assess the health risks of their products and then, if appropriate, to substitute safer alternatives. The law was also sweeping in scope: it sought to reduce toxic substances in all consumer products, rather than—​as was often done in the past—​focus on one chemical or one product at a time. According to the State Department of Toxic Substances Control, which was responsible for implementing the 2008 statue, the state regulations that required manufactures to seek safer alternatives to harmful chemical ingredients in widely used consumer products gave California “the opportunity to lead the way in producing safer versions of goods already in demand around the world” (Kumar 2013). Six other states, also dissatisfied with the failure of the federal government to reform and strengthen the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, enacted roughly comparable “green chemistry” policy initiatives. These and other state expansions of chemical safety regulations helped prompt Congress, in 2016, to enact the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century. This legislation, which had been under discussion for several years, strengthened the EPA’s authority to test the safety of hazardous chemicals and remove those already in use from the marketplace. However, its effectiveness was undermined by the Trump administration, whose officials opposed new regulatory restrictions (Kaplan 2017; Lipton 2017). In one important case, the EPA reversed a pending ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which was widely used in spraying crops and was linked to health and other developmental problems in children. California, whose farmers were the biggest users of this chemical, responded by imposing its own ban. The European Union and the state of New York followed California by banning it as well. In February 2020, the chemical’s primary manufacturer announced that, due to declining demand, it would stop producing it, once again demonstrating the broader impact of California’s regulatory policy leadership (Mohan 2020).

Conclusion This chapter has explored several dimensions of California’s environmental leadership, examining both their historical roots and contemporary developments. Several of its case studies demonstrate the myriad ways in which California’s environmental policy innovations have had an impact beyond the state. This diffusion has taken place through various mechanisms: some state regulations have been adopted by other states, others by the federal government, and still others through market mechanisms reflecting the size of California’s economy. More broadly, this case study of California is informed by the fact that

California’s Environmental Policy Leadership    55 the United States is a federal system—​one in which American states have and continue to play in an important role in environmental policy-​making in the United States.

References Brady, Michael, and Maurya Kiloy. “An Introduction to California’s Proposition 65.” Tulane Environmental Law Journal 2 (1989): 45–​56. Browning, Judkin, and Timothy Silver. An Environmental History of the Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Caroline Press, 2020. Daub, Tracy. “California: Rogue State or National Leader in Environmental Regulation? An Analysis of California’s Ban on Bromated Flame Retardants.” Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal (2005): 343–​370. Ekland, Sarah. How Local Politics Shape Federal Policy: Business, Power & the Environment in Twentieth Century Los Angeles. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Freudenberg, William, and Robert Gambling. Oil in Troubled Waters. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994. Friedman, Lisa. “Trump Moves to Open Nearly All Offshore to Drilling.” New York Times (January 4, 2018). Goklany, Indur. Clearing the Air. Washington DC: The Cato Institute, 1999. Golden, Kevin. “Senate Bill 1078: The Renewable Energy Standard –​California Asserts Its Renewable Energy Leadership.” Ecology Law Quarterly 30 (2003): 693–​7 13. Kaplan, Shelia. “In Reversal, Chemicals Are Cleared for Use.” New York Times (December 20, 2017). Kay. James. “California Proposes New Regulatin on Chemcials in Consumer Products” Environmental Health News June 24, 2010 Klass, Alexandra. “State Standards for Nationwide Products Revisited: Federalism, Green Building Codes and Appliance Standards.” Harvard Environmental Law Review 34 (2010): 335–​368. Kumar, Dinesh. “California’s Safer Consumer Product Regulations” Chemical Watch. https://​ chemic​alwa​​Index.cfm. 2013. Lipton, Eric. “Chemical Industry Insider Now Shapes E.P.A. Policy.” New York Times (October 20, 2017). Megarian, Chris, John Myers, and Jessica Meyers. “Gov. Brown, America’s Unofficial Climate Change Ambassador in the Trump Era, Heads to China.” Los Angeles Times (June 1, 2017). Mohan, Geoffrey. “California Banned a Pesticide from Your Food. Now It Won’t Be Manufactured.” Los Angeles Times (February 2, 2020). Nash, A.E. Keir, Dean Mann, and Phil Olsen. Oil Pollution and the Public Interest: A Study of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill. Berkeley, CA: Institute of Governmental Studies, 1972. Nichols, Mary. “California’s Climate Change Program: Lessons for the Nation.” Journal of Environmental Law 27 (2009): 185–​212. Phillips, Anna. “In California vs. Trump, the State Is Winning Nearly All Its Environmental Battles.” Los Angeles Times (May 7, 2019). Plumer, Brad. “Just How Far Can California Possibly Go on Climate? ” New York Times (July 27, 2017). Profeta, Tim. “Coastal States Oppose Offshore Drilling Proposal.” National Geographic blog (February 28 2018).

56   David Vogel Rabe, Barry. “A New Era in States’ Climate Policies.” In Changing Climate Politics: U.S Policies and Civic Action, edited by Yael Wolinsky Nahmias, 55–​81. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2013. Rabe, Barry. “Leveraged Federalism and the Clean Air Act: The Case of Vehicle Emissions Control.” In Lessons from the Clean Air Act, edited by Ann Carlson and Dallas Burtraw, 113–​158. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Rechlschaffen, Clifford, and Patrick Williams. “The Continued Success of Proposition 65 in Reducing Toxic Exposures.” Environmental Law Institute 35 (2005): 10850–​10856. Reilly, William. “California Driving Clean Car Future.” San Francisco Chronicle (January 21, 2013). Roberts, David. “How California Became Far More Energy Efficient Than the Rest of the Country.” Vox (May 31, 2019). Rosenfeld, Arthur, with Deborah Poskanzer. “A Graph Is Worth Thousand Gigawatt-​ Hours: How California Came to Lead the United States in Energy Efficiency.” Innovations (Fall 2009): 57–​79. Sachs, Noah. “Planning the Funeral at the Birth: Expanded Producer Responsibility in the European Union and the United States.” Harvard Environmental Law Review 30 (2006): 51–​98. Shea, Jenny Roland, and Mary Ellen Kustin. “A 13 Million Acre Lie.” Center for American Progress (March 20, 2019). Tabuchi, Hiroko. “States Sue Trump to Stop U.S. Rollback on Emissions.” New York Times (May 29, 2020). Tabuchi, Hiroko, and Tim Wallace. “Drilling? Expect Few to Dive In.” New York Times (January 24, 2018). Tackach, James. Lincoln and the Natural Environment. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2019. Vogel, David. Trading Up: Consumer and Environmental Regulation in Global Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995. Vogel, David. California Greenin’: How the Golden State Became An Environmental Leader. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018.

Chapter 3

As sessing 30 Ye a rs of Neolibe ra l Environm e nta l Managem ent i n C h i l e Effective, Democratic or Neither? Javiera Barandiarán On October 18, 2019, protests against a public transit fare hike in Santiago, Chile, spilled over into a national movement demanding better social services and an end to predatory business practices. “Dignity” became the central rallying cry. For 3 weeks, protests continued in every city, despite indiscriminate violence by state security forces. Arson, looting, and property destruction accompanied the protests. Wavering between reformists and right-​wing hardliners within his coalition, President Sebastián Piñera in mid-​November acquiesced to a multiparty agreement for constitutional reform. Though delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, on October 25, 2020, Chileans voted to replace the current constitution, which has been in place since 1980, by a margin of 78 to 22 percent, in favor of reform. Just days before this uprising, President Piñera referred to Chile as a “true oasis” in a “convulsed” Latin America (Mucho Gusto 2019). This reputation for stable government and strong economic growth earned Chile in 2010 membership into the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), becoming the first South American nation to join this club of wealthy nations. Focusing on these successes, however, ignores that the richest members of society benefited disproportionately from economic growth occurring since the 1980s. In 2015, the top 1 percent took close to 25 percent of national income, making Chile more unequal than the United States (although the US is catching up fast) and on par with Brazil and Colombia (Atria et al. 2018). Essential services are expensive: Chilean households spend more out-​of-​pocket for health than any other OECD country except Switzerland and are in the top four for spending on K-​12 education, and are highest for tertiary education.1 The pension system, based on individual saving accounts, delivers less than minimum wage to 80 percent of pensioners; meanwhile, the private companies that administer pensions accrued annual returns of 25 percent between 2006 and 2015 (Heine 2020). Women’s pensions are particularly low because of job and

58   Javiera Barandiarán wage discrimination, childbearing, and unpaid household work (Arenas de Mesa 2019). Indigenous communities suffer higher levels of poverty and discrimination (Comunidad Indígena Yagán et al. 2020). Environmental activists have long denounced that environmental harms and goods, like clean water, are unequally distributed, prompting a growing number of protests focused on environmental problems; for many, this social crisis was also environmental (Calisto and Weber 2020). This chapter explains the importance of Chile’s 1980 Constitution in creating a neoliberal democracy that, among other things, transformed scientific knowledge into a market commodity and thus hindered the state’s efforts to safeguard the environment. Neoliberalism is a political rationality that puts markets at the center of human activity, championing markets as the most efficient and fair way of organizing social life (Mirowski 2019, also see Jacques chapter, this volume). Applied to environmental scientific knowledge, this means that various activities like monitoring, data collection, analysis, and assessments are conducted by (typically for-​profit) consultants hired by state officials through competitive markets. As a result, data are fragmented rather than long-​term or systematic, officials cannot develop a relationship of trust with an advisor, and distrust is rife given the constant suspicion of conflicts of interest. Chile’s market for scientific data and advice has accentuated inequities in who has access to information, creating knowledge gaps and disrupting accountability in ways that hurt environmental regulation. Neoliberal policies have varied over time, advanced unevenly, and recently begun to suffer major setbacks. Scholars consider Chile a country with a particularly advanced neoliberal regime, as observed in specific policies and in its 1980 Constitution (Harvey 2005; Pinto 2019; MacLean 2017; Valdivia 2006; Mirowski and Plehwe 2009). This chapter introduces science and technology studies (STS) concepts like “political technology” to highlight the ways in which neoliberalism should be understood as a form of applied knowledge used to transform the state and society (Tironi and Barandiarán 2014). In the case of Chile, this transformation has produced what I call an “umpire state” bent on arbitrating between private parties as if they were playing a competitive game. Scholars have long blamed neoliberalism for accelerating environmental destruction in Chile, particularly harming forest, coastal, and riparian ecosystems and generating acute industrial pollution (Liverman and Vilas 2006; Rodriguez and Carruthers 2008; Bustos et al. 2014). Indeed, the market for science—​the focus of this chapter—​is just one neoliberal policy that has contributed to environmental destruction: focusing on this market sheds light on the legal foundations within the 1980 Constitution that marginalize state initiative in favor of markets, transforming both the state and democratic practices. The final part of this chapter argues that constitutional reform in Chile needs to democratize both democracy and science to lay the foundations for a relationship among science, the state, society, and nature that is based on greater equality and strong mutual accountability. Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution offers some ideas for how to move in that direction. By contrast to Chile’s neoliberalism, in 2008, Ecuador adopted a pioneering constitution that explicitly rejected neoliberalism and introduced new governance principles, like a focus on dignity and rights of nature (RoN; Becker 2011). The rest of the chapter proceeds as follows. The first section describes Chile’s neoliberal democracy in practice through the example of environmental impact assessments (EIAs), the most important policy in the environmental regulatory playbook available to Chilean officials. The second section recounts the creation of markets for environmental

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    59 scientific advice that occurred in the 1990s, when Chile transitioned from military to democratic rule. This was a period of change but also continuity, as the new democracy retained the dictatorship-​era 1980 Constitution. The third section analyzes how and why markets for science breed distrust, and how this hinders state officials’ efforts to protect the environment from industrial activities. The fourth section summarizes the negative environmental impacts that Chile’s neoliberal democracy had between 1999 and 2015, and it identifies ongoing knowledge gaps that continue to hinder governance efforts. The fifth section defines neoliberalism as a political rationality and the consequences of markets for citizenship, the state, and the generation of knowledge. The final section summarizes how Chile’s 1980 Constitution created a neoliberal democracy and explores what Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution can offer for attempts at reform.

The Umpire State as a Neoliberal Democracy When it comes to the environment, “neoliberalism has been linked to the privatization and commodification of unowned, state-​owned, or common property resources such as forests, water, and biodiversity; payment for environmental services; deregulation and cuts in public expenditure for environmental management; the opening up of trade and investment; and transfer of environmental management to local or nongovernmental institutions” (Liverman and Vilas 2006, p. 328). In their comprehensive review of neoliberal environmental management across Latin America, Diana Liverman and Silvina Vilas (2006) point to numerous failures of this approach, concluding that neoliberalism has done little to protect the Latin American environment. Recent research from scholars working in STS and the emerging field of neoliberal studies extends Liverman and Vilas’s approach to argue that neoliberalism is more than a series of policies like privatization. Rather, neoliberalism is a political rationality that transforms democracy itself, animating practices that differ from those of, for example, a liberal democracy. The concept of the “umpire state” captures the logic of a neoliberal democracy: in an umpire state, “state actions seek to facilitate a competitive ‘game’ designed to enable players to pursue their own private agendas” (Barandiarán 2018, p. 198). This state is “enacted through state agencies that are limited in scope and analytic capacities as well as science that has been turned into a market commodity and low-​status activity” (Barandiarán 2018, p. 191). This concept combines the STS idiom of co-​production—​how we know and represent nature is inseparable from how we choose to live in it (Jasanoff 2004)—​with our growing understanding of neoliberal democracy (Brown 2009; Mirowski 2019). In a neoliberal democracy, the state has no apparent interests beyond enforcing the rules of the game; unlike corporations, it cannot “game” markets in its favor to protect citizens or advance their welfare. The umpire state is epistemically hollowed out and democracy demoted to market transactions, including for votes. The practice of EIAs in Chile illustrates how the umpire state operates. EIAs require developers to submit a scientific assessment of the anticipated environmental impacts of a project before receiving building and operating permits (Glasson et al. 2012). State

60   Javiera Barandiarán agencies then weigh this information against the project’s benefits when deciding whether to approve an EIA. As described by a US judge in an early legal case involving EIAs, a decision should result from “a fine-​tuned and systematic balancing analysis” (Milazzo 2006, p. 137). Simply, EIAs require state regulators to play a reflexive role, actively considering the information provided to them to reach a meditated decision that adjudicates between the competing interests of local communities, developers, and broader society (Pope et al. 2013; Aedo and Parker 2020). In Chile, state regulators include officials working at various state agencies that oversee EIAs (e.g., CONAMA, described later, as well as separate agencies that each manage water, agriculture, geological and mining resources, forests, fisheries and coastal waters, and others. See Barandiarán 2018, p. 36–​38, for a detailed description of EIA procedures in Chile). By contrast to this active, reflexive state, the Chilean state has often acted as an umpire in EIA decisions (Barandiarán 2018). Rather than carefully consider the information presented in light of constituents’ competing interests, Chilean officials typically aspired to neutrally enforce the rules. For instance, in 2011, state officials had to decide whether to approve or reject the EIA application presented by a large hydroelectric project called HidroAysén based on their analysis of thousands of pages of scientific information and comments by frontline communities. As with other EIAs in Chile, activists complained that the state was ignoring scientific evidence demonstrating that the supposed benefits (cheaper electricity) were not worth the costs (environmental destruction in Patagonia, a rare region yet unspoiled by industrialization) (on HidroAysén, see Schaeffer and Smits 2015; for criticism of EIAs in Chile, see Sepúlveda and Villarroel 2012; Tecklin et al. 2011). This was sufficient reason, they believed, for state officials to reject the EIA. But officials countered that their decision could only be based on legal considerations. The director of the EIA explained, We do our work remaining attached to what the law dictates. We are governed by public law that tells us that we can only do what the law allows us, not what we are forbidden from doing, as is the case with the private sector. Everything we do occurs within this regulated framework, which is why rather than voting [on an EIA decision] with our conscience we must vote following the letter of the law. (Quoted in Barandiarán 2018, p. 186)

In this example, the official responsible for HidroAysén’s EIA brushed aside the scientific information and public input provided through the EIA and instead justified the decision by appealing to the “letter of the law.” There is no “fine-​tuned and systematic balancing analysis,” only legal dictates. Such legal formalism is advanced by policy-​makers who propose regulating every aspect of EIAs—​the timeline, what counts as an environmental impact, the allowed scientific methodologies, the prescribed responses—​so that “nothing is subjective in any sense,” as stated by another Chilean EIA official (Barandiarán 2018, p. 186). The concept of the umpire state is an ideal, not a prescribed set of policies nor an end goal. Indeed, as the 2019 uprisings demonstrate, within Chilean society there is significant push-​back against neoliberal democracy. Regarding HidroAysén, although it was first approved, its EIA permits were later revoked. Some state officials involved in EIAs rejected the umpire state ideal, demanding more and better environmental studies to raise questions and provide evidence of the severity of the project’s anticipated impacts. In short, this episode illustrates that the progress of neoliberalism on the ground is uneven, varied, and

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    61 contested at the same time that it poses deep transformations to democracy itself (Randalls 2010; Lave et al. 2010a; Dondanville and Dougherty 2020). Chile’s umpire state is rooted in its 1980 Constitution, written by the military regime of Augusto Pinochet, who came to power in 1973 through a violent coup. The military regime and its long-​lasting constitution dramatically changed Chilean society and politics by marginalizing the state from the role it historically played in economic and political life. For decades prior, the Chilean state played an active role in national development—​for instance, building hydroelectric dams and public transit infrastructure (see contributions in Chastain and Lorek 2020). But such direct involvement came to an end during the 1970s and 1980s, when the military government privatized state-​owned assets and imposed structural reforms like deregulation and fiscal discipline (Silva 1996; Liverman and Vilas 2006; Bustos et al. 2014; Tironi and Barandiarán 2014). The 1980 Constitution provided the legal foundations for these structural reforms and introduced also a central organizing idea: the “subsidiary principle,” which stipulates that the state is subordinate to private initiative (Ferrada 2000). When the official quoted earlier said, “we [state officials] are governed by public law that tells us that we can only do what the law allows us, not what we are forbidden from doing, as is the case with the private sector,” he was referencing the subsidiary principle. Coupled with privatization, strong property rights, and a prostrate legislature, this principle elevates markets to the fore of human activity and relegates the state to the role of enabling markets. The umpire state thus buys scientific advice, including that used in EIAs, through markets.

Creating Markets for Environmental Science The creation of markets for science is a global phenomenon, extending well beyond Chile. STS scholars study the commercialization of science as the processes by which scientific knowledge is turned into a commodity to be bought and sold through markets (Fernández 2015). In the United States, the commercialization of science is changing university finance (Mirowski 2011), data collection (Randalls 2010), patenting practices (Birch 2017; Lander 2008), and environmental regulation (Lave et al. 2010a). Evidence of commercialization exists also in Latin America (Blair 2019; Smith 2017; Sanz 2020) and within entities with global operations, such as social entrepreneurs developing humanitarian devices (Redfield 2016). Scholars have also examined the ways in which scientists sponsored by industry have advocated for markets so as to displace other ways of validating science (Oreskes and Conway 2011; Miller 2017; Nik-​Khah 2014). A common finding across the studies just cited is that traditional scientific institutions, like peer review, are losing influence as scientific work changes owing to the increase in corporate funding for research. This happens in a number of ways: scientists at public institutions do work that advances corporate interests (e.g., Nik-​Khah 2014; Fernández 2015), and more and more scientists work in a variety of “research organizations” created to advance private interests through science (e.g., Mirowski 2005). Similarly, private foundations increasingly search for and fund scientists

62   Javiera Barandiarán whose research advances their interests and are willing to attack research unfavorable to the foundation’s cause (Fernández 2015; Sasser 2018). The Chilean umpire state provides multiple examples of markets for science at work and echoes a common finding of the commercialization literature: markets for science are hurting trust in science and accentuating inequities in who has access to the information needed for policy-​making. Additionally, the concept of the umpire state provides a framework for understanding the importance of scientific commercialization for democratic governance by highlighting that science itself is not the only prize: rather, what is at stake as science is transformed into a market commodity is the scope and relative power of the state and markets (Miller 2017). Central to the umpire state is a neoliberal faith in markets as the only legitimate way of organizing human activity, including the production of knowledge. In 1988, long after the coup of 1973, Chileans denied Augusto Pinochet another 8 years in power in a referendum. This exceptional vote initiated a return to democracy and numerous changes—​including the approval in 1994 of Chile’s first environmental framework law and environmental agency, CONAMA. However, the new democracy retained the dictatorship-​era 1980 Constitution which, as noted earlier, enshrines the subsidiary principle that constrains state initiative in favor of private enterprise. It also protects rights to private property and free enterprise, including for instance “the right to open, organize and maintain an educational establishment” (Article 19.11). These constitutional provisions transformed Chilean science and universities. As CONAMA got started, Japan’s national aid agency, known as JICA, offered to fund a National Center for the Environment (CENMA) to provide CONAMA with in-​house scientific advice. A group of individuals involved with the environmental framework law shared JICA’s interest and set to work (Barandiarán 2020a). However, they disagreed with JICA’s strategic vision: whereas JICA saw a need to provide CONAMA with in-​house scientific expertise, as environmental regulators have in Japan or in the United States, the Chilean officials involved in this case countered that the state could not have a privileged relationship with any one scientific laboratory—​this would violate the principles of competition and subsidiarity. CENMA was instead created as a private foundation. Deprived of in-​house capacities, CONAMA turned to purchasing through market mechanisms the scientific studies it needed. CONAMA, however, needed scientific expertise to identify environmental problems, propose pollution limits and environmental quality standards, and evaluate EIAs. EIAs became, over time, CONAMA’s primary tool for managing the environment; its legal faculties for drafting and enforcing quality and emission standards were weak, its political power when confronted by ministries was nonexistent, and it had no recourse to other policy tools, like land-​use planning, which can be used for managing the environment (Barandiarán 2016, 2018; Tecklin et al. 2011). Creating CENMA as a private foundation was the first of three ways in which policy-​ makers privatized environmental science during the democratic transition in Chile.2 A second way involved CONAMA’s Advisory Council, which could have been an expert body providing CONAMA with strategic, specialized advise rather than the representative body it became, with one member appointed by the president and two members each from academia, NGOs, business, labor, and consulting firms. This gave scientists an equal footing with consultants, drowning out the voice of academic scientists and augmenting that of consulting firms, which soon expanded their political influence. In EIAs, consultants do the bulk of the data collection and analysis. The Advisory Council could have been a space for

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    63 academic scientists to assess that work for controversial or complex projects. Instead, the council had little practical importance for CONAMA’s work or EIAs (Barandiarán 2020a). Third, legislators established only a very small pot of funding for environmental research. Some legislators strenuously opposed creating a “special fund” for environmental research, saying this was discriminatory: instead, all activities should compete for general funds in accordance with market and subsidiary principles (Barandiarán 2018). When the Chilean state needs environmental information, it thus must buy this information through a regulated market.3 These tenders tend to be for short-​term, narrowly defined points of data. For instance, CENMA operated an air quality monitoring network across several cities until this project was transferred to the public market. Officials chose the cheaper bid from a small consulting start-​up whose data collection methods generated lots of invalid and missing data, without which the environmental authorities could not issue air quality warnings (Barandiarán 2018, pp. 51–​54). Moreover, the start-​up folded within a few years, and the time-​series data CENMA had collected, as well as the labs and multidisciplinary team of scientists, were lost. Without stable public funding, CENMA was unable to maintain scientific quality standards and, in 2019, after many years of volatile funding, the entire center closed (Ureta 2020). Like CENMA, universities are also forced to compete for scarce public research funds. The 1980 Constitution and a higher education law that followed led to a boom in new universities, creating a competitive market that has forced all universities to behave as if they are profit-​maximizing entities (Barandiarán 2012). These changes have impacted environmental science in several ways. First, scientists’ working conditions have grown increasingly precarious because universities provide few full-​time jobs, forcing many environmental scientists to work multiple jobs and supplement meagre university salaries with consulting work (Simbürger and Neary 2016). Research funding is so low that even those with stable university jobs sometimes covet large EIA projects, like HidroAysén (Barandiarán 2018). Indeed, for 30 years, government spending on research has held steady at less than 0.4 percent of GDP, compared to more than 2 percent spent by the world’s richest countries.4 The higher education market is also hurting the next generation of environmental scientists. Access to higher education is necessary for training new scientists. And equitable, affordable access is necessary for training individuals from nontraditional backgrounds, such as Indigenous students. However, Chile’s university market has saddled students with debt, which cannot be repaid on increasingly poor faculty or research salaries, thus increasing pressure on these students to accept better-​paid industry jobs (Monckeberg 2007). The commercialization of universities and science thus produces a smaller, less diverse environmental scientific community (Chiappa and Perez Mejias 2019). Numerous scandals have also rocked universities. Rather than paying for instruction or student services, student fees have been spent on the advertising needed to attract new customers and on real estate (Monckeberg 2007). At several universities, CEOs used tuition to pay mortgages on university buildings: while students acquired a lifetime-​worth of debt subsidized by the state’s loan program, university shareholders gained ownership of valuable properties (Monckeberg 2007). In addition, several universities bribed the national accreditation agency created to verify educational quality (Torres and Riquelme 2011). The bribing of the national accreditation agency illustrates another common trait of neoliberal interventions: they often backfire or work in contradictory ways, not only in Chile but around the world. For example, contracts meant to distinguish China’s public

64   Javiera Barandiarán health industry from science did the opposite (Greenhalgh 2016); competitive markets in the United States have tended toward monopoly or oligopoly as companies strategically privatize science to promote their interests (Mirowski 2018; Fernández 2015); and globally, policies that seem democratic, like EIAs or Open Science platforms, promote vacuous forms of public participation (Mirowski 2018; for Chile, see Tironi and Barandiarán 2014; Ureta 2017). This phenomenon is captured in the concept of neoliberalism as a “political technology”; that is, as embodied, applied expertise used to pragmatically and purposefully transform the state and society (Tironi and Barandiarán 2014). These transformations are eroding public trust in science, and, as detailed next, this cannot be easily reverted. On the contrary, Chilean environmental scientists’ efforts to promote trust in science often failed to work as expected.

Markets for Science Breed Distrust STS scholars use the concept of “boundary work” to analyze how scientists and their interlocutors assert the credibility of a knowledge claim by delineating science from different versions of pseudo-​science or “bad” science (Gieryn 1999). This is a common practice worldwide. For example, in a recent study of China’s public healthcare agencies, Susan Greenhalgh (2016) finds scientists attempting to uphold their reputations by delineating their work as “ethical” as opposed to the “unethical” pseudo-​science sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. A recent study of climate science in the United States finds that, after the federal government slashed funding for climate change research, the scientists who had previously received funding began distinguishing “done” science from “better” science to rationalize having to prematurely abandon their research projects (Jeon 2019). Boundary work can be rhetorical, as in the preceding examples, or it can happen through formal mechanisms like codes of conduct, contracts, and design guidelines (Lave 2012; Barandiarán 2018). However, these often fail to work as expected, in part because “the mechanisms of corporate influence, operating at organizational and individual levels, are often subtle and deliberately concealed, as actors in the neoliberal knowledge economy struggle to meet market imperatives while ensuring that their products appear value-​free” (Greenhalgh 2016, p. 486). For many decades prior to the advent of neoliberalism, scientists’ credibility has depended on projecting an appearance of being both relevant to society and autonomous from politics or business (Brown 2009; Guston 2000; Beigel 2013). As the case of Chile shows, scientists who appear to be working for industry often struggle to retain the credibility needed to speak to issues of public concern, like environmental protections. Chilean scientists hired to work on EIAs became increasingly indistinguishable from consultants. To defend their epistemic authority, they used boundary work, often with unsatisfactory or contradictory results. The following examples are taken from Science and Environment in Chile (Barandiarán 2018), which examines the politics of scientific advice in EIAs across four industry sectors to identify patterns in how scientists participate in this all-​important policy for environmental management. When it came to hiring scientists for EIAs and related monitoring studies, many state officials, activists, and industry insiders believed scientists were “opportunistic,” that is, that their need for funding would lead them

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    65 to accept jobs they were unqualified or unequipped to do. Nevertheless, officials, activists, and industry still hired scientists when they needed to reassure skeptical publics of the legitimacy of their claims—​after all, a scientific opinion was required in EIAs. Thus, industry hired scientists alongside consultants for EIAs they anticipated would be controversial, like HidroAysén. Activists, likewise, hired scientists when seeking to contest the environmental damage of a large project, like that of the Pascua Lama mine on glaciers. And state officials turned to scientists when forced to weigh-​in on these disputes. The Pascua Lama mine case illustrates how widely divergent industry, state, and activists views were on what makes credible scientists. While activists refused to hire any scientist who had ever worked for the mining industry, state officials actively sought out scientists with industry experience. Only corporations looked at scientists’ academic credentials to judge their credibility—​the traditional barometer of a scientist’s credibility (Guston 2000). Across all the EIA projects, industry staff believed they could safeguard scientists’ credibility through the contracts they signed for EIA work; to industry staff, these contracts guaranteed scientific freedom, but to scientists they did just the opposite by limiting the time, methods, and scope of their work. In short, contracts failed to legally distinguish scientists from consultants and contributed to deep distrust in science. Many scientists found themselves fielding accusations of “selling out” to industry and producing results favorable to their patron’s interests. Chilean scientists turned to different forms of boundary work to field these accusations. One common strategy was to claim to do narrow tasks of seemingly unassailable objectivity, like keeping an inventory of nature. For HidroAysen’s EIA, for instance, scientists rationalized their EIA studies by claiming they were merely documenting what was there (see also Barandiarán 2020b). Another strategy involved claiming an exaggerated humility; in a case against a paper and pulp mill accused of toxic pollution, scientists said that “science produces probabilities, not truths” to defend their work. Most frequently, scientists tried to assert their credibility by appealing to the scientific method and other traditional scientific practices, like peer review. But these appeals often failed, either due to distrust over private funding or because they reified science into a seemingly “mechanical” activity (Porter 1995). These efforts to delineate science from other things, like consulting work, did not overcome widespread distrust of science and likely only accentuated this distrust. For instance, regulators at Chile’s fisheries agency distrusted ocean monitoring data because they were convinced scientists and consultants held conflicts of interest that led them to manipulate the data. Activists distrusted projections of damages to glaciers because they suspected scientists were beholden to industry. In short, in a society governed by a market for science, environmental scientists cannot escape the suspicion that conflicts of interest compromise their independence and the credibility of their work. Their attempts to delineate science from consulting work make them appear equivocal and narrow to the point of irrelevance, further eroding public trust in science. These traits reinforce Chile’s neoliberal umpire state: the old ideal of a competent state with the resources and know-​how to intervene in the world cedes to a neoliberal ideal of a subsidiary state that arbitrates, as if a neutral umpire, between privately produced knowledge claims. In the umpire state, officials have access neither to trusted advisors nor good data; plagued by a sense that they lack the knowledge needed to make decisions, they appear woefully incompetent. This undermines their confidence to protect the environment through standard policies, like EIAs.

66   Javiera Barandiarán

An Increasingly Deteriorated Environment Since the 1990s, Chile’s umpire state oversaw the accelerated deterioration of the environment (Bustos et al. 2014), which state agencies have struggled to document given their reliance on piecemeal scientific data purchased from disparate and suspect consultants. In 2016, the nation’s flagship public university, the University of Chile, published a comprehensive assessment of environmental changes between 1999 and 2015 (Universidad de Chile 2016). This report highlights the multiple challenges facing the Chilean environment, including the existence of knowledge gaps that undermine regulation and policy-​making and that provide further evidence of the failures of Chile’s market for environmental science. The University of Chile’s scientists found that, between 1990 and 2015, environmental quality had worsened. Air quality across nearly all of Chile’s cities and mining areas has failed to meet standards for particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone, and other pollutants; only coastal cities like Puerto Montt, Antofagasta, and La Serena have been spared. Water quality had deteriorated in streams throughout the mining-​rich north and across the vast majority of Chile’s lakes. Native forests continued to be replaced by tree plantations and pastures. Deforestation estimates ranged from 237,000 and 314,000 hectares, while desertification affected about 20 percent of the national territory (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 173). This is bad news for biodiversity: plant and animal species facing some threat of extinction had increased by 171 percent (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 224). And catch fisheries were down: declines of more than 70 percent for pelagic species, 82 percent for those near the sea floor, and 45 percent for crustaceans (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 388). Greenhouse gas emissions, diesel use, waste, and agricultural run-​off were all up. Solid waste, for instance, increased from 11.6 million tons to 16.9 million tons, with most of the increase coming from industry (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 518). Climate change has compounded these trends: average precipitation is down, glacier melt is up, and nearly all dams contained less water—​on average, 40 percent less in 2015 compared to 1999 (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 133). The University of Chile’s scientists also pointed to multiple knowledge gaps that make regulation difficult. For example, estimates of native forest coverage were highly suspect because of inconsistencies in the definitions and measures used by the state agency responsible for forest protection (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 208). How much native forest is consumed as firewood is unknown, because in 2011 the energy agency stopped counting this, although most of Chile’s south relies on firewood for heating (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 210). Water consumption is a major concern, particularly throughout the arid, mineral-​rich north; yet there are no data on total water consumption by the mining industry (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 417). Conservation scientists called 1999–​2015 a “lost decade” because negligible progress was made in biodiversity research (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 239). They concluded, “recurrent deficiencies in how EIAs are applied, legal manipulations that occur with EIAs, and the low priority given to biodiversity in EIAs, have led to species loss and ecosystem deterioration. Even if political willingness to change this negative situation existed, this state of affairs is aggravated due to an inadequate diagnosis

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    67 of the causes and efficacy of regulatory tools, which lead to many ineffective interventions that are just ‘good wishes’ ” (Universidad de Chile 2016, p. 240). In summary, the University of Chile’s report denounced various ways in which insufficient scientific data from deforestation rates to water use by specific industries has stymied environmental protection and regulation efforts. Chilean scientists working to reduce urban air pollution have made similar complaints (Gallardo et al. 2018). Conversely, scholars found that one of Chile’s most successful environmental regulations—​to reduce arsenic emissions from copper smelters—​can be explained in part by an exceptional collaboration between science and regulators coupled with international pressure from competitors and domestic pressures to legitimate the new democracy (Ibarra et al. 2018). As Ibarra and her co-​authors note, this case was exceptional for a number of reasons, including the timing: during the new democracy’s early years (early 1990s), industry actors and officials from various state ministries and agencies were willing to put their differences aside and work toward a consensus to legitimate the new democracy. They saw environmental science as an ally in that effort and funded a competent and committed team of scientists at the University of Chile to assist them. Regulation could have gone otherwise, as the Mining Ministry initially opposed arsenic emission caps. But, just as Chile’s new democracy needed local legitimacy, copper exporters needed global legitimacy; all these factors aligned to enable this one regulatory success. The distinction between data and credible data is crucial, as Chilean glaciology science illustrates. The University of Chile report identified glaciology as one area where scientific knowledge has improved since 1999, largely due to the conflict at the Pascua Lama mine, which exposed rising threats to glaciers posed by mining (Barandiarán 2020b). In the late 2000s, state authorities began compiling a national inventory of glaciers to ensure their inclusion in EIAs—​which did not occur with Pascua Lama—​as well as requiring extensive glacier monitoring plans from mining operations. Yet the inventory and monitoring plans have been mired in controversy, with glaciologists disagreeing on who should collect data (scientists or consultants) and what the data is useful for (preventing damages or merely documenting them after they occur) (Barandiarán 2018, 2020b). In short, though glaciology data have increased, its credibility and relevance are contested even by some scientists and state officials involved in its production who appear to recognize that commercialized scientific data have fostered distrust and produced data that are not useful to regulators in different state agencies tasked with protecting glaciers from mining and climate change (Barandiarán 2020b; Taillant 2015; Ureta et al. 2020).

Neoliberalism as Political Rationality Markets are at the center of neoliberalism, whether they be for science or for elements of nature, like carbon, water, or ecosystem services (Liverman and Vilas 2006). These markets do not exist in opposition to the state; rather, they rely on its resources and institutions. The STS concept of “market devices” captures this dynamic. Market devices are “the material and discursive assemblages that intervene in the construction of markets,” assemblages which draw on state resources and organizations that employ experts, create data, enforce rules, and advance theories about how markets “should” operate (Muniesa et al. 2007, p. 2;

68   Javiera Barandiarán Lave et al. 2010a). Carbon markets, invented by states in the 2000s, are a prime example; in Chile (Ureta 2013) and the European Union (MacKenzie 2009) experts have struggled to transform carbon emissions into a commodity that fulfills textbook definitions of how markets work. The centrality of markets is captured in the following four principles, which synthesize the political rationality at the heart of neoliberalism. During the 1990s, the World Bank forced onto countries a series of policies in exchange for loans; these were called “structural reform” or, by critics, neoliberalism (Harvey 2005; Grindle 1997; Svampa 2019). However, neoliberalism is an intellectual effort, and therefore more dynamic, contested, and ambitious than the World Bank’s policy recipes suggest (Lave et al. 2010b; Ossandon 2019; Mirowski and Plehwe 2009). 1. The market is an “arbiter of truth.” Friedrich Hayek (1945), an economist considered the “father” of neoliberalism, described the market as an “information processor” greater than any human organization—​and certainly better than central planners in large state bureaucracies popular during the 1940s. This principle underpins the commercialization of science observed in Chile and elsewhere (Mirowski 2019). 2. Market failures can be solved by more markets. While neoclassical economists proposed solving market failures through taxes or subsidies, neoliberals favor market mechanisms, like school vouchers or carbon markets (MacLean 2017; Vettese 2019). This justifies extending property rights which, once established, are treated as “sacred”—​this is the case, for example, with property rights for water in Chile (Bauer 1998). 3. The self is an entrepreneur who manages their own human capital, deciding where to invest it and taking responsibility for any failures (Brown 2015). In Chile, the implications of this shift are evident in how individuals approach mental health and anti-​poverty policies (Han 2012) or in how policy-​makers imagined “citizens” when designing a new public transit system (Ureta 2015). 4. The state creates and sustains markets. States sustain markets by producing information about prices and costs, funding those systems that provide judicial certainty, and maintaining law and order, all while limiting state capacities in other areas. Chile’s subsidiary principle expresses this principle, which guides not only environmental and science policies as discussed here, but also national development. For instance, the Chilean state has withdrawn almost completely from industrial policy (Bril-​ Mascarenhas and Madariaga 2019).

Constitutional Reform: What Can Chile Learn from Ecuador? This chapter opened with the 2019 uprising against Chile’s neoliberal democracy, when anger with inequalities and injustices led to a historic pact to pursue constitutional reform. The 1980 Constitution symbolizes a repressive military regime and also puts into practice a neoliberal democracy, which is epistemically hollowed, operates through markets, and—​as

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    69 this section analyzes—​creates a “limited democracy” in which citizens’ votes do not translate into a representative legislature, legislative majorities are not large enough to approve reform bills, and reforms that restrict markets or “free enterprise” in any way are discarded as “unconstitutional” (Pinto 2019). Constitutional reform in Chile should take inspiration from Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution, arguably the world’s most progressive attempt at a democratic, social order (Becker 2011). Its provisions regarding Indigenous peoples, nature, and the role of the state have the potential to democratize science, reverting the negative impacts of its commercialization detailed in this chapter and laying the foundations for a more accountable and engaged scientific community. Before discussing Ecuador’s constitution, it is important to understand how Chile’s 1980 Constitution has restricted democracy. Reflecting on 30 years of neoliberal democracy, renowned historian Julio Pinto (2019) summarized that Chileans have learned that their votes do not translate into representation, let alone reform. In May 2019, polling found the lowest levels of trust in institutions since 1990: fewer than 20 percent of Chileans trusted the judiciary, political parties, or legislators.5 The reasons lie in the following constitutional laws which together create what Friedrich Hayek called a “limited democracy”: 1. Creates a subsidiary state, which is subordinate to private initiative (Fermandois 2006) and acts as an umpire, as noted earlier. Subsidiarity stems out of jurisprudence and several articles (e.g., Articles 1 and 19), including Article 19.21 that recognizes the individual “right to undertake any economic activity” (for a critical analysis see Ferrada 2000; Ruiz-​Tagle 2000; Vallejo and Pardow 2008). 2. Limits legislative authority by requiring “supermajorities” of around 60 percent in each legislative chamber to reform the constitution and 18 organic laws that regulate the most important matters of public life, including education and mining. Moreover, legislative decisions can be overridden by the Constitutional Tribunal, composed of political appointees, and the President, who has strong legislative powers and exclusive authority to adopt international treaties (Huneeus 2018). 3. Limits voting rights by restricting forms of direct democracy and (until 2017) imposing a “binomial” electoral system, which led to an overrepresentation of the right-​wing coalition at the expense of third-​party candidates. Constitutional interventions are neoliberals’ preferred way of advancing their skepticism of democracy, which they claimed would lead to totalitarianism (Biebricher 2019; Cornelissen 2017; MacLean 2017; Mirowski 2019; Fermandois 2006). These views are laid out in foundational neoliberal texts, including Friedrich Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty (1960), Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962), and James Buchanan’s The Limits of Liberty (1975), where he introduced the term “constitutional economics.” Hayek argued that political participation had to be limited given the cognitive impairments of average citizens and the superiority of the market as an information processor (Mirowski 2019). For Buchanan, the only “free” society was one based on unanimity, achieved during the constitutional moment and sustained by a constitution which places “locks and bolts” on democracy to protect the “minority rights” of even one person (MacLean 2017). Friedman, Hayek, and Buchanan each promoted their views when they visited Chile between the late 1970s and 1981, invited by a coalition of neoliberal economists and gremialistas—​this is a Catholic right-​wing movement that advocated for an “apolitical” society where “intermediate entities

70   Javiera Barandiarán could fulfill the functions that were natural to them” (Muñoz 2016, p. 50). In synthesis, the 1980 Constitution melds gremialismo with neoliberalism to create a neoliberal democracy in which environmental protection and human activities are governed through private property and markets overseen by an umpire state and in which legislative reform by democratic means is almost impossible (Huneeus 2000; Valdivia 2006, 2003; Pinto 2019). A new social order thus requires constitutional reform. By contrast to the umpire state, Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution redefines the role of the state toward ensuring dignity, welfare, and a safe and sustainable environment, guided by the Indigenous concept of “good living” (from the original in Quechua, sumak kawsay) (Ortiz and Mayorga 2012; Kauffman and Martin 2014). A global pioneer, this foundational law recognizes the RoN, a doctrine which could fundamentally transform how non-​humans participate in government and, in the process, democratize science (see Kauffman’s chapter, this volume). RoN doctrines can protect nature from being commodified, as rights-​bearing subjects cannot be as easily sold for someone’s profit, and create conditions for non-​humans to defend their interests in court, independently of various human interests in nature (Kauffman and Martin 2018; Cano Pecharroman 2018; Albornoz 2013). If nature can speak for itself in courts of law, why not also in laboratories? Elevating the epistemic authority of non-​humans would force a revision of every aspect of teaching, research, planning, industry, and consumption and result in a radical reimagining of the scientific enterprise, one that would see in nature an equal rather than a subordinate to be controlled or improved to meet human goals (Valladares and Boelens 2017). RoN might also be the best challenge against the extension of markets. In the United States, for example, corporations are treated as “fictional persons” for legal purposes, with Supreme Court decisions even recognizing corporate citizenship rights like free speech (Kirsch 2014). At a minimum, constitutional RoN should mean a more equitable legal representation of nature and corporations in courts, as opposed to the asymmetric contests common today (Kauffman and Martin 2016). More ambitiously, non-​humans could be recognized as having also ownership rights or other entitlements that might skew markets in their favor. For example, if aquifers were recognized as having ownership rights, Chile’s market for water rights would have to pay them for water use. These payments could go into a fund for reparations or local actions, such as projects, studies, conservation, or water-​saving equipment for households. Corporate users would have to pay aquifers a fair price, rather than a pittance, as often occurred when water rights were first issued. Finally, elevating the epistemic authority of non-​humans could challenge the privatization of knowledge about nature, thus countering the commodification of life enabled by neoliberal science (Lander 2008; Birch 2017; Albornoz 2013) and challenging dominant asymmetries that subordinate non-​humans to the status of simple property that exists for other’s benefit. These transformations are admittedly difficult to put into practice; they require, among other things, new methods for listening and documenting nature, as well as new forms of accountability and representation (for work in this direction, see Ureta et al. 2020; Lee and Newfont 2017). And the goal is ambitious—​to overhaul existing relations between the environment and corporations, science, and society. Such uncertainties and possibilities are precisely what makes Chile’s constitutional reform exciting, taking place as it does against a background of profound awareness of climate change, environmental collapse, and new ways of thinking about the economy and environment.

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    71 Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution has the potential to democratize science also by forcing more inclusive forms of citizen participation to dismantle systemic injustices. In centering Indigenous worldviews, Ecuador’s constitution took the first step in redressing the historic exclusion of Indigenous peoples from education and better-​paid jobs in science, government, and industry (Akchurin 2015; Valladares and Boelens 2017). This has brought material benefits to individuals from historically marginalized communities (Andolina et al. 2009), but it potentially has great epistemic and democratic importance. Sociologist of science Michel Callon and colleagues (2012) have noted that one of the great asymmetries in modern societies is that between experts and lay citizens, who have historically been excluded from scientific decision-​making and from processes designed to hold science accountable. Recent years have seen many efforts to democratize science through grassroots-​ led citizen science, government or university-​organized consensus conferences, creative uses of performance, and others (Baigorrotegui 2019; Ottinger 2017; Callon et al. 2012; Chilvers and Kearnes 2016; Partridge et al. 2017). Indigenous peoples across South America have been asserting their epistemic authority with increasing success (de la Cadena 2015; Valladares and Boelens 2017; Li 2015; Leyva 2018). For instance, they have pointed to the fact that Indigenous lands of the Amazon forest have lower deforestation and higher carbon storage than non-​Indigenous lands as proof that Indigenous knowledges may hold the key to effective environmental policies that defy neoliberalism and sustain a healthy environment (Blackman and Veit, 2018; Cifuentes 2017; see also Martello 2001). Only 13 years into this new constitutional regime, it is too early to assess how far science–​ society relations in Ecuador have advanced toward these ideals. Ecuadorian courts are slowly incorporating RoN doctrines into their decisions (Kauffman and Martin 2016), Indigenous individuals are occupying more positions of authority (Andolina et al. 2009), and Indigenous communities have won important victories in their centuries-​old struggle to reclaim rights to land and water (Partridge 2017; Kauffman and Martin 2014). Poverty and inequality have fallen, with Ecuador’s richest 1 percent taking less than 17 percent of total income, compared to 25 percent in Chile (Cano 2018). Nevertheless, many households are vulnerable to economic shocks, and successive governments have yet to figure out how Ecuador’s economy can rely less on mining and industrial agriculture (Svampa 2019). STS scholars complain that government investments in new universities and laboratories retain an extractivist logic that aims to patent and commercialize the nation’s biodiversity, in contradiction to the new constitutional principles (Albornoz 2013; Chavez and Gaybor 2018; Wilson and Bayón 2017). In short, society has only begun the process of transforming RoN and “good living” into practice. To help in this endeavor, STS scholars should be asking, What kind of civic epistemology does a state have that recognizes RoN? Civic epistemology refers to the institutionalized ways in which a society and its governing entities know things collectively; it includes paying attention to how knowledge is made official and how shared meanings are produced (Jasanoff 2005). Civic epistemologies are culturally and bureaucratically entrenched; they change slowly. Efforts to describe this new, nature-​recentered civic epistemology should consider questions like how to eschew evaluating government investments in science and laboratories on a linear success–​failure spectrum and how to integrate questions of democracy into studies of economic growth (Gómez-​Urrego 2019). They should take more seriously the real shortcomings of citizen participation that some scholars are finding (Pestre 2008; Mirowski 2018; Gregory 2017) and contribute to developing new models for scientists

72   Javiera Barandiarán to participate in democracy (Lahsen 2016; Meehan et al. 2018). One alternative is to conceptualize scientists as members of a “critical community” that is diverse and strongly accountable to others: communities, citizens, and state agencies, but also to rights-​bearing nature (Miller 1998; Barandiarán 2018).

Conclusion Chile’s post-​1990 neoliberal democracy has produced alarming levels of distrust in democracy and its institutions, including environmental science. Improving environmental protection and arresting continued pollution and degradation requires moving away from neoliberal democracy, which has hamstrung state regulatory and scientific capacities and democratic accountability while fostering market-​driven inequities and injustices. The path away from neoliberal democracy requires revitalizing the democratic state by recognizing the RoN and redefining the role of the state in public life—​from that of an umpire to a defender of dignity. Democracy needs to be reintroduced into Chile’s constitution by making voting rights bulletproof, strengthening the legislature’s legitimacy, increasing the modes and diversity of political participation, and cultivating locally embedded and accountable scientific communities. These measures can also democratize science, a necessary step for improving environmental protection. Democratizing science requires building relationships of strong accountability among rights-​bearing human and non-​human actors and state and government agencies, based not on the transparent transmission of data collected by private parties, but on deliberations carried out among parties with mutual respect for each others’ epistemic autonomy and authority. Scientists are crucial to these efforts to revitalize democracy, not as subordinates to corporate interests nor as unaccountable overseers, but as members of a critical community guided by humility, deliberation, and accountability to peoples and rights-​bearing nature.

Notes 1. Data on education are available at https://​​edur​esou​rce/​priv​ate-​spend​ing-​ on-​educat​ion.htm. Data on health are available at https://​​health​res/​hea​lth-​ spend​ing.htm. Accessed June 17, 2020. 2. See Barandiarán 2018, pp. 22–​31, for a detailed discussion of how the Chilean case compares to other countries. In short, elements of the Chilean experience are found elsewhere (e.g., in Peru, but not in Argentina). International organizations, like the World Bank and JICA, have attempted similar programs elsewhere (e.g., Vietnam, Mexico), also with mixed results. 3. See https://​www.mer​cado​publ​​Home 4. In 2019, Chile’s gross domestic product (GDP) was US$476 million, greater than that of Ireland or Czech Republic. Yet Chile spent significantly less than both on research and development (R&D): 0.35 percent of GDP compared to almost 1 percent in Ireland and 1.93 percent in Czech Republic (in 2018). Per capita, Chile’s 2019 GDP was just below that of Turkey or Russia (US$25,000 vs. US$28–​29,000) yet both of these countries spent

Assessing 30 Years of Neoliberal Environmental Management    73 more than twice on R&D than Chile (about 1 percent of GDP). Data on Research and Development spending are available at https://​​rd/​gross-​domes​tic-​spend​ ing-​on-​r-​d.htm. Accessed June 23, 2020. 5. Result from May 2019, “Barómetro de la Política,” MoriChile, accessed February 8, 2020 at http://​morich​​barome​tro-​de-​la-​polit​ica-​mayo-​2019/​.

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Chapter 4

Environm e nt a nd Devel op me nt

Crossing the Divide Between Global South and Global North Kathryn Hochstetler A binary division between a Global South and a Global North—​developing and developed countries—​has been a major organizing component of the study and practice of global environmental politics. Early international environmental negotiations, for example, were often framed as meetings where highly engaged Northerners confronted resistant Southerners (Miller 1995; Najam 2005). In the same way, the first generations of study of comparative environmental politics often proceeded as though all environmental politics and policy were unfolding in the Global North, with the Global South at most receiving actors, funds, and impulses from the other side of the world. These characterizations were not wholly arbitrary, as developing countries did express serious concerns about whether their national development priorities left space for a global environmental agenda and vice versa. Similarly, much of the institutional apparatus of environmental politics did appear later in the Global South than in the North. Yet global environmental actors have increasingly questioned this binary division at the international level. The climate negotiations have notably, if controversially, left behind Kyoto’s strict division between Annex I and non-​Annex I countries (Voight and Ferreira 2016). The G-​77 of 134 developing countries and China notoriously conceals really significant differences in interests and experiences (Barnett 2008). Theoretically, scholars have also proposed that rising powers like the BASIC countries (Brazil, China, India, and South Africa) are challenging not just the negotiations but our understandings of global order and hierarchy (Hochstetler and Milkoreit 2015; Hurrell 2007). And it was never easy to fit certain countries and regions, like those of Central Asia or the Middle East, into a binary division of global countries (Sowers et al. 2011; Weinthal 2002). The equivalent revelation has not yet fully come to the study of comparative environmental politics, but this chapter asserts that it should. To offer just one example, watching the Trump administration dismantle as much as it can of the United States’ historically world-​ leading environmental bureaucracy is very much like watching the Bolsonaro

82   Kathryn Hochstetler administration in Brazil as it takes apart the bureaucratic tools that began to control deforestation after 2003. The fact that one is in the Global North and the other in the Global South is some of the least informative knowledge to have about these processes. The study of comparative environmental politics needs to make better sense of the far from binary diversity of contemporary environmental politics. This chapter argues that such an agenda would begin by widening the range of topics political scientists study about developing countries beyond the current heavy focus on forests and natural resources—​ crucial topics, but just a subset of relevant ones. And it should study them in a larger number of countries. Not only would these changes give us a better understanding of the developing countries themselves, but it would also contribute to better understanding of topics now mostly studied in the advanced democracies, like federalism, political parties, social provision, the role of political institutions, and other themes central to comparative politics itself. Ultimately, this approach would require a different framing of the long-​standing environment and development debates, which is where the chapter concludes.

Comparative Politics and Environmental Politics The discipline of political science has long shown little interest in environmental politics. It is rarely covered in major disciplinary and subfield journals despite the fact that environmental topics like climate change are recognized as some of the most urgent policy issues of our time, including by scholars (Green and Hale 2017). There is even less coverage of comparative environmental politics (Cao et al. 2014; Purdon 2015). For example, from 2015 to 2020, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, and World Politics together published just five articles on environmental politics of any kind anywhere. Thus, this handbook will play an important role in consolidating the current status and future agenda of environmental topics in the field. But what role do and should studies of environmental politics in developing countries in particular play in that research agenda? One of the most ambitious past efforts to lay out an agenda that links the study of comparative politics and environmental politics does not, in fact, foreground the distinction between developing and developed countries (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012a, 2012b). As such, it provides a good foundation for the argument laid out here. Looking a little more deeply, however, the book continues to have a divide between developed and developing countries, with chapters devoted either to one or the other side of the development divide, with only Central and Eastern Europe appearing on both sides (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012c, p. 17). This reflects an ongoing differentiation of research agendas between those who study the comparative environmental politics of the Global South versus the Global North. This differentiation is particularly sharp when regions—​Europe, Latin America, Africa—​ are generally either wealthier or poorer. Scholars of Europe or other wealthy countries, for example, have particularly extensive collections of empirical materials that have been produced by both wealthy democratic governments and generations of scholarship. These have allowed the use of a larger methodological toolbox and generated theoretical frameworks later applied elsewhere. Doctoral training for students of such regions is very

Environment and Development    83 different from that for regions and countries where information is scarce and scholars might struggle to find appropriate theories and methodologies (Barkin, this volume). Few political scientists take on research across the divide, although more do so in more diverse regions like the Middle East. The several chapters of this volume that do so represent a major step forward (e.g., Ivanova et al. this volume; Chu and Shi, this volume). More generally, to make the argument in broad strokes, study of the comparative environmental politics of the Global North has a wide scope and is comparatively well-​integrated with the study of comparative politics more generally. It is common to find analysis of not just environmental politics and policy as a topic on its own, but also integrated with disciplinary interests such as federalism (e.g., MacNeil and Paterson 2018; Stokes 2020), political parties (e.g., Linde 2018), populism (e.g., Lockwood 2018), business-​labor relations (Mildenberger 2020), varieties of capitalism (Wood et al. 2020), and major institutional features (see most of the citations in Roberts et al. 2018; Boasson 2019; Leinaweaver and Thomson 2016). In contrast, writing on the Global South often appears to have an artificial restriction of agenda. This is perhaps particularly clear in the region I have studied, Latin America. There have now been several decades of excellent academic writing on deforestation and a burgeoning literature on extractivism, the placement of megaprojects in rural and especially indigenous areas, and related topics (e.g., Dargent et al. 2017; Dunning 2008; Eisenstadt and Jones West 2017; Falleti and Riofrancos 2018; Fuentes-​George 2016; Gibson et al. 2000; Hochstetler and Tranjan 2016; Jaskoski 2014, 2020; Kashwan 2017; Steinberg 2001). Environmental movements, local communities, and international actors often play the largest roles in these studies. These are, of course, critical issues and actors for environmental outcomes in the region, but their dominance leaves many equally important topics uncovered. Looking at this literature, almost all focused on rural areas, one would not know that Latin America is one of the most urban regions of the world. The countries with the largest populations are heavily urban, including Argentina (92 percent), Brazil (87 percent), Colombia (81 percent), and Mexico (80 percent) (see but topics particular to those population centers go largely unstudied (exceptions include Herrera 2017; Hochstetler and Keck 2007). In addition, turning to population centers might well direct more attention to political systems as a whole rather than to the subsets of them that handle extraction and deforestation. As noted earlier, partisan politics, more general state capacities like service provision, and the dynamics of federalism are just a few of the topics that are studied in the more developed countries that could receive more deserved attention with the shift in focus, to say nothing of urban environmental topics like pollution, transportation systems, sanitation systems, and the like. The Asian and African regions of the Global South are more diverse in their urban–​rural splits—​some are highly urbanized while others are mostly rural—​yet they would share with Latin America the observation that the studies of environmental politics there also focus on natural resources over pollution, deforestation over transport, and so on, with few connections to major comparative politics themes (exceptions include Death 2016; Gore this volume; Sowers 2013). There is, for example, a large literature on palm oil and deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, much of it on the private standards established for them (e.g., Hutabarat et al. 2019; Nesadurai 2019; Pacheco et al. 2020). Following long-​ standing attention to the role of oil and other natural resources that does not consider their

84   Kathryn Hochstetler environmental implications, there is now also growing attention to energy transitions (e.g., Behuria 2020; Kim and Thurbon 2015; Lewis 2013). Once again, the point is not to dismiss the importance of the topics that are now covered, but to invite larger numbers of people to engage with a larger number of topics. It is important to note that China is an important exception to these generalizations in that its environmental politics and policies are not only widely studied, but also studied much like those of the Global North, with fuller coverage of topics and better linkages to comparative politics themes (e.g., Eaton and Kostka 2014; Harrison and Kostka 2014; Lewis 2013; Liu et al. 2020; Stern 2013). Of course, it is one of the countries that most challenges the notion of a binary division between developing and developed countries, along with its fellow BRICS (BASIC plus Russia). Brazil and India also have comparatively well-​developed literatures on their environmental politics (e.g., Harrison and Kostka 2014; Hochstetler and Keck 2007; Hochstetler 2017). Yet a comparative environmental politics that includes ample study of just these most exceptional developing countries in addition to developed countries has not expanded the knowledge base much. The corollary is that there are still very few studies of the environmental politics of many developing countries at all, on any topic, except in quantitative studies of all the world’s countries. This is a broader problem of political science. A database of the citations to 27,690 works in 2,413 articles published in eight major political science journals found far disproportionate attention to North America and Western Europe, while articles on South Asia, sub-​Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa barely appeared (Wilson and Knutsen 2020). Small island states are crucially important in climate debates, to give a prominent example, but are overlooked with other small states in their domestic environmental and comparative politics (Veenendaal and Corbett 2015). Really redressing this issue will require the cooperation of not just authors, but also editors, reviewers, and dissertation supervisors who are notoriously dismissive of smaller, unfamiliar cases, questioning whether they deserve researcher attention and scarce journal and shelf space. It also requires finding much more space in academies and publication outlets for a much more diverse professoriate and research community, including scholars from these countries themselves. More flexible and creative doctoral training is another corollary. Beyond the restricted range of environmental topics and countries studied, much research on comparative environmental politics in developing countries has shown little attention to many of the standard topics of comparative politics. When writing about how Brazilian presidentialism and its particular form of partisan coalition-​building might affect its environmental politics for a special issue on presidentialism (Hochstetler 2017), for example, I found very few pieces that had made such connections. There are studies of individual presidents and their impacts on some environmental outcomes (e.g., Hindery 2013; Riofrancos 2020), but very little linking of those outcomes to presidentialism per se, despite the size of this institutional literature. Similarly, the effects of federalism or decentralization are often visible (e.g., in the studies of rural projects), but scholars rarely circle back to make their arguments ones about those topics themselves, even though this would help draw the attention of non–​environmental comparative politics scholars. Even the Journal of Environment and Development, normally focused on the developing world, included only US and European cases in a special issue on federalism (29, no. 1) (see also Selin and Vandeveer 2012).

Environment and Development    85 The lack of attention is not just one sided. Political science has seen important studies of service provision in developing countries that conclude it is a major governmental function with clear implications for democratic legitimacy (e.g., Golden and Min 2013; Kramon and Posner 2013; Lee 2018; Min 2015), but the environmental dimensions of the topic are often elided (Hochstetler 2021). Similarly, the large and well-​known literature on the “resource curse” (e.g., Ross 1999) tends to mention environmental impacts only in passing. To have a real field of comparative environmental politics will require both the comparativists and the scholars of the environment to reach toward each other. The increasingly evident effects of climate change—​which will transform much of national and international political economies and require serious rethinking of how and how not to develop—​are starting to draw the attention of the comparativists, but it would be helped by scholars of the environment turning to a broader range of comparative politics topics and issues, especially in developing countries.

What More and Better Developing Country Cases Would Give the Field More, and more diverse, studies of the environmental politics of developing countries would reverse several important limitations in the current field of comparative environmental politics (see also Wilson and Knutsen 2020). At a minimum, we need such studies to overcome the current inadequate description of the environmental politics of many countries in the world. Without them, we will have truncated and possibly distorted understandings of key political phenomena because we will know only how they appear in a few, almost certainly unrepresentative, countries. Furthermore, our ability to theorize and explain environmental and political phenomena, including in developed countries, will be limited without such studies. There is a much fuller and more varied world of environmental politics than we have documented in academic literature. The understudy of most of the world’s countries, most of which are developing countries, and the understudy of critical comparative politics topics in them means that we too often work with negative concepts once we move outside the advanced industrialized world. That is, the developing world is said to share certain lacks and gaps—​institutions are weak, resources are absent, actors are incipient—​but we still are learning what is actually there in all its diversity. The rare examples that aim to catalogue observations widely—​like a recent effort to characterize the climate politics of all of Latin America (Edwards and Roberts 2015)—​show huge and important variation in just one region. Often that variation may appear to follow some kind of continuum, suggesting one could find a cut point. But if one could find a binary dividing line between developed and developing countries on some environmental issue, a hard task in itself, it is unlikely that the line could be drawn equally cleanly in the same place on another dimension. The muddy empirical conclusions on whether there is an environmental Kuznets curve show this (Carson 2010). But another possibility is that we will need more and better qualitative categories

86   Kathryn Hochstetler to discuss what we find, and those might be only partially comprehensible in “developed versus developing terms.” Our current categories, most often drawn from only Northern cases, will often not be adequate for comprehending the true empirical variety and global patterns. This can be seen in recent discussions on how to bring a classic comparative politics concept like state capacity into the study of climate and environmental politics. In a study of state capacity in advanced industrial democracies, implementation capacity is treated as a given (Meckling and Nahm 2017, p. 743). Quantitative studies seem to concur, as seen when looking at bureaucratic maps to see if an institution exists (Hughes and Urpelainen 2015, p. 58). Even in one of the emerging powers, Brazil, however, those assumptions seem less warranted. A national environmental agency was created there in 1973, but it had just three people in two rooms and had very little real power until the 2000s (Hochstetler and Keck 2007, p. 27). Yet it actually achieved some important, if precarious, environmental governance in the 1970s and 1980s and afterward developed policies that led to really dramatic drops in annual deforestation rates—​for a while (Hochstetler 2021). More generally, bureaucracies that do not look like the Weberian ideal may govern with some effectiveness, especially embedded in networks that blur state and society and national and international divides (Death 2016, p. 52; Evans 1995; Harrison and Kostka 2014; Hochstetler and Keck 2007, pp. 223–​225; Sowers 2013). This returns us to ideas from the first generations of comparative politics scholars who understood that particular political functions might be performed in different ways across the globe (Almond and Coleman 1960). Through this lens, it would not be surprising that a state that is missing a specific version of capacity and definitely cannot be counted on to implement policy on its own might still be part of building effective environmental capacity. While the state capacity question is one where the conceptual baskets seem to line up with the developed–​developing binary divide, they do so only partially and there would almost certainly be more than two baskets. This would be even truer for other concepts. For example, there is global interest in the current generation of “populist” presidents who articulate a division between “the people” and elites and promote their vision of the former at the expense of the latter (Lockwood 2018). In climate politics as well as in the global coronavirus pandemic, they have attacked scientists and career bureaucrats, even deliberately dismantling the existing state capacity that was just discussed. The pandemic has spotlighted Donald Trump of the United States and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro as very similar classic types of this right-​wing, anti-​science populism, with alarming implications for both climate and health policy in both countries, while the United Kingdom’s Boris Johnson and India’s Narendra Modi play slightly softer versions. These pairs obviously cross the development divide, and “developed” or “advanced” are not the first words one would think of to describe any of their responses, including the two countries otherwise often considered developed. The greater empirical variation may not be immediately welcomed by scholars of the developed world, where more delimited case choices allow for a great deal more to be taken for granted and greater depth of study. Yet standard works on case selection in comparative politics have cautioned that selecting cases in only one part of a fuller spectrum of outcomes and/​or causal factors may generate misleading conclusions, especially if the aim is to contribute to a general understanding of a phenomenon (Lieberman 2005).

Environment and Development    87 In addition, events show that scholars of the developed world might have been too quick to assume that the countries they study will vary within well-​specified boundaries. This is already true and probably will become even more so under the pressures of increasingly extreme climate change. This can have large implications for theoretical and conceptual frameworks, and a wider empirical base for theorizing will be essential. Established lines of scholarship in the Global North may well need to be reformulated as the field achieves more knowledge of the Global South and initiates more studies across the North–​South boundary. For example, the study of presidentialism considered the United States almost exclusively until the 1980s and had even settled into being a fairly anodyne review of individual presidencies. But after democracy returned in that decade to Latin America, the other major redoubt of presidentialism, the topic underwent real renewal, gaining much deeper insight into the tendencies and tensions of many presidential systems. Latin American scholars were central in this research (e.g., Pérez-​Liñan 2007; Rose-​Ackerman et al. 2011; Valenzuela 2004). With Donald Trump behaving very much like the “hyper-​presidents” of Latin America, that renewed literature with its wider empirical basis is generating strong guideposts to the possible dangers of democratic decay in the United States (Levitsky and Ziblatt 2018) that it could not have provided with only the historical American cases of presidentialism. In short, we impoverish our understanding of all the components of comparative environmental politics—​comparative, environmental, politics—​when we are too quick to narrow our sights to particular topics or a subset of states. An analytical binary division of the world’s countries into developed and developing ones makes that impoverishment more likely. And while I have mostly left aside the questions of international relations, it will be hard to comprehend countries’ positions in international negotiations without a much better understanding of what they really look like at home and the right conceptual frameworks for understanding that.

Environment and Development There is an obvious counterpoint to the argument here, which is that the two-​part division does capture the undeniable truth that some countries of the world have considerably more economic resources than others do. Those economic resources profoundly affect whether countries can build state capacity, train scientists, compensate losers in just transitions, and much more. The single most-​unified stance of the G-​77 is that its members need financial support if they are to undertake environmental action, especially if it relates to global environmental problems that they did not play a large role in creating (Najam 2005). Hints that this need might not be so binary have been emerging in the climate negotiations, however, where countries like China and Brazil have sometimes offered economic resources to other developing countries (Hochstetler 2012). A larger group of countries has agreed that resources should flow first to the least developed and most vulnerable countries, although there has been less agreement about who that might include (Kahn et al. 2020). I do not intend to argue here that there are no differences among the countries of the world, not least in development rights and resources.

88   Kathryn Hochstetler Yet that difference—​at least potentially a continuum of resource outcomes, if not a binary division—​is cross-​cut by a second dimension that is equally important for comparative environmental politics. The second dimension finds some countries, even comparatively poor ones, to have high environmental ambitions belied by their comparative economic status. Some of these are countries that face particularly strong and imminent threats from environmental change, like the small island developing states. But others have short and long periods when they simply begin to aim for higher environmental achievements. At least some of these show that environmental action may have more political costs than economic ones, as when Brazil brought deforestation under control from 2005 to 2012 even as its economy grew (Imazon 2013). Other countries may set out transformative goals in a part of their national economies, like wind power, even as they lack general environmental ambition (e.g., Lewis 2013). Perhaps needless to say, a number of quite wealthy countries also have environmental ambitions that greatly lag their resources as well, or have levels of environmental ambition that change over time (Mildenberger 2020; Stokes 2020). So, as opposed to the Stockholm-​and Rio-​era debates about whether environmental and developmental concerns could go together for a developing country, the perspective of this chapter suggests that there is a more compelling set of research questions about just when and why environmental ambition rises and falls. Economic resources evidently provide part of that story, but equally evidently not the whole. There may be an explanation in the growth of right-​wing populism or perhaps in the nature of some political institutions. Comparative politics offers an array of possible answers, and comparative environmental politics as a field deserves to have those investigated rather than assuming from the outset that one must first divide the cases into developed and developing countries.

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Chapter 5

National Cl i mat e Mitigation P ol i c y in Eu rope Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie Introduction Europe has dominated the field of comparative environmental politics research (see Wurzel et al. 2017, 2021). Europe, after all, should provide a useful laboratory for conducting such research: comparative environmental politics enable scholars to understand the patterns that exist between actors, identify new policy innovations and instances of best practice, and determine the importance of political context in shaping the art of the possible. As Steinberg and VanDeveer (2012, p. 9) note, “[c]‌omparative research, at its best, occupies this position between theoretical generalization and an appreciation for the importance of context.” As such, the many similarities within Europe should facilitate such comparison. Yet Europe is also a patchwork quilt of dissimilar nations. For instance, in 2016, Estonia’s per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were eight times greater than Albania’s (World Bank 2021a) while, in 2019, Luxembourg’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was 25 times that of Moldova (World Bank 2021b). The outcome of this diversity has been that while “Europe” dominates comparative environmental research, much of the academic focus—​particularly regarding climate “leadership”—​has been on a handful of Western European states. This focus merits scrutiny: West European emissions have been falling for decades, making the region less “important” during global negotiations in structural terms. Furthermore, while some European states claim to be leaders, many are not as ambitious as they suggest. If we focus on GHG emissions produced via consumption, rather than quantities produced within national boundaries, Europeans are responsible for importing vast quantities of high-​carbon goods (Davis and Caldeira 2010). Similarly, Norway—​which positions itself as a climate leader—​has created the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund through petroleum extraction. So why have studies that focus on Europe—​especially Western Europe—​ dominated this field?

94    Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie There is widespread agreement that Europe possesses a historical responsibility toward climate “mitigation” (the reduction of GHG emissions). As the originators of the Industrial Revolution, European states have produced large quantities of GHG emissions since the mid-​eighteenth century, which have lingered for years or even decades in the atmosphere. Thus, much of the literature, including this chapter, focuses on climate mitigation rather than “adaptation” (the reduction of vulnerability to climate change impacts). Indeed, the European Union’s (EU) target for the 2015 Paris climate conference did not even refer to climate adaptation (Tobin et al. 2018). Moreover, as several European states’ global reputations were shaped around their large militaries and colonialism, climate change provides countries with a means for cultivating a new, “cleaner” foreign policy persona (Lenschow and Sprungk 2010). As an additional benefit to action, early efforts toward climate mitigation by some states have aimed at creating new jobs and industries as well as lucrative export opportunities. This approach was particularly apparent during the late 1990s and early 2000s, within states that employed an “ecological modernization” stance, particularly the sextet of European environmental leaders: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden (Andersen and Liefferink 1997). Building on this reputation for local environmental protection, many of the states identified as “pioneers” of climate action have been European. However, a “conglomerate of crises” (Falkner 2016) or “polycrisis” (Zeitlin et al. 2019)—​including the global financial, Eurozone, Syrian refugee, and Ukrainian annexation crises—​ dominated much of the 2010s, and were followed by the United Kingdom’s destabilizing “Brexit” decision and the COVID-​19 pandemic. This context is likely to shape the comparative environmental politics of European states in the years ahead. In addition, while comparing states’ environmental policies is important, let us not be blind to the importance of governance “above” and “below” these actors. For instance, since the early 2000s, the EU has been using climate action as a foundational “myth” to define its global identity—​with varying degrees of commitment (Lenschow and Sprungk 2010). In the 2010s, Luxembourgish Commission President (2014–​2019) Jean-​Claude Juncker mandated that 20 percent of the EU budget be spent on climate action. With such pioneering (albeit underperforming) climate initiatives as the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS; see Skjærseth and Wettestad 2009) that regulates 40 percent of member states’ total GHG emissions, one could argue that the supranational level is where many states take their lead on climate policy. Simultaneously, the steady shift toward an agenda that favors localism has seen policy-​makers and scholars alike move their attentions toward cities, businesses, and communities as sites for more bespoke climate experimentation, within a context favoring greater “polycentric” governance (Ostrom 2010; Jordan et al. 2018). Thus, to obtain a nuanced understanding of national policy in Europe, one must consider the multilevel governance (MLG) of climate change (Betsill and Bulkeley 2006). In this chapter, we hold a sense of caution regarding claims of European climate leadership and emphasize the need to avoid focusing exclusively on state-​level initiatives. Nonetheless, we argue that European states’ climate policies merit continued research. The state is the primary locus for internal governance, global diplomacy, and revenue collection (see Skocpol 1979), and therefore state structures are likely to provide the starting framework for much subsequent environmental action (Eckersley 2004). In Europe, despite the more supranational components of the EU, the Member States of the EU continue to exert significant influence on the EU’s international climate policy, which in turn, enjoys a reputation as

National Climate Mitigation Policy in Europe    95 a leader—​or at least, as a leader-​mediator or “leadiator” (Bäckstrand and Elgström 2013). Moreover, while local actors provide increasingly important opportunities for specialized climate efforts, it is the national level, particularly in unitary states but also in federal countries, that creates the frameworks into which substate initiatives fit (Duit 2014). As such, we explore, reflect upon, and encourage further research into the comparative study of state-​ level climate action in Europe. Despite their many differences, the states within Europe share, from a global perspective, many similarities across culture, politics, and economics that collectively facilitate the variables to be controlled, thus simplifying these states’ comparison. In this chapter, we first problematize the puzzle of conducting comparative climate policy analysis and identifying leaders and laggards. Second, we examine how crises can affect willingness to lead on climate change and render comparative analysis more challenging. Finally, we explore the importance of MLG, focusing on the EU “above” the state-​level and local actors “below” it. To put our argument simply, conducting comparative climate policy analysis is a complex business, but one thoroughly worth the effort.

Comparing National Climate Policies Conducting Comparative Studies Christoff and Eckersley (2011, p. 444) make the important point that “the quest to find a single cause, or even a common set of drivers, to explain climate leaders or climate laggards is a near-​futile exercise.” Still, there are merits to finding patterns that lie behind more ambitious climate action and, indeed, the factors that may inhibit such performance. For instance, EU accession led many newer Member States to assume stances that were more ambitious during the early to late 2000s. However, since then, Andonova and VanDeveer (2012) note a trend of “diverging convergence” in Central and Eastern European (CEE) states, whereby there is normative convergence around principles but divergence in domestic environmental institutions. As such, explanations of climate performance are often highly time-​and context-​specific. In seeking to compare complex and varied institutional arrangements, most studies are forced to focus on a subset of European countries or specific policy areas. Thus, while the first challenge in any comparative climate study is to ascertain the cases to be examined, both regarding comparability and also access to data, the next step involves the determination of the dependent variable. Which aspect and/​or indicator of climate action should a researcher focus on? Due to the complexity of climate mitigation, policy documents often end up being hundreds of pages in length. For instance, in 2019/​20, every EU member submitted a National Climate and Energy Plan of more than 100 pages in length; the Czech Republic’s is 439 pages long (European Commission 2021). Moreover, climate mitigation is increasingly integrated into other policy areas to avoid “siloing” activities (Dupont 2016). As such, making robust claims about the relative performances of two or more states is challenging. To conduct a robust analysis, we need to be precise about our dependent variable. One dividing line within the literature regards whether to focus on the outcomes of climate mitigation efforts—​that is, measuring reductions of GHGs—​or the outputs, by which we mean climate legislation. Lachapelle and Paterson (2013) cluster states according to

96    Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie their GHG emission trajectories, which enables comparison of outcomes. One difficulty in comparing outcomes, though, is that emissions can be reduced for reasons that are accidental or temporary. For instance, during the global financial crisis (GFC), emissions dropped around the world in line with reduced productivity. Finland had intended to meet its 2008–​2012 Kyoto Protocol target by building a new nuclear reactor (which, as of 2021, is incomplete and has tripled its budget), but instead met the goal because its economy shrank due to the GFC. Yet, despite these challenges in comparing outcomes, we may argue that emissions are the only factor that really matters in this context (Scruggs 1999) because sooner or later, global GHG emissions must start to come down. Otherwise, temperature increases will rapidly pass the 2°C threshold at which even more catastrophic scenarios occur, alongside positive feedback loops that accelerate still further warming. In conjunction with, and often instead of, focusing on outcomes, several methods have been employed to compare European states’ climate outputs. In an early study, Dolsak (2001) graded European countries on a cumulative 9-​point scale depending on the number of climate actions a state had taken, such as enacting carbon taxes. Subsequently, Huitema et al. (2011) categorized European states’ climate policies across 50 subcriteria regarding evaluations of their documentation rather than their “ambition.” Knill et al. (2012) created a 21-​point scale (across the environment more generally, including climate) and placed Germany at the top of their classification, while Poland was the lowest scoring EU Member State, at 23 out of 24. Tobin (2017) also created policy rankings by drawing from the annual expert survey-​based Climate Change Performance Index (CPPI; e.g., Germanwatch 2020). For 2006–​2012, Tobin (2017) places Germany, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and the UK joint-​top, with Austria the lowest scoring of the 18 wealthy European states included. In contrast, Bernauer and Böhmelt (2013) sought to improve on the widely used CPPI—​ whose country-​specific experts may differ in their understandings of policy performance—​ by merging outputs and outcomes to create a Climate Change Cooperation Index (C3-​I) featuring 172 countries. As a final illustrative example of research comparing climate policy outputs, Schaffrin et al. (2014) developed an Index of Policy Activity (IPA) to compare the “intensity” of climate and energy policy. The IPA measures intensity based on six equally weighted criteria: objectives, scope, integration, budget, monitoring, and implementation. While the IPA is labor intensive to employ because of its comprehensiveness, it has subsequently been employed both quantitatively and qualitatively, and for comparisons, in case studies and individual sectors alike (Burns et al. 2019). Thus, there have been numerous dependent variables in the comparative analysis of European climate policy due to both the diversity of cases within the continent and the complexity of comparing their performances, and this diversity is a virtue, not a failing, of the field. However, this specificity hinders comparisons across a large-​n quantity of states and/​or over longer time periods. As such, when the occasional policy innovation comes along that is specific, high-​profile, and employed in numerous states, scholars may have a useful new tool for comparison.

Recent National Climate Innovations During the 2010s, several innovative climate stances and declarations were formulated by European states that facilitate comparison between countries. First, in 2008, the UK’s

National Climate Mitigation Policy in Europe    97 Labour Government created the world’s first Climate Change Act, following a campaign by environmental nongovernmental organization (ENGO) Friends of the Earth (Carter and Childs 2018). This Climate Change Act functioned as a “Ulysses Pact” that sought to ensure continued action on climate change by requiring the country to meet a 5-​yearly “carbon budget” regardless of any short-​term crises or ideological opposition from future governments. This innovation sparked the diffusion of such Acts to other European states, including the five Nordic states, Ireland, and Austria, during the 2010s. However, while the UK’s Act was pioneering—​as it included, alongside the carbon budget, the creation of a Committee on Climate Change and an 80 percent GHG reduction target by 2050—​ Lockwood (2013) suggests that the Act does not fully “lock-​in” the state to future emissions. Furthermore, most of the subsequent Acts in other European states were not as comprehensive (Nash and Steurer 2019). Austria’s Act for example, is only four pages long compared to the United Kingdom’s 108 and only commits the state to a short-​term 2020 target. Thus, Climate Acts hold the potential to lock states into a more ambitious climate trajectory, and their differing components, targets, and timelines facilitate comparison between states. During 2019, ENGO campaigns resulted in Wales and Scotland declaring “climate emergencies,” closely followed by the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Portugal’s parliament in the subsequent weeks. These declarations sought to focus public opinion on the scale of the challenge posed by climate change and elevated the climate to the top of the agenda, mirrored by growing protests led by the Extinction Rebellion movement. By November 2019, the European Parliament had declared a climate emergency, thus pushing climate policy to the top of the agenda just as the European Commission’s next President, Ursula von der Leyen, commenced her 5-​year term. Simultaneous to the wave of climate emergencies, campaigners also encouraged states to commit to becoming “zero carbon” by a future date. If two countries have adopted very similar emissions reductions targets, such as becoming zero carbon, but aim to achieve these goals by different deadlines, then comparison across a medium-​or large-​n set becomes more achievable. As of December 2019, European states including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Nordic countries had pledged to achieve zero carbon status but by differing deadlines (WeForum 2019). Relatedly, Sweden included its pledge within its Climate Change Act, highlighting the links between different policy innovations. While the “climate emergency” and “zero carbon” campaigns were successful in their efforts to push climate change to the top of the agenda, their impact on emissions has yet to be researched. For researchers, then, the existence of such innovations as Climate Change Acts, coal phase-​out deadlines, and zero carbon targets facilitate comparison between states, as well as the identification of the actors, politics, and processes behind the creation of such stances. Nevertheless, where possible, additional, fine-​grained analyses that delve into the instruments or even settings of these instruments will provide the most precise means of comparison (e.g., Schaffrin et al. 2014) and can usefully complement investigations of more high-​profile innovations.

Leaders, Pioneers, and Laggards For states, the label of “leader” can provide a green veneer for a country’s international reputation. For researchers, the identification of pioneering activities within one country

98    Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie may provide a template for other states to replicate, thus facilitating more rapid climate mitigation. However, there are challenges when ascribing any form of “leadership” status. Much of the literature identifies climate leaders as primarily arising from Western Europe, but there are reasons to be skeptical of such claims. Let us critically reflect on the climate performances of three traditional environmental “leaders.” First, while Austria continued to be a pioneer regarding the protection of its beautiful landscapes throughout the 2010s, it did not match this approach through climate policy ambition (Tobin 2017). Thus, we should not assume a willingness to protect the local environment will imply the same commitment toward transboundary issues. Second, Germany has reduced its emissions dramatically since 1990, but the closure of inefficient East German industry following reunification meant that emissions plummeted for reasons unrelated to climate ambition (Schreurs and Tiberghien 2010). As a final example, scholars have repeatedly identified Sweden as a climate leader (Gronow et al. 2019). Yet, despite Sweden’s long-​standing leadership, its starting point was arguably the most straightforward in Europe as it already possessed a low-​carbon energy sector as well as few fossil fuel–​reliant jobs, a highly educated populace, and impressive levels of economic development. Favorable path dependence can play a major role in facilitating a state’s climate performance even decades later, which is not necessarily the same as showing climate leadership. Alongside skepticism of leadership claims from Western and Northern European states, CEE states often perform well despite their less favorable starting points. Undoubtedly, there are multiple environmental regionalisms comprising varying levels of ambition within Europe (Andonova and VanDeveer 2011). Yet, in contrast to long-​standing assumptions that European environmental leaders are based in Northern/​Western Europe, Knill et al. (2012), regarding environmental performance between 1970 and 2000, ranked Hungary fifth out of 24 economically developed states. Subsequently, in the early 2000s, VanDeveer and Carmin (2004, p. 315) argued that CEE states were “implementing dramatic environmental policy reforms as they gain EU membership,” with a transformation occurring in just the 10 or 15 years since the end of state socialism. Indeed, during the 2010s, Ćetković and Buzogány (2020) note substantial expansion of wind and solar energy in Bulgaria and Romania in particular. Many more examples exist of CEE states making major gains despite a more complicated and contested starting point for acting on climate change than in Western Europe. Admittedly, certain instances of high-​profile opposition to new climate legislation within the EU’s Council of Ministers have come from CEE states (Ćetković and Buzogány 2019). But this regional grouping is highly diverse and shows numerous instances of leadership. Thus, we should be cautious about labeling Northern/​Western European states “leaders” but CEE states “laggards” when their starting points for action are so different. The development of a shared understanding of what it means to be a leader is important then, if states are to be compared across time and from differing starting points. Wurzel et al. (2019) identify four manifestations of leadership and distinguish between climate pioneers and leaders by arguing that pioneers act ambitiously for internal reasons, while leaders seek followers. Of course, leadership can rise and fall over time, as evidenced by the Netherlands (Liefferink and Boezeman 2016), or be demonstrated in one sector but not in another, as in Norway (Boasson and Lahn 2017). Notably, Wurzel et al.’s (2017) conceptualization of climate leaders labels a state a “leader” only if its actions are positive toward climate action; there is currently limited conceptualization of how states may be leaders in encouraging others to obstruct or block action. For instance, while there is literature on climate

National Climate Mitigation Policy in Europe    99 laggards in Europe, such as, at certain times and in certain policy areas, Spain (Costa 2006) and Ireland (Torney and O’Gorman 2019), a “foot-​dragging” state is not the same as one that seeks to lead followers away from stronger climate targets. Coal-​dependent Poland, with a much lower GDP per capita compared to many West European EU members, is often touted as one of Europe’s least ambitious on climate change (Skjærseth 2018) and, alongside the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia, is a member of the Visegrád Group that often collaborate and are increasingly influential in the development of European climate policy (Braun 2019). Future investigations will benefit from conceptualizing leadership behaviors that seek to obstruct more rapid climate mitigation and identifying the coalitions, processes, and politics behind it.

Climate Policy During Crises Although many European states have committed to ambitious climate action, these pledges often assume a context of economic growth and rarely include the idea that future government capacity will be focused on a high-​profile crisis. The 2010s’ polycrisis has segued to a horrific global pandemic. This setting is particularly important, as many states, particularly within the EU, have committed to rapidly ratcheting up their climate policy ambition during the 2020s. This upward trajectory needs to be achieved, regardless of the context, if much greater future costs are to be avoided, and so new comparative analyses will benefit from building on existing studies of crises’ impacts on environmental protection.

The Global Financial Crisis The GFC, starting in 2008, was rapidly followed by the subsequent Eurozone crisis from 2010. While economic strife can affect many policy areas, environmental protection requires significant upfront investment, even if much or all of it is recouped later. As such, in their toolkit for measuring the impact of the crisis on European environmental policy, in addition to “outcomes” and “outputs,” Burns and Tobin (2016) add “means,” which are the budgets allocated toward environmental action. Following the 2008–​2009 GFC, some argued that one path out of the crisis would be green stimulus packages that sought to grow out of the crisis via investment in green industries, while others pushed for austerity, despite the limitations of the academic basis for doing so (see Herndon et al. 2014). The outcome, then, is a challenging new research puzzle: If climate change has fallen down the political agenda due to concerns over joblessness, there are fewer resources to act, and we cannot be certain how states would have acted otherwise, how can we compare states’ performances? Answering these questions is important as economic slumps are an inevitable facet of capitalist economies, meaning that climate action needs to be resilient to these peaks and troughs if it is to be effective over the medium to long term. Research on the impacts of the global financial and Eurozone crises on climate policy has largely focused on the EU (e.g., Burns and Tobin 2020; Gravey and Moore 2019; Skovgaard 2014; Slominski 2016). Overall, it appears that, during the 2010s, levels of policy ambition were broadly resilient and plateaued or even increased slightly but did not increase at the

100    Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie rate needed to mitigate environmental degradation sufficiently. At the state level, Skovgaard et al. (2019) found no sign of lower ambitions in Sweden following the GFC (although the state’s economy was not as badly affected as elsewhere), while Denmark demonstrated commitments to climate action across left-​and right-​wing parties, thus mirroring existing assumptions around Scandinavian states and climate policy. Fernandez (2019) identified a general pattern of stasis in Spain, but this followed a period of investment in renewables prior to the crisis. Davidescu (2019) notes that Romania demonstrated increases in ambition early on following the crisis, followed by the dismantling of climate legislation (for more on dismantling, see next section). Finally, Andreas (2019) found that the United Kingdom cut entire renewables programs, despite its austerity agenda not being required by any external bailout conditions. Thus, more research is still needed to understand why European countries respond differently to the challenges of economic threats and what are the implications of these different paths. Yet the impacts of the crisis extend beyond the direct reductions in environmental spending. Regardless of whether the rise in populism throughout the 2010s was causally linked to the impacts of the crisis, many European populist parties that drew greater media attention during the decade were skeptical about climate action. In the United Kingdom, the UK Independence Party pledged to repeal the pioneering 2008 Climate Change Act, and in Germany, Alternative für Deutschland took a similar stance during the 2017 elections (Andreas 2019). While environmental protection has become somewhat of a valence issue within Europe following decades of growing popular support for green parties and policies, this status cannot be guaranteed if Europe struggles to weather future crises.

Policy Resilience During Future Crises Many states outside Europe pursue environmental policy in a context of ongoing instability, weak institutions, and destructive natural disasters. Steinberg (2012) labels such contexts “stochastic political systems” because of their changeable natures. For much of the existing literature on comparative environmental politics in Europe, which primarily focuses on Western European countries, the cases were stable, wealthy, and democratic regimes. Indeed, modern Weberian bureaucracies are premised around the provision of long-​term public goods and inherently rely on stability (O’Toole and Meier 2003). Yet the tumultuous European context may mean that scholars wish to learn from research on policy-​making within unstable regimes. As Steinberg (2012, pp. 261–​262) notes, “[t]‌he challenge that pervasive social disruptions pose for the consolidation of policy reforms has been missed by researchers comparing the policy responsiveness of industrialized democracies.” The major economic crises of the 2010s saw several states receiving large bail-​outs and were followed by the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, as well as concerns over European electoral legitimacy, most starkly in Belarus in summer 2020. These events are now being succeeded by the extreme tragedy of a global pandemic. Indeed, the 2020 conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—​ co-​hosted by European nations Italy and the United Kingdom—​was postponed due to the pandemic. That conference was due to set the next 5-​year agenda; falling behind schedule was a major loss. Thus, sadly, studies of comparative environmental politics that focus on how states respond to crises are likely to be necessary throughout the 2020s.

National Climate Mitigation Policy in Europe    101 As discussed, one path for mitigating the impact of future crises could be self-​binding legislation, such as the United Kingdom’s Climate Change Act, which ensures action continues despite countervailing forces. However, the United Kingdom was forecast to struggle to meet these obligations due to a separate crisis, its turbulent withdrawal from the European Union (Farstad et al. 2018). While the fight against climate change was labeled an “essential element” of the EU-​UK post-​Brexit trade deal, policies will need to be monitored and updated over time to avoid regression of standards “by default” (Jordan et al. 2020). Indeed, in crisis contexts, scholars may find it pertinent to explore the concept of policy dismantling, which is the “cutting, diminution or removal of existing policy” (Jordan et al. 2013, p. 795), of which Bauer and Knill (2012) identify four ideal types. These ideal types are determined by whether dismantling is high-​or low-​visibility and whether it follows a deliberate dismantling decision or not. Deliberate dismantling that occurs in a low-​visibility manner (“dismantling by arena shifting”) is particularly insidious and may be favored by policy-​makers wishing to avoid opprobrium for weakening a popular policy area. Such behavior may become apparent when viewed from a multilevel perspective: states may allocate greater responsibilities to the local level under the guise of “devolution,” only to cut finances allocated to local government at the same time (Eckersley and Tobin 2019).

The Importance of Multilevel Governance While this chapter explores comparative national climate policy in Europe, “it is only by taking a multilevel perspective that we can fully capture the social, political, and economic processes that shape global environmental governance” (Betsill and Bulkeley 2006, p. 141). For example, at the Paris UNFCCC conference in 2015, the EU states submitted a shared target (joined by neighboring Norway and Switzerland) of 40 percent emissions reductions based on 1990 levels by 2030, although individual EU Member States vary markedly in their commitments (see Tobin et al. 2018). Within the European Union, the Commission plays a key role in orchestrating climate governance within Member States as the sole proposer of EU legislation. Looking more in-​depth, Burns and Tobin (2020) find that the Commission’s behind-​the-​scenes technical instruments were used more frequently during the 2010s, raising questions around transparency and accountability of policy-​making within EU governance. Thus, EU climate policy merits extensive study because of its impact on EU states, as well as its own role in the world as an actor. Yet let us not homogenize all EU Member States’ climate policies because of their shared membership of the influential body. Member States play a role in shaping EU climate policy (Oberthür and Dupont 2017), and there continues to be stark variation in the stances taken in doing so. Moreover, we are seeing the creation of a multispeed Europe, whereby countries are part of regional and/​or ideological subgroupings that favor increased or reduced integration in given policy areas. In this context, continuing to explore variations at the Member State level will be increasingly important. In addition to the supranational level, incorporating the substate is essential to understanding European states’ climate policies. The majority of European states are unitary rather than federal in their governance models, which facilitates comparison between them. Although most European countries have demonstrated some form of localization over recent

102    Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie decades, there is still distinct variation between their approaches and the amount of policy-​ making power allocated to substate actors. Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Malta, and Romania are highly centralized unitary states, whereas Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Slovenia are less so, and the Scandinavian states have allocated a wide range of responsibilities for regional development, including aspects of climate policy, to local governments. The only federal European states are Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Bosnia-​Herzegovina, with the former three considered more developed in their devolution approaches than the latter two (Pallaver and Karlhofer 2017, p. 293). In Germany, the 16 constitutive Länder are major actors in the country’s governance: they each have their own constitutions, executives, and legislatures; they constitute the Bundesrat as the second chamber of parliament; and, crucially, they implement national legislation. As such, the Länder play an important legislative role at the national level, and, indeed, an awareness of MLG is foundational for any analysis seeking to compare and explain one European state’s climate policy with another. Within the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, the regional and substate national governments have additional powers to those in other unitary countries. Unlike federal European states, states containing devolved nations or regions can have distinctly asymmetrical policy-​making competences. The United Kingdom stands as a prime example of the ways in which devolved nations’—​in this case, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—​ climate policies interact with the state-​level policies. England makes up around 85 percent of the United Kingdom’s population and has no England-​wide devolved powers. As such, England’s national climate policies are established by the UK government. On the other hand, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Parliament, and Northern Ireland Assembly possess devolved powers to produce policy on climate change and, as such, have different targets. For example, the UK government aims to reach net zero GHG emissions by 2050, whereas the Scottish Parliament aims for carbon neutrality by 2045. While the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Parliament have produced climate policies specific to their substate nation, the Northern Irish Assembly has not, despite declaring a climate emergency in January 2020. Due to the unique nature of Northern Ireland’s political history, both unionists and nationalists must join together in a power-​sharing executive in order for the Assembly to stand, a stipulation which neither the United Kingdom as a whole, Scotland, nor Wales share. Notably, the Assembly was in a period of suspension from July 2017 until January 2020. In addition, the number of devolved competences and the constitutional arrangement of such European states as the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy have not been static over time, thus complicating comparison of climate policy still further. The impact of unitary, federal, or devolved governance models on national climate policy ambition merits much further investigation. On the one hand, Brown (2012) suggests that, in federal systems, we may expect a degree of competition between constituent states regarding their climate policies that could elevate overall ambition levels. Yet, in contrast to the subnational climate leadership shown in the United States (see David Vogel’s chapter on California’s Environmental Policy Leadership, this volume), evidence in Europe to date is less favorable (regarding climate mitigation, rather than adaptation; see Steurer and Clar 2015 on Austria; Selin and VanDeveer 2012). In Switzerland, emissions reductions in the building sector were found by Casado-​Asensio and Steurer (2016, p. 257) to have occurred “despite, not because of Swiss federalism” due to the establishment of lowest common denominator policies that were difficult to strengthen over time. Similarly, the need for

National Climate Mitigation Policy in Europe    103 ministers from differing parties and across different levels to find compromises has been found to hinder ambition in Belgium (Happaerts et al. 2012). In sum, without an awareness of the differing governance models operating across multiple levels, detailed research into the comparative environmental politics of European states is impossible.

Conclusion Much ink has been spilled in trying to compare the climate politics of European states. We argue that there is much merit in continuing to do so, notwithstanding the many complexities of conducting such research. It can be tempting to focus climate politics research on “leading” Western European countries or only on state-​level governance. Instead, this chapter has argued in favor of embracing complexity in comparing beyond the usual suspects, with an awareness of crisis conditions and across multiple governance points. As we face the next decade, we touch on four avenues for future research out of many. First, there is great analytic value in examining European countries’ trajectories over time, rather than their positions at the time of investigation, particularly regarding CEE states that have sought to address climate change from difficult starting points. Second, on leadership, we suggest that greater attention be paid to those states that rally others to obstruct greater ambition. Which actors, coalitions, processes, and tactics are used to stymy sharper climate mitigation trajectories? Third, there are numerous crises that dictate how, when, and why states act on climate change, such as the ongoing economic crises that emphasize the importance of bringing political economy into comparative studies. But what of those long-​standing, simmering crises that have been allowed to continue under the surface? Women withstand the worst impacts of climate change, but politically are in a more marginalized position to act on this reality. Indeed, there are numerous overlaps between the needs to secure gender equality and climate justice, with more studies needed to explore how these goals may be married (see Magnusdottir and Kronsell 2015). Likewise, the Black Lives Matter protests highlight ongoing injustices that mirror the neocolonial patterns of carbon leakage, which many European states depend on while claiming positions of leadership. Finally, we argue that the primacy of the state within climate governance cannot be at the price of an awareness of multiple levels and non-​state actors. As we shift our attention away from hierarchical understandings of power, research may be usefully directed toward networks of climate governance, comprising overlapping businesses, NGOs, and individuals. The identification of each relevant stakeholder in a model as complex as a state’s climate policy is particularly difficult, but computer software is increasingly ready for the challenge. Moreover, network analyses will benefit greater research into how the concept of time may be included (Kim 2019), as changing affiliations and stances are especially important when seeking to understand climate policy. In sum, national governments, in Western Europe in particular, are rightly no longer the only game in town when it comes to comparative climate politics research. They are, however, important nodes within a growing network, and these merit continued detailed exploration as we race to increase our ambitions against the ticking clock of climate change. There is no time to lose.

104    Paul Tobin and Louise Wylie

Acknowledgments The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is gratefully acknowledged, having funded Paul Tobin via grant ES/​S014500/​1 during the writing of this chapter.

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Chapter 6

Gov erning Fl o od a nd Cl im ate Risks i n t h e Netherl and s a nd Hu nga ry A Comparative Analysis

Elizabeth A. Albright From the development of canals in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, to the drainage of water from the plains of eastern Hungary in the 1800s, humans have tried to tame and control the flow of water across the European continent. Across the landscapes, humans have engineered structures to direct and divert water to protect lives and livelihoods from flood damages. But these physical structures have repeatedly failed, replaced by increasingly complex systems built to stem the overflow of water in times of floods. As carbon and other greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere and patterns of precipitation become more extreme, there is increasing concern about whether systems of the past—​both infrastructure and governance—​will be adequate for a changing future. Extreme flood events have occurred since the presence of human settlements on the continent, including an extreme flood in 549 bce in present-​day Italy and the St. Lucia flood in 1287, which killed tens of thousands. Many other large-​scale floods caused mass devastation between the thirteenth and twentieth centuries, including two of the most damaging floods in Hungarian history in 1838 and 1878. More recently, in the late twentieth and early twenty-​ first centuries, several nations of the European Union experienced devastating floods that wrought severe damage to life, property, and natural systems (Jongman et al. 2014). From 1998 to 2009, more than 200 major flood events were recorded, leading to more than 1,000 deaths, with damages to public and private property exceeding €50 billion (European Commission 2020a). Types of flooding vary across the European continent, including fluvial (overflowing of river banks) and pluvial flooding (caused by extreme rainfall), flash flooding, floods driven by snow melt, and coastal flooding (Driessen et al. 2016), with each type of flooding presenting its own challenges to its management. This chapter examines the histories of governance of flood risks in a changing climate across two EU Member States: the Netherlands and Hungary. While each nation has faced

110   Elizabeth A. Albright centuries of devastating flooding, each has its distinct history of governance systems, both broadly and specifically related to flood and climate risks. The Netherlands, a relatively wealthy, original Member State of the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Union has a longer history of democratic practices compared to Hungary. Hungary, a financially poorer nation, acceded to the EU in 2004, after decades of communist rule as a part of the Warsaw Pact. As such, Hungary has a shorter recent history of decentralized environmental governance, less experience in civic engagement in governmental decision-​making, and a less robust formally recognized civil society (Vari 2002; Carmin and VanDeveer 2004). Despite these differences, both states and societies are currently members of the European Union and must grapple with implementing EU directives and strategies to (ideally) help mitigate flood and climate risks that place their residents and land in danger of damage and destruction. This cross-​national comparison leverages differences in the governance of flood risks in these two nations to explore what encourages adaptation and resilience to climate-​driven risks. More specifically, this chapter compares (1) the extent of integration (or fragmentation) of flood risk governance and (2) civil society involvement in flood and climate risk management in Hungary and the Netherlands over time to provide insights into potential drivers of (or barriers to) societal resilience to climate-​driven risks. In doing so, this chapter focuses on flood risk management, the costliest of climate-​driven disasters that the European continent faces (Van Renssen 2013).

Integration and Fragmentation of Governance Systems Governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly called upon to manage climate-​related risks such as floods and respond to and recover from climate-​ related disasters (Crow and Albright 2019; also see Alcañiz and Sanchez-​Rivera, in this volume). Governance of risks includes “the complex web of actors, rules, conventions, processes and mechanisms” that seek to mitigate and manage risks (Renn 2008, p. 9). Governance arrangements for flood risk management have been defined as “institutional constellations resulting from an interplay between actors and actor coalitions involved in all policy domains relevant for flood risk management—​including water management, spatial planning and disaster management; their dominant discourses; formal and informal rules of the game; and the power and resource base of the actors involved” (Hegger et al. 2014, p. 4131, in Wiering et al. 2017). Governance of climate risks may be more effective with coordination across economic and social sectors, as well as with integration across and coordination among global, national, and subnational government and nongovernment organizations. Effective climate adaptation often requires national-​ level governmental organizations such as ministries and agencies to coordinate across multiple sectors (e.g., transportation, agriculture, and emergency response). Governance systems that can effectively span sectoral and vertical boundaries, adapt to and learn from climate-​related disasters, and leverage local knowledge and capacities are needed to build resilience (Crow and Albright 2019).

Governing Flood and Climate Risks    111 Management of climate and flood risks by governance systems may be integrated across policy domains and sectors or, alternatively, may be fragmented or siloed within domains. The degree and type of fragmentation may influence the effectiveness of flood risk mitigation (Gilissen et al. 2016). Gilissen et al. (2016) outlined four distinct types of fragmentation that may occur in flood risk governance that depend on whether actors work in the same (or different) policy domains and are pursuing the same (or different) flood risk management strategies. And, depending on the type of fragmentation, difficulties may arise, including barriers in accessing information and policies that conflict or don’t align (Gilissen et al. 2016).

Civil Society Engagement in Flood Risk Governance The Aarhus Convention (Aarhus), more formally named the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-​making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, entered into force in 2001 and was ratified by the European Union and its Member States soon thereafter. Aarhus calls for increased public participation in environmental decision-​making, greater transparency and access to information, and access to justice in situations in which environmental laws are violated (Aarhus 1998). Some environmental directives align with the public participation mandates of Aarhus, such as the EU Water Framework Directive (EUWFD) that mandates public participation in the development of river basin management planning. Although there are increasing calls for public and civic engagement in environmental decision-​making, the structures and processes can vary widely. These engagement processes can vary across multiple factors, including type of participant (e.g., expert, public, governmental, and nongovernmental), intensity and structure of participation (e.g., public hearings, advisory or consultancy, consensus-​based processes), and who leads the process (Beierle 2002; Rowe and Frewer 2000; Hansen and Maenpaa 2008). Sabatier et al. (2005) and others have argued that those who are affected or who could be affected by a decision should participate in a process in which their views are heard. Korfmacher (1998, 2001) and others suggest that the timing of participation is also key: the public and other participants should engage early and throughout the length of the decision-​making process.

Effective Flood Risk Governance: Learning and Resilience Scholars have developed multiple frameworks to analyze the effectiveness of climate and flood risk governance (Alexander et al. 2016; Pahl-​Wostl et al. 2013; Hegger et al. 2014). The evaluation benchmarks or metrics vary across frameworks but often focus broadly on societal resilience—​the ability to reduce risks, such as flooding, along with the capacity to learn from, adapt to, and change in response to of climate-​driven disasters (Alexander et al.

112   Elizabeth A. Albright 2016). The concept of resilience centers on the development or strengthening of adaptive capacity, which often includes adapting, learning, and transforming structures, processes, and policies in response to new information and experiences (Adger 2003, Termeer et al. 2011, Pahl-​Wostl et al. 2013). Variation in fragmentation and public engagement across the two nations will be examined as potential drivers of societal resilience to climate-​driven risks. As noted earlier, extreme flooding is the costliest of climate-​driven disasters that the European continent faces. To attempt to mitigate the risks of flooding, the European Union, as well several Member States, has altered flood risk management policies and strategies in response to disastrous flooding, including shifting governance systems, approaches, and belief systems about the management of flood risks (Johnson and Priest 2008; Albright 2011). The following section provides an overview of the recent history of flood management by the European Union, outlining an evolution from management with a singular focus on floods, to a broader, more integrated approach to climate risk governance. This overview provides context for a comparative analysis of state-​level cases in the Netherlands and Hungary, current EU Member States that have experienced multiple, extensive, and extremely damaging flood events over centuries. Comparing the trajectories of the two nations and the extent to which they have adopted and changed flood-​related policies and governance approaches over time should lend insight into the drivers of and barriers to greater societal resilience to climate risks. These cases are based on and informed by interviews conducted with national and local governmental and nongovernmental organizations in Hungary from 2005 to 2007 (Albright 2009), as well as by an analysis of primary and secondary documents and literature focused on both national cases.

Management of Climate Risks by the European Union Despite several large and deadly floods in the twentieth century, the European Union had not adopted an integrated flood or climate risk management strategy prior to the turn of the twenty-​first century, in part due to national hesitation to grant the Union competence in this policy realm (Remling 2018; also see Selin and VanDeveer 2015; Tobin and Wylie, in this volume). Following a series of extreme flood events in the 1990s and early 2000s, including the catastrophic floods in Central Europe in 2002, the European Commission proposed a flood directive in 2006, which was adopted as the EU Flood Directive (EUFD) in 2007. This directive focuses on flood risk assessment, mitigation, prevention, and recovery, mandating that Member States transpose broad EU requirements into their national laws (Johnson and Priest 2008). The EUFD requires that all Member States must assess flood risks within their territory, develop flood risk maps, and establish flood risk management plans (European Commission 2021). The EUFD is a “daughter” framework to the EUWFD, which entered into force in late 2000. The EUWFD requires all Member States to develop river basin management plans to meet a set of objectives for that river basin, including quantitative (e.g., quantity of groundwater), ecological, and chemical status of water bodies (European Commission 2020b). Article 14 of the EUWFD mandates public participation through information sharing and consultation, with active participation in river basin management

Governing Flood and Climate Risks    113 planning encouraged. With the adoption of the EUFD, Member States were required to coordinate flood risk management within the framework of river basin planning. Since the adoption of the EUFD, approaches to flood risk management and, more broadly, climate risk governance, continue to evolve in the European Union, with shifts in roles and responsibilities in mitigating and recovering from climate-​driven disasters. These shifts in thinking led to the adoption of a green paper titled “Adapting to Climate Change in Europe” (European Commission 2018), which then evolved in 2009 into a white paper, “Adapting to Climate Change: Towards a European Framework for Action” (European Environment Agency 2009), which further integrated climate adaptation strategies with other policy domains (Lioubimtseva and da Cunha 2020). The white paper (2009) put forth an economic case for adopting climate adaptation strategies and stated that most action will occur at local, regional, and national levels, but that the European Union should support and strengthen these actions for a more integrated approach to adaptation across member nations (European Commission 2009). In 2013, the European Commission expanded on the green and white papers by adopting a climate adaptation strategy for the European Union (European Commission 2013), with an evaluation of this strategy in 2018 (European Commission 2018). The 2013 strategy emphasized the need to fill gaps in knowledge around adaptation to improve decision-​ making across policy realms (Remling 2018). The EU climate adaptation strategy focuses on integrating climate adaptation across policy domains (i.e., mainstreaming). Scholars have critiqued the European Union’s approach to climate adaptation for its focus on improving scientific or technical knowledge, which may elevate more top-​down, technocratic, and market-​based approaches to the management of climate risks while limiting potential for transformative change of systems and structures that lead to climate exposure and vulnerability (Schulz and Siriwardane 2015; Remling 2018). In short, the occurrence of a series of devasting floods at the start of the twentieth century prompted the European Commission to advance flood-​specific policies of risk assessment and risk management planning. In the decade that followed, the discourse and strategies around managing these risks have broadened and shifted focus to include climate-​related risks and adaptation. Given this context of an evolution of climate risk–​related policies and thinking in the European Union, the following section outlines the trajectories of flood and climate risk governance in the Netherlands and Hungary. Whereas these two nations have both experienced lengthy histories of devastating flooding and have responded with centuries of engineered approaches to control the flow of waters, they have unique histories of governance systems to manage floods. Experiences and practices of engaging civil society in government decision-​making also differ across the two nations. To help identify potential drivers of and/​or barriers to flood and climate resilience, the cases will be compared through the frames of integration (or fragmentation) of these governance systems and civil society engagement.

Climate and Flood Risk Management in the Netherlands The Netherlands, a nation of approximately 17 million citizens, entered into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957 (Treaty of Rome) and the European Union in 1992

114   Elizabeth A. Albright (Treaty of Maastricht). The country consists of 12 regional provinces and 388 municipalities (European Union 2020). The land area of the nation encompasses the delta of three major European rivers: the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt (Orr et al. 2007). A low-​lying nation with more than 1,000 kilometers of coastline along the North Sea, the Netherlands has been at risk of flooding since its inception. Approximately a quarter of the landmass of the nation sits below sea level (Pilarczyk 2006). From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, lakes in the country were drained and reclaimed for agricultural production (Hoeksema 2007). In the twentieth century, a tidal estuary was converted into land for agricultural and urban uses, forming a new province (Flevoland) that added 5 percent to the country’s total land area (Hoeksema 2007). Because of its geography, the Netherlands has an extended history of managing floods and flood risks (Mostert 2006; Verkerk and Van Buuren 2013). Water boards, also called regional water authorities, have a centuries-​long history in managing water resources in the Netherlands (Kuks 2004). Initially formed in the thirteenth century, the democratically elected water boards were responsible for managing water levels and dike and levee systems. Initially decentralized, the boards consisted of elected representatives from local communities with minimal centralized coordination among boards (Kuks 2004). Throughout its history of devasting floods, including the Christmas Flood of 1717 which killed more than 14,000 residents, the Netherlands has developed a complex system of dikes and dams. The highly engineered system currently includes more than 3,000 kilometers of hardened infrastructure to protect lives and property from damaging floods (Pilarczyk 2006). The development and management of the flood protection system has evolved over centuries. Up until the eighteenth century, communities were responsible for the management of their own flood protection systems. An increasing need for coordination among water boards, in part due to land subsidence, led to greater centralization of water resource management. The centuries-​old decentralized system of flood management became more centralized with the formation of the Rijkswaterstaat in 1798, a technocratic national authority with the responsibility of managing the flood protection systems across the whole nation (Pahl-​Wostl et al. 2013; Orr et al. 2007; Kuks 2004). It was during this time in the early nineteenth century that the Netherlands became an independent monarchy (1815) and a new constitution was formed (Kuks 2004). In 1953, less than a decade after the end of the World War II, a disastrous flood killed more than 1,800 Dutch residents, destroyed more than 100,000 homes, and inundated more than 200,000 hectares of land (Tetelepta n.d.; Orr et al. 2007). Prior to this disaster, many residents as well as flood managers had placed their trust in the national authority (the Rijkswaterstaat) to prevent such a catastrophe. Many believed they were underprepared and not adequately warned about the looming devastation (Orr et al. 2007). This flood and the damages it caused motivated the national government of the Netherlands to reinvest in and strengthen its flood management system. The Delta Project, developed in the flood’s aftermath, reflected shifting societal views on the management of flood waters and attempted to address the vulnerabilities of society to these floods (Orr et al. 2007). The Delta Project included the development of a storm surge barrier and a new shipping route connecting the city of Rotterdam with the North Sea (Orr et al. 2007). Along with these structural alterations, the Rijkswaterstaat developed a set of standards for flood defense systems and a funding mechanism with shared responsibility between its national and regional authorities (Van Buuren et al. 2014). The decentralized local water boards continued to manage local water systems, including water quantity and quality (Restemeyer et al. 2017;

Governing Flood and Climate Risks    115 Kamperman and Biesbroek 2017). Even with these structural and financial changes, the overarching approach to flood management in the Netherlands remained focused on physical infrastructure and engineered flood protection systems.

A Shift in Approaches: “Room for the River” During the 1990s, tensions became more evident between two approaches to flood risk management: the historical approach that relied heavily on flood protection systems made of physical infrastructure, and a more comprehensive approach that included risk mitigation, land use planning, and disaster management, along with the development and maintenance of physical infrastructure (Van Buuren et al. 2016; Orr et al. 2007). Multiple flood risk studies were conducted in the early 2000s, in part motivated by the infrastructure failures wrought by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, in the United States. These Dutch studies included risk-​ mapping exercises across the nation. During this period, multiple major floods across Europe occurred, resulting in the development of the EUFD, discussed earlier (Van Buuren et al. 2016). Motivated by the confluence of these events, the Dutch National Water Plan 2009–​ 2015 (Rijkswaterstaat 2009) introduced a novel approach to flood management. This new approach sought to encourage learning from and adapting to flood experiences and new information, and it placed a greater emphasis on land use planning, public participation, and climate-​proofing. An emphasis on spatial planning, integration of climate-​change scenarios, and involvement of civil society in flood management signified a substantive departure from the previous infrastructure-​centric flood management regime. In more than 30 places across the Netherlands, changes were made to give increased space for the rivers to flow in times of abundant flow (Dutch Water Sector 2019).

National Flood and Climate Adaptation Strategies Along with the 2009 changes in flood management, the Netherlands had transposed and implemented both the EUWFD (2020b) and the EUFD (2020a), with high levels of integration between water and flood management and among national and subnational levels, and with competencies for flooding of major rivers and water bodies located in the Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management (Priest et al. 2016; Dieperink et al. 2012). In 2010, this Ministry was restructured as the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, and then was reorganized to Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in 2017 (Priest et al. 2016; Dieperink et al. 2012). The regional water boards maintain the flood infrastructure and quality and quantity of regional waters and are responsible for regional implementation of the EUWFD. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is responsible for EUFD implementation and tasked with reporting progress to the European Commission (Stowa 2021). At the local level, water boards, provinces, municipalities, and safety regions are all involved in providing flood-​related information and regional (provincial) coordination. Along with these changes in water management, the Netherlands developed its first national climate adaptation strategy in 2007, “Make Space for Climate” (Maak ruimte voor klimaat!), that involved the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment (Biesbroek et al. 2010).

116   Elizabeth A. Albright Unsurprisingly, the Dutch national strategy prioritized water resource management and spatial planning but also integrated other sectors such as agriculture, forests, biodiversity, and finance into this strategy (Biesbroek et al. 2010). During this initial development of a national strategy, the Netherlands faced the challenge of integrating climate adaptation policy and spatial planning (de Bruin et al. 2009). In their 2010 analysis of adaptation and extreme climatic events across four European river basins, Huntjens et al. (2011) scored the actions in the Rivierenland river basin in the Netherlands the highest across multiple measures, including awareness raising, policy development, implementation, and risk management. In 2016, the Netherlands furthered its work on climate risk mitigation by developing its second national adaptation strategy (NAS), “Adapting with Ambition” (European Commission 2018). Three national workshops were held to incorporate stakeholder participation in the strategy development process (European Commission 2018). According to the European Commission participation scorecard, multiple stakeholders participated in this process, although they were heavily drawn from national and subnational government authorities.1 As policies such as the Aarhus Convention and the EUWFD call for increased civil society engagement, authentic public and nongovernmental participation in the development of national climate mitigation is lacking in both breadth and depth.

Subnational Climate Risk Governance in the Netherlands In addition to the national actions of the Delta Program and the NASs, as of 2009, all provinces within the Netherlands agreed to mainstream climate adaptation policies in their spatial planning by 2015 (European Commission 2018). By 2018, all but 2 of the 12 provinces have assessed vulnerabilities to climate change in their area, and roughly half of municipalities in the Netherlands have adopted adaptation plans. The Water Act (2009) mandates that water boards create a water management plan. Whereas it is clear that climate change adaptation initiatives are increasing in numbers over time in these plans, there has been uneveness in climate adaptation across regional water boards in the Netherlands (Kamperman and Biesbroek 2017). In assessing vulnerabilities and prescribing actions, regional water boards have focused primarily on the management of floods and droughts (Kamperman and Biesbroek 2017). In their comprehensive analysis of the water management plans of the regional water boards, Kamperman and Biesbroek (2017) found greater recognition of the need to act on climate adaptation, than actual adaptation actions (e.g., financial support, public engagement, regulation, changes in infrastructure), illustrating “the urgency to adapt quickly is not very prominent or missing and has not changed significantly in the period of analysis (sic 2005–​2016).”

Climate and Flood Risk Management in Hungary The Central and Eastern European (CEE) country of Hungary, a nation of 10 million people, sits in the lowlands of the Carpathian basin, encircled by the Carpathian Mountains and

Governing Flood and Climate Risks    117 the Alps. Rural agricultural lands compose much of the landscape of Hungary, particularly in the poorer, eastern region of the nation. Two major rivers bisect Hungary and the Carpathian basin. The Danube runs east-​west downstream from Vienna, Austria, to north of Budapest, where it turns to the south, cutting through the central region of Hungary. The Danube exits Hungary at its border with Serbia. The Tisza River flows from the uplands of Romania, Ukraine, and Slovakia into the eastern region of Hungary and flows southward before crossing the southern border into Serbia. Hungary has experienced occasional extreme floods over the past few centuries as well as a series of disastrous floods around the turn of the twenty-​first century. Climatologists predict warmer temperatures in this region as well as more irregular precipitation events, potentially leading to an increase in flooding (Bartholy et al. 2015). The history of the management of these two rivers and their tributaries highlights the dynamics and challenges of climate-​driven risk management across multiple levels of governance in Hungary. Several extreme floods in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries motivated the development of a structural or engineering approach to flood management in Hungary, one that included the draining of wetlands and the development of intricate systems of dikes and levees to control the flow of water in the rivers (Szlávik 2003). These changes in land and river management allowed and encouraged large-​scale agricultural production (Matczak et al. 2008; Borsos and Sendzimir 2018). This engineering approach to managing flood risks endured many extreme flooding events and multiple political changes, including the world wars and the communist era that spanned much of the twentieth century (Szlávik 2003; Albright 2011). At the end of the 1980s, Hungary and other CEE nations experienced social, economic, and political transitions during a shift from a one-​party state-​social regime to a multiparty system. During this shift, the centralized water and flood management authority was defunded and underwent a significant reduction in staff (Vari et al. 2003). However, this transition away from centralized authority was not coupled with a strengthening of local-​level civic capacity (Vari 2002). During this period of transition away from state socialism, Hungary experienced multiple devastating floods in the 1990s and early 2000s. With the adoption of the Act XXXVII of 1996 on Civil Protection, county defense committees and local governments were given the responsibility to inform the public of impending floods and mobilize residents to evacuate prior to a flood event (Vari 2002). However, as Vari describes, public passivity remained after decades of communist rule, when public engagement in government processes was minimal and a formal civil society was underdeveloped. During this period of decentralization, a “paternalist and elitist attitudes prevail on the part of the authorities, contributing to the passivity of the public” (Vari 2002, p. 211). Although public awareness of flooding and flood risks was limited (Vari 2002), many mayors in the Tisza River basin raised concern about repetitive and extensive flood damages in their communities and pressed national authorities to adopt a new strategy for flood management in collaboration with local environmental NGOs (ENGOs). This new paradigm or approach was termed “Live in Harmony with the River,” in which agricultural systems and landscapes would be more integrated with the natural flow of rivers (Pahl-​Wostl 2009; Albright 2011). During this period of transition, the Hungarian system of governance underwent a significant shift toward Europeanization as it prepared to join the European Union (Carmin and VanDeveer 2005). The core tenets that undergird

118   Elizabeth A. Albright environmental policy in the European Union were adopted by Hungary, in part due to the regulatory requirements of accession, but also as a product of norm diffusion across shared networks and capacity-​building actions by a variety of funding organizations that entered into CEE during this time period (Carmin and VanDeveer 2005; Andonova and VanDeveer 2012). These dynamics—​shifts in broad political systems, including end of the state socialist regime and accession into the European Union, in concurrence with extreme flooding events—​enabled the coalition of flood-​affected mayors, farmers, and ENGOs to push for change in how flood risks—​and rivers more broadly—​were managed (Albright 2011; Vari 2002). A leader in the environmental community describes the dynamics with leaders of the national water authority during this period. I think the main role was played by [Mr. A] who was state secretary at that time who was responsible for water management and his deputy [Mr. B]. And he was the one that told us if you know what you want, then come and tell us. So it was really uncommon for the Hungarian system, because you very rarely get heard. (Albright 2009)

In 2003, the new Vasárhelyi Terv Továbbfejlesztési (VTT) was enacted into national law. The plan included a broader and more integrated approach to flood management, including increasing retention of flood waters on floodplains, changing agricultural practices, and developing emergency reservoirs to hold back and slow the release of floodwaters (Borsos and Sendzimir 2018). Whereas the adoption of VTT signaled a novel approach to flood management in Hungary, the implementation of the full plan has been limited. Lack of central funding and lack of coordination and implementation between the ministries of environment and agriculture have been blamed for this limited implementation (Werners et al. 2009). Although the VTT was given a priority in the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Operational Programme and in the National Rural Development Plan, funding was limited (Werners et al. 2009). Authentic engagement of stakeholders during implementation potentially stymied the plan’s progress (Werners et al. 2009). In addition, there was a lack of integration of the plan across levels of governance, with minimal adoption by regional authorities (Werners et al. 2009). Only a few of the emergency reservoirs have been constructed, and the European Union has stepped in to help finance the completion of these projects. The NGO technical expert offers its explanation of the backward movement of the plan. But just after this period after November that year, Mr. [A]‌had to resign because the water management . . . faced such strict restrictions. He had to fire so many people that he said that he cannot move on this way. He did not resign because of the VTT, but because of budgetary cuts and the decreasing of the staff. . . . After [Mr. A] and his Deputy resigned, then the whole thing came backwards. . . . Mostly because of his resignation. Mostly. After [Mr. A] was [Mr. B] and he is a real old school guy, he was one of the leaders of the planning group of the dam on the Danube and he is absolutely not a leader of the paradigm [the ecological approach to flood management]. (Albright 2009)

Scholars have argued that the VTT is insufficient to manage the risks of flooding from a changing climate (Borsos and Sendizmir 2018).

Governing Flood and Climate Risks    119

Climate Risk Governance in Hungary Over the first decade of the twenty-​first century, the European Union broadened its climate adaptation discourse and strategies, as described earlier. Over this period, Hungary started to discuss and address climate-​related risks through the frame of climate adaptation. The 19 county governments were granted authority and responsibility to develop individual county-​level climate adaptation plans as outlined in the national 2016 Environment and Energy Operational Programme. This Operational Programme was developed as a step toward reaching the Europe 2020 targets for sustainable growth and was funded in part with €3.2 billion from the European Union (European Commission 2020b). The Hungarian county-​level strategies emphasized risks from storms, floods, saturated lands, and increasing temperatures (Csete and Buzasi 2020). Most county-​level plans discuss involvement of stakeholders including NGOs and academic institutions, but an analysis of these documents by Csete and Buzasi (2020) suggests that poor and marginalized communities were not meaningfully involved in the development of these plans. The county-​level plans focus largely on technical and policy solutions and increasing awareness of climate risks; less emphasis was placed on responsibility for implementation and relative priorities across aims. In the first decade of the twenty-​first century, Hungary’s approach to managing its water resources and extreme floods shifted due to the confluence of several enabling factors, including a series of disastrous floods, a transition away from state socialism, and its accession into the European Union (Albright 2009). During the period of EU accession and concurrent catastrophic floods, local mayors and environmental organizations pushed for a shift in how floods were managed. But during these shifts in governance, the broad civil society sector remained weak and has not been fully integrated into planning processes or climate adaptation actions, thus underscoring the importance of barriers to civic engagement. Prior to EU accession, four decades of the authoritarian regimes of Rakosi and Kadar shuttered citizen engagement in the public sphere and extinguished the 1956 revolution with terror and violence. These regimes included years of intimidation and the banning of civil society organizations. The transition toward democracy saw a change in which elites dominated politics but did not lead to a reemergence of civil society among the broad public (Simon 2014). From 1998 to 2002, the initial Orbán government saw some strengthening of civil society (Simon 2014), after which increasing mistrust and fear of civil society actors across governmental administrations occurred, including an erosion of civil liberties and freedom of the media emblematic of a de-​democratization of Hungary (Bogaards 2018).

Progress Toward Resilience? The Netherlands and Hungary, despite having quite different geographies and political histories, share similarities in the climate risks they face. Both nations share a similar trajectory of initial decentralized management of water resources and infrastructure prior to the eighteenth century, with a turn toward centralized, technocratic, engineering-​based

120   Elizabeth A. Albright approaches in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These engineered systems have been and continue to be tested by damaging and often deadly extreme flood events that are predicted to become even more extreme with climate change. As members of the European Union, the Netherlands and Hungary must navigate both on-​the-​ground climate risks as well as the requirements of flood and climate risk strategies dictated by the European Commission. Since the turn to the twenty-​first century, both nations have started to conceptualize and manage flood risks through a lens of climate adaptation, and the Netherlands has outpaced Hungary in the steps that it has taken toward climate adaptation at the national and subnational levels. The Netherlands has placed a high priority on adaptation, particularly in the water sector, including a robust research program to support initiatives (Biesbrock et al. 2010), whereas Hungary has been limited in its adoption and implementation of its new approach to flood risk management, relying heavily on EU financing. As argued in the introduction to this chapter, flood and climate risk governance arrangements that allow for and encourage sectoral integration may most effectively manage large-​scale, border-​crossing climate-​related risks (Pahl-​Wostl 2009; Pahl-​Wostl et al. 2013). However, such complex systems of governance are not without their challenges—​including the potential for higher costs of transactions and less visibility to public and civil society, thus raising potential concerns about legitimacy (Remling 2018). Climate-​related risk management, at its most effective, allows for change, adaptation and learning from experience, and is perceived by stakeholders and the public as legitimate. Furthermore, these governance systems require coordination across economic and social sectors as well as among supranational, national, and subnational governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Catastrophic flooding in both countries spurred changes in discourse and policies to manage flood risks at the start of the 2000s. In the Netherlands, the new approach of “room for the river” was adopted, and, in Hungary, the VTT was developed, adopted, but not fully implemented. During a period of relative resurgence of civil capacity and governmental trust of civic organizations, significant changes occurred in Hungary’s approach to managing floods. The dissipation of civic society engagement on the VTT in Hungary after its adoption, inadequate resources, and loss of an internal champion for the approach within the Ministry diminished and delayed its implementation. Limited financial resources in Hungary and lack of a cohesive vision across ministries stalled implementation of policy changes, particularly in the agricultural sector (Borsos and Sendizmir 2018). Since the adoption of the VTT, government trust in civil society (and vice versa) has eroded, further weakening the institutionalization of potentially more resilient approaches to flood management. In Hungary, the changes toward more resilient policies were motivated externally from local mayors and NGOs who, when granted access, influenced ministerial leaders, some of whom championed the novel and more adaptive approach. Alternatively, the Dutch “room for a river” approach to water management has taken greater hold in water management discourse and management in the Netherlands, even though the civic engagement has been thin and sectorally fragmented management remains. This new approach to management of the rivers was in part motivated by the disastrous flooding in New Orleans, a city that is also highly engineered for flood protection. In the case of Dutch flood management, the changes appear to arise from experts within national water authorities who were networked with other flood management experts, such as those in New Orleans, and Dutch resources were dedicated to funding its implementation.

Governing Flood and Climate Risks    121 In both nations, tensions have arisen at the national level across policy sectors and governing authorities—​whether between water and spatial planning authorities in the Netherlands or between ministries of agriculture and the environment in Hungary. Effective cross-​sectoral integration of flood and climate risk planning appears to be weak at best and contentious at worse. As discussed in the introduction to this chapter, climate risks—​whether floods, fires, or droughts—​span policy sectors, and effective climate risk and adaptation policies mandate integration across policy sectors. Greater integration across sectors is needed for effective climate risk governance (Biesbroek et al. 2010). The approach of the European Commission in managing climate risk and adaptation may be encouraging siloed, sectoral, and top-​down approaches to climate risk management. By adopting a technocratic and top-​down approach, the European Commission may be discouraging integration of actions across sectors as well as local-​level actions to adapt that may be most pressing for the public and may also span sectors. The legitimacy of multilevel governance arrangements often requires accountability, transparency, participatory engagement, and civil society support of outcomes (Paavola 2008; Termeer et al. 2011; Alexander et al. 2016, 2018; Hegger et al. 2016). While both nations have involved stakeholders at the national and subnational levels in developing flood risk and climate adaptation policies, scholars have pointed to limitations in their meaningful involvement (Uittenbroek et al. 2019). While local-​level actors (primarily mayors and NGOs) pressed for national changes in flood risk management policies (the VTT) in Hungary, meaningful engagement decreased during implementation of the VTT. Stakeholder and public engagement have also been weak at the subnational level in climate adaptation policy, especially from underresourced communities (Csete and Buzasi 2020). Barriers exist to meaningful civil society engagement in flood and climate risk management in both nations. In the Netherlands, these roadblocks to useful participation likely stem from centuries of expert, technocratic management of the highly engineered structures. Public engagement in the Netherlands may continue to face challenges in engaging civil society if the engineered structures continue to protect the citizenry from the devastation of flooding. However, as risks shift and new strategies are needed to divert flood waters, the Netherlands could consider novel approaches to engage the public on highly technical risks and policy preferences. In 2020, the Dutch government involved more than 30,000 members of the public to elicit their preferences of COVID-​19 mitigation policies in an online platform, and more than 80 percent of participants supported the process of public engagement (Mouter et al. 2021), suggesting that civil society participation in risk mitigation policy development is possible. The participants were offered a selection of policies, the projected impacts of policies, and constraints to their adoption (Mouter et al. 2021). Scaled to local communities or regional authorities, similar novel approaches to elicit information about perceived vulnerabilities, risk perceptions, and policy preferences may prove useful to subnational and national governments in adopting climate adaptation policies. In Hungary, many decades of authoritarian regimes, followed most recently by a government that has undermined the development of civil society, has frayed the capacity for robust public engagement. As such, the European Union, in addition to mandating public engagement in the EUWFD and other policies, should offer increased financial and technical assistance to build the capacity of subnational and national civil society actors. Strengthening of the civil society sector capacity to participate in public processes broadly may encourage more in-​depth participation in climate-​related risk governance.

122   Elizabeth A. Albright

Note 1. According to the European Commission Scorecard on National Adaptation Strategies (NAS), stakeholders included “four provincial governments, 11 municipalities, four regional health organisations, four regional water authorities, the three associations of provinces, municipalities and regional water authorities (IPO, VNG, and UvW), six research institutes (KNMI, PBL, RIVM, Deltares, WUR), 15 engineering and consultancy organisations, four NGOs, two insurance organisations, one Safety Region, and ten miscellaneous organisations among which the Dutch National Bank, Rioned (the sewerage institute) and Prorail (Railway infrastructure)” (European Commission 2018, p. 11).

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124   Elizabeth A. Albright Hansen, Henning Sten, and Milla Mäenpää. “An Overview of the Challenges for Public Participation in River Basin Management and Planning.” Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal 19, no. 1 (2008): 67–​84. Hegger, Dreis L., Peter P. Driessen, Carel Dieperink, Mark Wiering, G. T. Tom Raadgever, and Helen F. van Rijswick. “Assessing Stability and Dynamics in Flood Risk Governance.” Water Resources Management 28, no. 12 (2014): 4127–​4142. Hegger, Dreis L., Peter P. Driessen, Mark Wiering, Helena F. Van Rijswick, Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz, Piotr Matczak, and Ann Crabbe. “Toward More Flood Resilience: Is a Diversification of Flood Risk Management Strategies the Way Forward?” Ecology and Society 21, no. 4 (2016): 52. https://​​10.5751/​ES-​08854-​210​452. Hoeksema, Robert J. “Three Stages in the History of Land Reclamation in the Netherlands.” Irrigation and Drainage: The journal of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage 56, no. S1 (2007): S113–​S126. Huntjens, Patrick, Claudia Pahl-​Wostl, Benoit Rihoux, Maja Schlüter, Zsuzsanna Flachner, Susana Neto, Romana Koskova, Chris Dickens, and Isah Nabide Kiti. “Adaptive Water Management and Policy Learning in a Changing Climate: A Formal Comparative Analysis of Eight Water Management Regimes in Europe, Africa and Asia.” Environmental Policy and Governance 21, no. 3 (2011): 145–​163. Johnson, Clare L., and Sally J. Priest. “Flood Risk Management in England: A Changing Landscape of Risk Responsibility?” International Journal of Water Resources Development 24, no. 4 (2008): 513–​525. Jongman, Brenden, Stefan Hochrainer-​Stigler, Luc Feyen, Jeroen C. Aerts, Reinhard Mechler, Woutzer W. Botzen, Laurens M. Bouwer, George Pflug, Rodrigo Rojas, and Phillip J. Ward. “Increasing Stress on Disaster-​Risk Finance Due to Large Floods.” Nature Climate Change 4, no. 4 (2014): 264–​268. Kamperman, Hans, and Robbert Biesbroek. “Measuring Progress on Climate Change Adaptation Policy by Dutch Water Boards.” Water Resources Management 31, no. 14 (2017): 4557–​4570. Korfmacher, Katrina Smith. “Water Quality Modeling for Environmental Management Lessons from the Policy Sciences.” Policy Sciences 31, no. 1 (1998): 35–​54. Korfmacher, Katrina Smith. “The Politics of Participation in Watershed Modeling.” Environmental Management 27, no. 2 (2001): 161–​176. Kuks, Stefan. “The Evolution of the Water Regime in the Netherlands.” In The Evolution of National Water Regimes in Europe, edited by Kuks S, Kissling-​Näf I, 87–​141. Dordrecht: Springer, 2004. Lioubimtseva, Elena, and Charlotte da Cunha. “Local Climate Change Adaptation Plans in the US and France: Comparison and Lessons Learned in 2007–​2017.” Urban Climate 31 (2020): 100577. Matczak, Piotr, Zsuzsanna Flachner, and Saskia E. Werners. “Institutions for Adapting to Climate Change in the Tisza River Basin.” Klimá 21 Füzetek 55 (2008): 87–​100. Mostert, Erik. “Integrated Water Resources Management in the Netherlands: How Concepts Function.” Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education 135, no. 1 (2006): 19–​27. Mouter, Niek, Jose Ignacio Hernandez, and Anatol Valerian Itten. “Public Participation in Crisis Policymaking: How 30,000 Dutch Citizens Advised Their Government on Relaxing COVID-​19 Lockdown Measures.” PloS One 16, no. 5 (2021): e0250614. Orr, Bart, Amy Stodghill, and Lucia Candu. “The Dutch Experience in Flood Management: A History of Institutional Learning.” In Case Study Prepared for Enhancing Urban Safety and

Governing Flood and Climate Risks    125 Security: Global Report on Human Settlements, 2007. https://​unhabi​​sites/​defa​ult/​ files/​2008/​07/​GRHS.2007.CaseSt​udy.Neth​erla​nds.pdf Paavola, Jouni. “Science and Social Justice in the Governance of Adaptation to Climate Change.” Environmental Politics 17, no. 4 (2008): 644–​659. Pahl-​Wostl, Claudia. “A Conceptual Framework for Analysing Adaptive Capacity and Multi-​ Level Learning Processes in Resource Governance Regimes.” Global Environmental Change 19, no. 3(2009): 354–​365. Pahl-​Wostl, Claudia, Gert Becker, Christian Knieper, and Jan Sendzimir. “How Multilevel Societal Learning Processes Facilitate Transformative Change: A Comparative Case Study Analysis on Flood Management.” Ecology and Society 18, no. 4 (2013): 58. http://​​ 10.5751/​ES-​05779-​180​458 Pilarczyk, K. W. 2006. “Flood Protection and Management in the Netherlands.” In Extreme Hydrological Events: New Concepts for Security, edited by O. F. Vasiliev, P. H. A. J. M. van Gelder, E. J. Plate and M. V. Bolgov, 385–​407. Dordrecht: Springer, 2006. Priest, Sally J., Cathy Suykens, Helena F. Van Rijswick, Thomas Schellenberger, Susana Goytia, Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz, Willemijn J. van Doorn-​Hoekveld, Jean-​Christophe Beyers, and S. Homewood, S. “The European Union Approach to Flood Risk Management and Improving Societal Resilience: Lessons from the Implementation of the Floods Directive in Six European countries.” Ecology and Society 21, no. 4 (2016): 50. https://​​10.5751/​ ES-​08913-​210​450. Remling, Elise. “Depoliticizing Adaptation: A Critical Analysis of EU Climate Adaptation Policy.” Environmental Politics 27, no. 3 (2018): 477–​497. Renn, Ortwin. “White Paper on Risk Governance: Toward an Integrative Framework.” In Global Risk Governance Walker, 3–​73. Eds. Ortwin Renn and Katherine D. Walker. Dordrecht: Springer, 2008. Restemeyer, Britta, Margo van den Brink, and Johan Woltjer. “Between Adaptability and the Urge to Control: Making Long-​Term Water Policies in the Netherlands.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 60, no. 5 (2017): 920–​940. Rijkswaterstaat. Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat. National Water Plan, 2009–​2015. 2009. https://​puc.overh​​rijk​swat​erst​aat/​doc/​PUC_​13​6175​_​31/​. Rowe, Gene, and Lynn J. Frewer. “Public Participation Methods: A Framework for Evaluation.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 25, no. 1 (2000): 3–​29. Sabatier, Paul A., Will Focht, Mark Lubell, Zev Trachtenberg, and Arnold Vedlitz, eds. Swimming Upstream: Collaborative Approaches to Watershed Management. Boston: MIT Press, 2005. Schulz, Karsten, and Rapti Siriwardane. “Depoliticised and Technocratic? Normativity and the Politics of Transformative Adaptation.” Earth System Governance. 2015. http://​cris.leib​ niz-​​id/​epr​int/​2475/​1/​Siri​ward​ane%202​015.pdf Selin, Henrik and Stacy D. VanDeveer. 2015. European Union and Environmental Governance. London: Routledge, 2015. Simon, János. “Non-​Participative Political Culture in Hungary–​Why Are the Participatory Pillars of Democratic Political Culture Weak in Hungary?” Central European Papers 2, no. 1 (2014): 167–​188. Stowa. “Floods Directive.” 2021. https://​​del​tafa​cts/​wate​rvei​ligh​eid/​delta-​facts-​ engl​ish-​versi​ons/​flo​ods-​direct​ive#Gov​erna​nce Szlávik, Lajos. The Development Policy of Flood Control in Hungary. Budapest: Department of Water Management and Informatics, Water Resources Research Centre (VITUKI), 2003.

126   Elizabeth A. Albright Termeer, Cartrien, Art Dewulf, Helena Van Rijswick, Arwin Van Buuren, Dave Huitema, Sander Meijerink, Tim Rayner, and Mark Wiering. “The Regional Governance of Climate Adaptation: A Framework for Developing Legitimate, Effective, and Resilient Governance Arrangements.” Climate Law 2, no. 2 (2011): 159–​179. Uittenbroek, Caroline J., Heleen L. Mees, Dries L. Hegger, and Peter P. Driessen. “The Design of Public Participation: Who Participates, When and How? Insights in Climate Adaptation Planning from the Netherlands.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 62, no. 14 (2019): 2529–​2547. Van Buuren, Arwin, Gerald Jan Ellen, and Jeroen F. Warner. “Path-​Dependency and Policy Learning in the Dutch Delta: Toward More Resilient Flood Risk Management in the Netherlands?” Ecology and Society 21, no. 4 (2016). Van Buuren, Arwin, Peter Driessen, Geert Teisman, and Marleen van Rijswick. “Toward Legitimate Governance Strategies for Climate Adaptation in the Netherlands: Combining Insights from a Legal, Planning, and Network Perspective.” Regional Environmental Change 14, no. 3 (2014): 1021–​1033. Van Renssen, Sonja. EU Adaptation Policy Sputters and Starts. Berlin: Nature Publishing Group, 2013. Vari, Anna. “Public Involvement in Flood Risk Management in Hungary.” Journal of Risk Research 5, no. 3 (2002): 211–​224. Vari, Anna, Joanne Linnerooth-​Bayer, and Zoltan Ferencz. “Stakeholder Views on Flood Risk Management in Hungary’s Upper Tisza Basin.” Risk Analysis: An International Journal 23, no. 3 (2003): 585–​600. Verkerk, Jitske, and Arwin van Buuren. “Integrated Water Resources Management in the Netherlands: Historical Trends and Current Practices in the Governance of Integration.” International Journal of Water Governance 1, no. 3–​4 (2013): 427–​452. Werners, Saskia E., Zsuzsanna Flachner, Piotr Matczak, Maria Falaleeva, and Rik Leemans. “Exploring Earth System Governance: A Case Study of Floodplain Management Along the Tisza River in Hungary.” Global Environmental Change 19, no. 4 (2009): 503–​511. Wiering, Mark, Mees Kaufmann, Heleen Mees, Thomas Schellenberger, Wessel Ganzevoort, Dries LT Hegger, C. Larrue, and Piotr Matczak. “Varieties of Flood Risk Governance in Europe: How Do Countries Respond to Driving Forces and What Explains Institutional Change?” Global Environmental Change 44 (2017): 15–​26.

Chapter 7

The P oliti c s of Climate Dis ast e rs , So cial Inequa l i t y, and Percep t i ons of Governm ent As si sta nc e Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-​R ivera Not long ago, natural disasters happened when and where they were expected: earthquakes occurred near geological fault lines; flooding, mostly in areas with a tropical rain season; and droughts, in barren lands. They happened infrequently and seldom became record-​ breaking, once-​in-​a-​lifetime events that strain social resources to an extreme. Not anymore. Climate change and widespread environmental degradation have led to a wave of catastrophes that often defy forecasting expertise. Government assistance to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of rapidly succeeding climate disasters is getting more expensive and, as a result, more politicized. No longer isolated, rare events, disasters, and the politics that stem from them are ready for prime-​time comparative studies. In this chapter, we take up the pressing yet unanswered question of how we can best study the comparative politics of climate disasters (also see Albright, in this volume). We examine federal disaster assistance and suggest a research question central to the politics of any climate disaster: Who do citizens believe are responsible for aftermath relief? We analyze the issue of responsibility attribution—​and the related question of who voters believe deserves government disaster relief—​against three devastating 2017 hurricanes, with a special focus on the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. We begin to answer the questions of responsibility and deservingness with survey data collected by us in a pilot study on the Island of Puerto Rico. We also draw from a University of Maryland (UMD) survey with an oversample of Hispanic respondents fielded in the continental United States in 2018. We find great promise for research in comparative disaster politics that investigates how attitudes on political responsibility attribution vary across political systems. The study of responsibility attribution and victim deservingness reveals voters’ attitudes toward the

128    Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-Rivera government, citizens, and residents, and exposes built-​in barriers to effective disaster intervention. Understanding the expectations voters hold of the role of government and individuals is critical in democracies where these beliefs help shape state emergency responses. Furthermore, because the survey data show how existing social inequality significantly interacts with government assistance, we argue for the need to include a distributive dimension in any future climate disaster analysis. We conclude this chapter with a call to examine the fertile connections between the study of climate disaster politics and the broader comparative research agenda. We find special potential in subnational and regime politics as well as in gender and social inequality.

Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria Before turning our attention to the survey analysis, in this section we offer a brief discussion of the political status of the island and the devastating effect of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Technically, Puerto Rico is the oldest colony in the world. In 1898, after the Spanish American War, the island, along with Guam and the Philippines, went from being an autonomous Spanish territory to becoming part of the United States’ spoils of war. In 1917, the United States decided to extend American citizenship to Puerto Ricans. However, while island residents are US citizens, they lack full political and economic autonomy from Washington DC. Puerto Rico is a self-​governing Commonwealth and is classified as an “unincorporated territory,” whereby the US federal government has jurisdiction over many policy areas, including disaster assistance. Before Hurricane Maria devastated the island and its economy, Puerto Rico was already in a declared state of fiscal emergency. In 2016, the United States unilaterally established a financial oversight board to restructure Puerto Rican debt and implement austerity measures (i.e., the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act or PROMESA).1 Under increased economic hardship and rampant corruption, Puerto Ricans started to engage in protests and middle-​ class migration to the continental United States rose before the storm. On September 7, 2017, Hurricane Irma passed next to Puerto Rico as a Category 5 hurricane. Its eye passed close to the northeastern part of the island but its winds and rain were enough to weaken the public infrastructure, houses, hospitals, and partially collapse the electric grid. Only 2 weeks later, on September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria’s eye entered the island from the southeast and exited through the northwest with winds just a few miles short of becoming a Category 5 hurricane. The hurricane battered the entire island for 12 straight hours with roaring winds that reached 200 mph and rain that dumped close to 40 inches of water. While pummeling the island, Hurricane Maria killed more than five dozen people, destroyed more than 470,000 homes, and left 100% of the island without power and 60% of the population without water. It left residents isolated and unable to communicate because it damaged more than 90% of the telecommunication towers and destroyed major roads and bridges. It had a direct impact on Puerto Ricans’ food security by breaking more than 98% of the adult trees and destroying the entirety of coffee and plantain crops. The total damage of Hurricane Maria on the Island of Puerto Rico has been estimated at $94 billion.2

The Politics of Climate Disasters, Social Inequality    129 The indirect effects of Hurricane Maria became evident months later and are still being tallied today. The official death toll was raised to approximately 2,975, in part due to the casualties caused by the lack of electricity in both hospitals and homes. Lost power also contributed to an outbreak of “leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted through water and soil, especially after storms and flood” that directly caused the death of at least 26 people.3 The power grid was restored 1 year after Hurricane Maria made landfall, but even 3 years later the grid has not been repaired in full. Thousands of families are still living under temporary blue tarps, and many have been unable to return to their homes. The slow economic recovery affected businesses and the ability of people to go back to their pre-​ Maria jobs (e.g., if the business was destroyed or the economic priority of clients changed).

Pilot Online Survey in Puerto Rico To engage victims of Hurricane Maria, we conducted a pilot online study using a snowball sampling strategy in Puerto Rico. The poll was available through Qualtrics for the first 2 weeks of May in 2019 and was completed via smartphone or computer. The questionnaire was an abbreviated Spanish version of a national survey conducted in the continental United States in 2018 by the UMD and Nielson Scarborough with an oversample of Hispanics.4 The Puerto Rican pilot survey included 15 questions from the continental US poll, in addition to detailed demographic questions. Different from the UMD Hispanics Survey, our pilot poll included multiple options for open-​ended answers. The questions were designed to understand the Puerto Rican socioeconomic context, and our analysis of the data is further informed by in-​person interviews conducted earlier that year, in January 2019, by one of the authors.5 The purpose of our pilot survey was to gather experiences of Puerto Ricans living on the island during Hurricane Maria, which in turn could be contrasted to responses given by respondents in the continental United States who had not experienced a major disaster like Hurricane Maria. The inclusion criteria specified participants had to be 18 years or older and have lived in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017. The pilot sample of n =​86 (65% women) is based on participants who completed all the questions. The total number of respondents, including those who left a question unanswered, was 105. The median participant age was 34 years old (range 21 to 75 years) and the overall sample skewed toward college-​educated. Approximately 27% of the participants had an education higher than a bachelor’s degree (BA), 34% held a BA diploma, and 29% had an associate’s degree (16%) or some college education. Even though 38% of the sample reported to earn $15,000 or less and 20% between $15,000 and $25,000, on the Puerto Rican context, the sample could be considered as a middle class since approximately 21% earned between $25,000 and $50,000, 8% between $50,000 and $75,000, and 13% more than $75,000. When asked about their race, 63% self-​identified as white, 16% black, and 21% as other. We also asked questions about the island’s political status. About 90% of the participants reported that, if they could decide the United States-​Puerto Rico political status, they would choose one of the current three options. Approximately 28% favored the current Commonwealth status, 36% said they would choose statehood and 26% independence. Interestingly, despite the pilot survey not being a random sample, these results mirror the

130    Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-Rivera three-​way break regarding the political status of the island found in past referendums by Puerto Ricans.6 We wanted to create a survey sample made up in its entirety of victims of a natural disaster to raise the stakes associated with our questions. At the time of the survey, 42% lived in a municipality (municipio) within the San Juan capital metropolitan region, 17% in a county from the North, an additional 17% East, 11% Central, and 6% from the South or West. Six percent of the participants lived in the continental United States at the time of the survey but reported living in an Eastern or Central municipality during Maria. Even when close to everyone surveyed in our pilot study was still living on the island at the moment of the poll, about half of those included reported that they had considered migrating before Hurricane Maria (with 6% of the sample saying that the storm made them consider leaving).

Responsibility Attribution in Disaster Politics In this section, we examine the issue of responsibility attribution and the related question on the perceived deservingness of disaster victims by delving into the results of our pilot online survey in Puerto Rico. To add breadth to our analysis, we include some results from the 2018 UMD Hispanics survey as well.

Does the Government Have Responsibility to Intervene in the Aftermath of a Disaster? As a theoretical focal point, responsibility attribution offers great potential to further the study of comparative disaster politics (Achen and Bartels 2012; Konisky 2011; Malhotra and Kuo 2008; Gomez and Wilson 2008; Arceneaux and Stein 2006). Natural disasters are seen as “acts of God” that occur outside of human control. Because they are no one’s fault, citizens are more likely to expect the government to intervene—​that is, “to do something”—​in the aftermath. Indeed, our surveys show that, regardless of age, partisanship, or other factors, a majority of respondents say the government—​rather than the individual—​is responsible for relief and post-​disaster assistance. For example, when asked whether “government has a responsibility to help people deal with and recover from natural disasters or individuals have a responsibility to be self-​sufficient when it comes to natural disasters” more than 70% in the 2018 UMD Hispanic poll choose the former. In our pilot online survey in Puerto Rico, we find similar response rates, with more than 80% of participants agreeing that it is the government’s responsibility—​over the individual—​to help people respond to and recover from natural disasters. However, when we control for the partisan identification of survey participants, we see a shift. In the UMD Hispanic survey, 53% of self-​identified Republican respondents find that the government is responsible for providing assistance after a disaster against 89% of Democratic respondents who find the government responsible. A 2019 UMD survey that asked the same question shows this partisan difference holding, with 59% of Republicans

The Politics of Climate Disasters, Social Inequality    131 and 90% of Democrats stating that the government is responsible for helping people deal with a natural disaster. Given that the number of climate disasters continues to grow and the polarization around government assistance intensifies, we expect partisan attitudes to widen. Future comparative research on the politics of disaster should inquire into the factors that change people’s perceptions of government responsibility. This question directly connects to a broader literature in comparative politics, which examines how citizens support and access social welfare. As we discuss later, we find potential in drawing from the study of voters’ support of welfare and distributive politics—​a central question of the comparative scholarship—​to advance our understanding of climate disaster (Reeskens and van Oorschot 2015; Van Der Waal, De Koster, and Van Oorschot 2013; DeSante 2013; Reid 2013; Filindra 2013 Gainous, Craig, and Martinez 2008; Larsen 2008; Marchevsky and Theoharis 2006; Federico 2005; Alesina, Glaeser, and Sacerdote 2001; Skocpol 1995). The study of distributive politics seeks to explain how government resources are allocated across the population (Stokes et al. 2013). Traditionally, distributive research focused on the allocation of social and welfare policy, such as unemployment benefits, housing, and healthcare (Alesina et al. 2001; Golden and Min 2013; Stokes et al. 2013; Rueda and Stegmueller 2019). Studies have shown that support for government welfare spending tends to be partisan, polarized, and contingent on citizens’ biases and expectations regarding the deservingness of beneficiaries (Alesina et al. 2001; Marchevsky and Theoharis 2006; Gainous et al. 2008). On the other hand, government spending on natural disasters has been less politicized as beneficiaries are seen as victims of “acts of God” who, through no fault of their own, require state assistance. In this sense, disaster assistance can be thought of as insurance, whereby the state steps in to ensure that citizens “obtain protection against risks that private insurance markets fail to cover” (Moene and Wallerstein 2001, pp. 859–​860). But with climate change, the number and magnitude of disasters continue to accelerate. Because of this, support for disaster assistance may begin to mirror support for welfare spending, becoming more politicized and focused on the personal attributes of beneficiaries, such as gender, race, ethnicity, or nationality (Reid 2013; Alcañiz et al. 2019; Stephens-​Dougan 2021). Perceptions of government responsibility toward climate victims may change, too. Similar to the welfare literature, we posit that understanding voters’ preferences for the allocation of government disaster assistance helps uncover the nature of state–​ society relations (Alesina et al. 2001; Golden and Min 2013; Stokes et al. 2013; Rueda and Stegmueller 2019).

The Perceived Deservingness of Victims and What Type of Government Disaster Assistance Is Supported What types of relief intervention are supported by voters? Typically, the state agencies with primary jurisdiction in natural disaster recovery and relief, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States (FEMA) or the Emergency Response Coordination Centre of the European Union, offer a range of assistance options. In Puerto Rico and the continental United States, FEMA may provide victims with temporary housing, home repair, or home replacement.7

132    Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-Rivera The availability of different types of assistance to victims of natural disasters leads us to the question of beneficiaries. In the public’s mind, are all disaster victims deserving of the same help? Following the 2018 UMD Hispanics survey, we asked participants in our 2019 pilot survey in Puerto Rico how they thought the US government should respond to and assist its citizens in the event of a natural disaster. We gave them five possible interventions and they could select all that applied:

1. Provide people and supplies for immediate search and rescue 2. Provide financial support for immediate needs to families affected 3. Provide supplies and support staff until local utilities are back working 4. Provide financial support to pay for rebuilding of infrastructure and utilities 5. Provide financial support to pay for rebuilding of private homes and property

All but three respondents selected multiple interventions. Frequencies of responses ranged from 63% supporting government assistance in rebuilding infrastructure and utilities to 76% supporting the provision of supplies and staff for local utilities. Interestingly, when this same question was originally fielded in the UMD Hispanic survey, continental US-​ based respondents chose options 1 through 4 at similar rates as Puerto Rican respondents. However, when asked if the US government should help citizens financially rebuild homes, only 39% of continental US-​based respondents agreed, compared to 70% of Puerto Rican survey participants. Given the sample size of our Puerto Rican pilot study, we caution against making any conclusive comparisons between the two surveys. However, we do find it noteworthy that island-​based respondents tend to support more generous federal intervention and to make it available to more recipients. Indeed, we see these two issues—​type of intervention and recipient eligibility—​as somewhat connected in respondents’ minds. That is, if voters understand federal disaster assistance as constituting a menu of interventions, with some being more generous than others, then it follows that voters may ask who should receive these different interventions. In another replication of the UMD Hispanic survey, we asked Puerto Rican respondents who should get financial help from FEMA or other US government agencies after damages suffered as a result of weather-​related natural disasters (e.g., flooding, hurricanes, or wildfires). Participants were asked to select all potential beneficiaries from the following list.

1. Homeowners with insurance 2. Homeowners without insurance 3. US citizens 4. Noncitizens who are US residents 5. Small businesses 6. Large corporations

Again, an overwhelming majority of Puerto Rican respondents support federal assistance to all of these actors except large corporations, including insured homeowners (66%) and noncitizens (91%). In a growing anti-​immigrant climate, noncitizens as recipient of government benefits may be seen as controversial even if they are legal residents receiving

The Politics of Climate Disasters, Social Inequality    133 disaster assistance. The same question asked by the UMD Hispanic Survey also gets a majority of respondents supporting assistance to noncitizens (61%). However, when we cross that item with nationality background, we find that 71% of Hispanic respondents’ support extending disaster benefits to noncitizens whereas only 52% of non-​Hispanics do. While still a majority, we see a 20% drop in support by group. When we control by partisanship, the difference gets wider. While only 39% of Republicans surveyed in the continental United States support disaster assistance for non-​US citizen residents, more than 75% of Democrats do. What explains citizens’ varying support for different types of federal disaster intervention and beneficiaries? The effects of partisanship and national identity in our survey results may offer some clues. We know that political and social identities drive attitudes on government services, such as in education, immigration, and welfare benefits (Alesina et al. 2001; Federico 2005; Gainous et al. 2008; Larsen 2008; Filindra 2013; Van Der Waal et al. 2013). In particular, the continual racialization of American politics exacerbates the impact of social identities on the question of who deserves government help (Skocpol 1995; Alesina et al 2001; Marchevsky and Theoharis 2006; Larsen 2008; Reid 2013; Van Der Waal et al. 2013; Alcañiz et al. 2019). Often because of negative stereotypes and bigotry, minority and noncitizen communities are perceived as less deserving of assistance (Marchevsky and Theoharris 2006; DeSante 2013; Reeskens and van Oorschot 2015; Alcañiz et al. 2019). The link between racial attitudes and welfare support has been studied at length in American redistributive politics. Antiblack sentiment creates the context for poverty-​relief policies such as welfare to be racialized, viewed as undesirable, and perceived to be abused by those who fail to demonstrate a strong work ethic. Whites’ perceptions of Latinos also shape anti-​welfare views. (Watkins-​Hayes and Kovalsky 2016, p. 197)

As the growing price tag of disaster relief entails steeper redistributive costs, should we expect “social antipathies—​including race, gender and class biases” to shape policy support in an area where recipients need government help “through no fault of their own” (Watkins-​ Hayes and Kovalsky 2016, p. 196)? Our survey data hint at a shift in public perception of the eligibility criteria for disaster victims driven by social identities and partisanship. Early research on the COVID-​19 pandemic and support for public health measures seem to confirm this trend (Allcott et al. 2020; Calvo and Ventura 2021; Romer and Jamieson 2020). We see great potential for a comparative research agenda in the study of deservingness politics and climate disasters. We believe this is a critical area of study because of how mass attitudes and political support help determine where and in whom the government invests protection.

Who’s Responsible for the Aftermath? Voters judge whether the interventions by political leaders are making things better or worse, even for “acts of God” like natural disasters (Achen and Bartels 2012; Malhotra and Kuo 2008; Arceneaux and Stein 2006). Who is ultimately politically responsible for the effectiveness of the intervention? This is the classic question of the responsibility attribution

134    Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-Rivera and economic voting literature and has great potential as a research agenda applied to disaster politics. Who’s responsible for the relief efforts according to our Puerto Rican pilot survey? Not surprisingly, survey participants judged state intervention in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria in a mostly negative light and were critical of both the federal government in Washington DC and the island’s governor in San Juan. Regarding the former, most of the criticism fell on FEMA. The vast majority of Puerto Rican respondents experienced some type of material loss due to Hurricane Maria but only half had filed a claim with FEMA. Those who opted not to file a claim explained their decision by a number of reasons. They said they were annoyed by FEMA’s red tape, they felt they lacked sufficient paperwork and evidence to support a claim, they were renters and the property owner of their rental unit filed the claim, they believed there were worse cases on the island with larger needs ahead of theirs, they were insured (even though they believed they were underinsured). Participants in our pilot survey experienced many material losses that were not necessarily covered by FEMA or their own insurance, for the few cases of respondents who mentioned having private coverage. Many reported losing their cars and/​or appliances (stove, refrigerator, washing and drying machines, TVs, and desktops) due to flooding, which was not covered by FEMA but was still very costly to replace. Others reported losing their roofs and with it most of their furniture because of the rains. Other kinds of losses included their jobs, work tools or supplies, food, and vital documents. At least four respondents summarized the devastation brought on by Hurricane Maria in the same way by stating “we lost everything.” Of those participants who filed claims, 41% said they received no monetary assistance from FEMA; 39% received less than one-​quarter of the value of their damaged property; 18%, between one-​quarter and half; and only 2% reported receiving between half and three-​ quarters of the value they lost (none reported receiving above three-​quarters of the value of their losses). Respondents were asked to share the reasons given by FEMA to deny assistance: “according to them, we did not qualify”; “they said that was the only amount we qualified for”; “the property did not experience structural damage”; “did not have proper documentation”; “sufficient income”; and “already had insurance.” This last reason was challenged by survey participants who claimed their existing insurance did not cover some of the types of damage suffered: “They [FEMA] inspected the home, next day they already had made a decision to not help us because we had private insurance. . . . The private insurance still has not responded for the house’s structural damages such as the cracks” (man, 29, from Guaynabo). Another respondent stated, “We had insurance but the reality is that the bank did not pay for anything because it was a flood” (woman, 30, from San Juan). The catastrophic effect of a natural disaster on top of existing socioeconomic vulnerabilities is exemplified by what respondents said in open-​ended responses: “There were some people that did not experience major losses but they needed money to buy food, gas, cloth or medicines, we did not receive anything” (woman, 24, from Toa Alta). One respondent reveals how quickly vulnerable families can go hungry when disasters hit and government response is uneven. “I did not know what to feed my children. We exhausted everything and I panicked and it was in December, two months after the hurricane when we received help from FEMA. When you have kids and you run out of money and you don’t see anything in the store to buy you get that feeling of ‘what am I supposed to do?’ We suffered from hunger. I can’t deny it, we had two meals a day and breakfast was technically a snack, a piece of bread

The Politics of Climate Disasters, Social Inequality    135 with water, we ate heavier during dinner. As parents, we went hungry so our kids could eat. FEMA response was not immediate” (woman, 33, from Luquillo). Loans, a common market-​based assistance mechanism of FEMA, are not particularly welcome by economically vulnerable storm victims (Begley et al. 2020). Most participants reported that FEMA offered them a loan, and they gave negative marks to the federal agency because of it. A respondent stated, “some received a loan but not everyone can pay for them because of the island’s low income” (woman, 27, from Toa Alta), pointing to the inability to take on a loan after losing everything due to a natural disaster. Proper titling and proof of ownership is a major obstacle to receiving effective government assistance and was brought up by many participants to justify their criticisms of FEMA. Respondents made reference to documentation being destroyed during the hurricane. “I saw homes from my community and others that were destroyed and did not receive a response from FEMA. I know that it’s part of the agency’s protocol that the house must have all the necessary documents, etc. but I think it is inhumane to leave a person living on the street. I think that in disasters like Maria, people should be helped in the best possible ways regardless of the paperwork. No one, not the government or FEMA, should accept leaving people homeless or in poor living conditions” (woman, 74, from San Juan). Furthermore, “House owners claimed the insurance and we [renters], who really suffered loss, could not claim anything” (woman, 38, from Orocovis). On the matter of titling, survey participants blamed the federal rather than the local government. “They should’ve known more about the communities on the island. . . . Not everyone has a title of their house, even before the disaster” (woman, 61, from Cataño). Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, less than a month after Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston and only 10 days after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the state of Florida. FEMA has been accused of providing Puerto Rico with inferior services and with less urgency than Texas and Florida (Willison et al 2019; Murray 2019). To many, Hurricane Maria exposed the colonial status of the island (Cabán 2020) and the inattention that Puerto Rico experiences from the US government even when the Stafford Act “forbids discriminatory allotment of aid relief ” to US disaster victims. (Morris, Hayward, and Otero 2018; Murray 2019). We asked participants in the pilot survey to compare the relief efforts by FEMA after the three hurricanes, Harvey (Texas), Irma (Florida), and Maria (Puerto Rico). A clear majority of respondents were aware of all three responses by FEMA. When they compared the agency’s interventions in Texas and Florida to the one after Hurricane Maria, 80% of respondents believed that FEMA performed worse in Puerto Rico. A male participant (58) from San Juan said “FEMA has a history of inefficiency evidenced in New Orleans. The protocol implemented in Puerto Rico was never tested before (overseas protocol) and it was a failure complemented by the Trump Administration’s contempt. Any city of the [continental] United States would not have endured what happened on the island.” What explains respondents’ comparisons of government disaster response? While our small pilot study in Puerto Rico does not allow us to dig too deeply, the UMD Hispanics survey offers some indication of intervening factors. The question (which we replicated in our pilot poll) asked continental US respondents: “Thinking of the hurricanes last year, how would you rate the federal government’s response and assistance to the affected areas?” Answers were on a scale of Poor, Satisfactory, or Good for Hurricane Harvey in Texas; Hurricane Irma in Florida; and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. When we control for Hispanic and non-​Hispanic respondents we get very similar response frequencies

136    Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-Rivera within Hurricane: both groups of participants evaluate US federal intervention as mostly satisfactory and good in Texas and Florida (55% and 63%, respectively, when asked about Harvey and 52% and 60%, respectively, when asked about Irma). We see a slightly larger difference between Hispanic and non-​Hispanic respondents when asked about federal assistance to victims of Hurricane Maria. Perhaps not surprisingly, responses are flipped, with 62% Hispanic and 53% non-​Hispanic respondents stating federal intervention was poor. However, when we control for partisanship, the gap widens considerably, especially in the case of Hurricane Maria. When asked about Hurricane Harvey, 66% of Republican participants say federal assistance was satisfactory or good to 57% of Democrats. But when asked about Puerto Rico, 21% of Republican respondents rate the US government’s intervention as poor compared to almost all participating Democrats, with 84% negatively judging federal assistance. Research on economic voting has found that citizens may distribute blame among different political actors, and often the national government is not their sole target of responsibility (Alcañiz and Hellwig 2011; Malhotra and Kuo 2008; Arceneaux and Stein 2006). That is, voters may distribute responsibility to other domestic and even international actors, from local business to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Alcañiz and Hellwig 2011). This is expected, particularly in multilevel democracies (León, Jurado, Garmendia Madariaga 2018; Hobolt and Tilley 2014.). When thinking of climate disasters, we predict voters will have strong incentives to distribute blame among different political actors (Gomez and Wilson 2008; Malhotra and Kuo 2008; Arceneaux and Stein 2006). We test for this expectation in our pilot survey. Even though disaster relief falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government in Puerto Rico (and most national governments across the world), many participants in our pilot poll placed equal fault on the local and federal administrations: “There was a complete disorganization and neglect from FEMA, the local and the federal government” (man, 50, from San Juan). In answering the question “who’s to blame?” many participants of our pilot study outright blamed the Puerto Rican governor and the local administration. “The main problem was the local management by politicians seeking to maintain their position” (man, 38, San Juan). Another respondent said: “The governor [of Puerto Rico] was responsible for FEMA’s response, because he informed that there were 16 casualties due to the hurricane when there was no accurate information and it was known that there had been many more. When they realize that they lost millions, then they started to increase the number of dead. The government of Puerto Rico was the culprit of the mess not the government of the US and much less FEMA” (man, no age available, Cabo Rojo). Yet another, “Really, the response to this event seemed like an insult to me from the government of Puerto Rico because even though FEMA did not assign equal number of resources compared to other states, the Puerto Rican government is a very bad administrator. On the other hand, I found President Trump’s performance even worse as the representative of the United States in Puerto Rico. Disgusting! I believe that in general the US has always seen us as inferior and an economic burden despite the fact that Puerto Rico generates money inflows. FEMA earned an F for my part, I don’t owe it anything” (woman, 30, Corozal). While we cannot examine further some of the possible factors affecting this distribution of blame in our pilot Puerto Rican survey, the UMD Hispanics survey allows us to go deeper. In the continental US survey, respondents were asked: “Who do you hold most responsible for the deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria?” They were given one of four options

The Politics of Climate Disasters, Social Inequality    137 to answer: President Trump, FEMA (the federal government), the Puerto Rican government, and Puerto Ricans themselves for not evacuating. Interestingly, when we analyze response frequencies by Hispanic/​non-​Hispanic, we see somewhat similar distributions of blame, with a slightly larger margin of Hispanic respondents blaming President Trump for the casualties on the island (33–​25% of non-​Hispanic respondents). However, when we cross-​tabulate this question with the self-​identified partisanship of participants, we discover a starker contrast. While only 7% of Republican respondents find President Trump and FEMA responsible, 71% of study Democrats do. Conversely, a whopping 92% of Republican respondents blame the Puerto Rican government (63%) and Puerto Ricans themselves (29%) for Hurricane Maria-​related deaths, whereas only 29% of Democrats do. We believe our analysis of this survey data adds to a growing body of scholarship that examines the polarizing effects of partisanship affiliation in disaster politics, including the ongoing COVID-​19 pandemic (Stephens-​Dougan 2021; Calvo and Ventura 2021; Allcott et al. 2020; Romer and Jamieson 2020; Guha-​Sapir and Checchi 2018; Malhotra and Kuo 2008).

Conclusion Who do voters think is responsible for policy successes and failures? This is a key question of comparative political science. Responsibility attribution is an integral part of the economic voting scholarship, which analyzes whether voters reward or punish incumbent politicians as the economy goes up or down (Lewis-​Beck and Paldam 2000). Asked of citizens in the Global South as well as in the Industrial North, the question seeks to assign political responsibility to decision-​makers in order to predict electoral outcomes (Ratto 2011). We believe political science needs to generate more disaster-​focused research and integrate it better to other areas of study within the discipline. With this chapter, we hoped to make the case for political science and especially its comparative field to mainstream the politics of climate disaster. As natural disasters increase in number and intensity across the world due to climate change, the question of who citizens believe is responsible for providing assistance in the aftermath becomes critical. We expect partisanship to be a major predictor of who gets blamed for poor relief interventions. We also expect biases of class, nationality, race, and gender to affect political responsibility and the related question of who voters believe “deserve” government assistance. Recent climate disasters and their contested aftermath confirm these expectations. Just in the United States, the catastrophic Katrina storm that flooded the city of New Orleans in 2005 and Hurricane Maria show how perceptions of the victims’ race or nationality can be quickly linked to expectations of government relief and responsibility. Similarly, given gendered perceptions of victimhood and vulnerability, we would like to see more gender-​focused studies of disaster politics (Skocpol 1995; Daby 2021). We believe that the comparative politics of climate disasters offer great potential for a broader comparative politics research agenda. Similar to comparative environmental politics, we expect disaster politics to differ under distinct government structures, such as federal or unitary, and political regimes, democratic or authoritarian (Hochstetler 2012;

138    Isabella Alcañiz and Ana Ivelisse Sanchez-Rivera Arceneaux and Stein 2006). As we discuss in our chapter, research on the politics of climate disasters reveals new connections between social inequality, partisanship, and ideology and the questions of government responsibility and support for welfare policies. Our study carries important implications for the design of climate disaster assistance in federal states. Examining how social inequality determines the effectiveness of government relief matters enormously for sound policy design. We hope our research on Puerto Rico will remind the reader that when natural disasters occur, people’s lives are severely disrupted and the difference between effective and ineffective government intervention may be measured tragically in lives lost.

Notes 1. Mariely López-​Santana, Washington Post, Monkey Cage, “A Controversial ‘Oversight Board’ Could Take Over Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Rebuilding Effort,” November 30, 2017. 2. See https://​hurac​anma​ria.eln​uevo​​2017/​ 3. See https://​peri​odis​moin​vest​igat​​2018/​07/​pue​rto-​rico-​tuvo-​un-​brote-​de-​leptos​ piro​sis-​tras-​el-​hura​can-​maria-​pero-​el-​gobie​rno-​no-​lo-​dice/​ 4. The UMD Hispanic Survey was a probabilistic, national poll conducted by Nielson Scarborough between October and November of 2018. It polled 1,300 respondents in the continental United States, of whom 600 were Hispanic and 700 were Non-​Hispanic. 5. Dr. Ana Sanchez-​Rivera conducted face-​to-​face interviews as part of her dissertation research in the Loiza neighborhood of San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico. 6. See https://​​backg​roun​der/​pue​rto-​rico-​us-​territ​ory-​cri​sis 7. For a breakdown of FEMA’s main mission and eligibility criteria for disaster assistance, see https://​​what-​speci​fic-​items-​are-​cove​red-​hous​ing-​ass​ista​nce

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Chapter 8

Implementat i on of Internat i ona l Environm en ta l L aw A Comparative Perspective

Maria Ivanova, Natalia Escobar-​P emberthy, Anna Dubrova, and Candace Famiglietti International Environmental Law (IEL) is a fundamental governance instrument for the protection of the environment. It enables international cooperation to address global challenges such as pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change, and desertification, among others. Multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), also known as global environmental conventions, are the core intergovernmental legal instruments designed to facilitate collective action for environmental protection. In doing so, their objective is to prevent and manage the harmful effects of human activities on human and planetary health (Gehring 2007; Mäler 1990; Mitchell 2003). These international instruments reflect collective intentionality, produce norms, enhance the capacity of governments to respond to environmental problems, and help coordinate national efforts (Abbott and Snidal 1998; Bodansky 2010; Choucri 1995; Simmons 2009). Through such processes, they transform “intergovernmental bargaining into deliberative transnational problem-​solving” (Gehring 2007, p. 496). Specifically, MEAs institute multiple obligations on states and provide key principles that guide the interactions among states and other actors around specific environmental issues (Birnie et al. 2009; Gehring 2007; Mäler 1990). They also establish institutional frameworks and facilitation mechanisms for participating states to receive the support they require to achieve the specific objectives defined for each environmental issue (Escobar-​Pemberthy 2018). They offer platforms to promote the participation of civil society and nongovernmental stakeholders in the processes of treaty-​ making, implementation, review, and monitoring (UNEP 2016; UNEP et al. 2007). Ultimately, these agreements seek “the control and prevention of environmental harm and the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystems” (Birnie et al. 2009, p. 212). The results, however, differ across agreements and across jurisdictions. Some countries fulfill their obligations to a greater degree across agreements dealing with pollution, while

142    Maria Ivanova et al. others perform better in biodiversity-​related agreements. Some face challenges across most agreements. Why? What explains the variance in implementation? And what is necessary to improve it across the board? This chapter provides a comparative analysis of implementation of IEL. It offers an empirical assessment based on the Environmental Conventions Index (ECI) developed at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and compares the extent to which 13 countries across all regions of the world (see Figure 8.1) implement environmental law in two broad clusters: pollution and conservation. The analysis establishes a baseline for assessing implementation of IEL and explaining the impact of national characteristics and circumstances on the fulfillment and effectiveness of international environmental agreements. We operate within the conceptual frameworks established within the IEL and global environmental politics (GEP) fields but, in this chapter, approach the issues from a comparative environmental politics viewpoint. The analytical lens, research inquiry, and methodology seek to explain why and how differences in national-​level capabilities influence performance on international commitments. By going beyond the traditional focus in IEL on ratification of multilateral agreements and, in GEP, on the negotiations and roles of different actors within environmental regimes, we identify and analyze national factors in the context of international environmental commitments. Connecting two levels of analysis—​national and international—​we ask how differences in national institutions, policies, legislation, and technical capacities explain differences in performance under international conventions.

Multilateral Environmental Agreements Multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) date back to the end of nineteenth century and have proliferated since 1970. Scholars contend that there are currently more than 1,300 MEAs (Mitchell 2020). They can be classified according to a range of characteristics, including type and number of parties, the level of legality, and the instruments used to achieve their goals (Beyerlin and Marauhn 2011; Bodansky 2010). The most common classifications, however, are based on the geographical range of the environmental problems they address: global, regional, subregional, or bilateral (Beyerlin and Marauhn 2011); the nature of the obligations they enact, including regulations, procedures, or programs (Mitchell 2008); and the environmental issues they address (UNEP 2012). Agreements are often clustered based on the environmental issue within their purview, including atmosphere, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, land, and water. Table 8.1 presents the agreements in these issue areas that are truly global, meaning that they address an issue of global concern and are universal in membership (i.e., open to all countries). To deliver the results expected under IEL instruments, countries commit themselves to a long list of obligations which include establishing legislation, norms, and regulatory mechanisms; taking on financial and technical commitments; and committing to information gathering, reporting, and compliance. Implementation refers to the process by which countries establish national policies and undertake measures that enable them to deliver results on their international commitments. Implementation of these commitments is essential to improve the state of the environment. There are, however, critical challenges in terms of measuring the level of implementation. Particularly, a lack of empirical evidence

Implementation of International Environmental Law    143 Table 8.1 Multilateral Environmental Agreements of Global Character Year Signed

Parties (No.)


• UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) • Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol on the Ozone Layer

1992 1987

197 198


• Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) • Convention on International Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS)

1992 1971 1973 1979

196 171 183 132

Chemicals and Waste

• Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants • Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes • Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure

2001 1989 1998

184 188 164


• UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)



Sources: (Basel Convention, 2019; CITES, 2016; CMS, 2021; Ozone Secretariat, 2019; Ramsar Secretariat, 2019; Rotterdam Convention, 2019; Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2018; Stockholm Convention, 2021; UNCCD, 2019; UNFCCC, 2015)

creates a need for metrics and assessments that enable comparison across countries and conventions. In addition, the analysis of implementation requires systematic approaches and explanations that go beyond the review of national environmental policies and address the existing linkages between those and the participation of the countries in the system of IEL. Debates about the fulfillment of international law tend to revolve around the concept of implementation, referring to the adoption of domestic measures to facilitate compliance (Jacobson and Brown-​Weiss 1995; Mitchell 2001; Simmons 1998; Young 1979). This requires changes in states’ behavior and the adoption of specific policies and measures at the national level to translate treaties into effective domestic laws (Chayes and Chayes 1993; Jacobson and Brown-​Weiss 1995; Mitchell 2001; Young 1979, 1994). Victor, Raustiala, and Skolnikoff (1998) are even more specific, referring to national implementation as the creation of new programs and the promulgation and enforcement of laws and standards. In some cases, however, states do not carry out these changes and behave contrary to expectations (Chayes and Chayes 1993, 1995; Downs et al. 1996; Simmons 1998). Nonetheless, implementation is “the central process to turn commitments into actions” (Victor et al. 1998) and deserves special attention. Previous scholarship has conceptualized the conflict of implementation and assessed its levels, but “very little empirical research (attempted) to answer these questions in a systematic way” (Jacobson and Brown-​Weiss 1995; Martin 2013). Furthermore, both scholars

144    Maria Ivanova et al. and policymakers assume that developing countries cannot make substantial behavioral changes to comply with the environmental agreements they have joined because of their limited capacity and resources. The lack of empirical evidence to support these claims constitutes a key gap in both the academic literature and in policy circles. As Steinberg and VanDeveer (2012) put it in the edited volume on comparative environmental politics (CEP), CEP allows for “conceptual tools that enable meaningful comparisons across borders,” allowing us “to gain insights into the cause-​and-​effect relationships that lead states and social actors to practice or ignore environmental stewardship” (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012, p. 29). Additionally, they argue that it is important to “embrace ‘inside-​ out’ perspectives on the causal influence of international regimes” to better understand the impact of international institutions such as MEAs (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012, p. 382). CEP is thus well-​equipped to study causal mechanisms and debunk common assumptions about the nature of relationships in global environmental governance. For example, the conventional assumption has been that environmental concerns have been more prevalent and had greater priority in wealthy countries of the Global North. However, several CEP social movement and public opinion studies demonstrate that citizens from countries in the Global South are also concerned about the environment, sometimes more so than those living in wealthy nations. For example, they are more willing to make economic sacrifices for environmental protection and support environmental movements (Dunlap and York 2012; O’Neill 2012). Similarly, our research shows that, in some cases, some developing countries outperform developed countries in implementing MEAs. Thus, a comparative approach of international law taking into account national realities and developments allows for a more nuanced picture and for more complex explanations.

Measuring Implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements To address the gap just outlined, the research team at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, has developed the Environmental Conventions Index (ECI), an implementation measurement tool that evaluates the extent to which countries are fulfilling their legal international environmental obligations. The ECI is based on time-​series, self-​reported data that allow for comparison across and within conventions over time. These data come from the national implementation reports that parties are obligated to submit to the secretariats according to the schedules established by each of the conventions.1 In this chapter, we compare the implementation of four of the conventions included in the ECI: the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The conventions require parties to report at different intervals. Reporting to the Basel Convention happens on an annual basis, while for the Stockholm Convention, reporting occurs every 4 years. The Ramsar Convention requires reports for the convening of the Conference of the Parties, approximately every 3 years. Notably, CITES requests parties

Implementation of International Environmental Law    145 to submit two reports: an annual report that includes information on trade in regulated species and a biennial report on implementation. The ECI uses the biennial implementation report since it corresponds with the purpose of the Index. Data derived from the national reports are coded according to a set of implementation variables based on the text of the conventions and are grouped under five categories of indicators: information, management, regulation, technical, and financial (see Box 8.1). Country responses on questions under each category are assigned a score on an ordinal scale from 0 to 5, with 5 being the highest level of implementation and 0 meaning no data provided. An index is then constructed for each country based on the scores for each indicator for the year of the respective national report (Escobar-​Pemberthy and Ivanova 2020). This framework reflects the specific policy changes that countries are expected to implement when joining an environmental convention. The indicators form the basis for the narrative analysis about the extent to which the countries in this comparative study implement the four global environmental agreements. To explain why, we have developed a typology of eight determining factors (see Table 8.2). We arrived at these factors through Box 8.1 Environmental Conventions Index Indicators • Information: Obligations to conduct scientific assessments, measurements, and evaluations associated with the activities connected to each convention; submission of reports to the conventions’ executive bodies; the establishment and maintenance of databases and records required for the implementation and operation of each convention. • Management: Designation or creation of administrative bodies and focal points to manage the implementation and general functioning of each convention; the linkages with the conventions’ executive bodies; the definition of strategic frameworks for the operation of each convention at the national level. • Regulation: Legislative and policy measures that each state party has to implement according to the framework of each convention. • Technical: Technical measures and procedures to address or manage the environmental problems associated with each environmental convention. • Financial: Payment of dues and assistance and other financial responsibilities by state parties.

Table 8.2 Determinants of the Implementation of International

Environmental Law Indicator



1. Existence of relevant legislation


2 . Institutional arrangements, strategies, and policies 3. Cooperation and engagement


4 . Information, science, and monitoring practices 5. Public awareness


6. Technical measures 7. Exogenous factors


8. Availability of financial resources

146    Maria Ivanova et al. an extensive analytical process of policies, legislation, regulations, news reports, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) reports about the various conventions and countries. These entities can assist in identifying strengths and areas of improvement for the selected countries concerning their implementation of IEL. By identifying best practices, it is possible to identify and suggest areas where state parties can connect through assistance, knowledge exchange, and other capacity-​building mechanisms. Identifying challenges provides information on how specific factors can hinder the process of implementation as well as serve as a foundation for the development of targeted strategies to help countries’ address gaps in implementation and improve overall performance. In doing so, these variables provide a comparative perspective of implementation at the national level, illustrating how academic analysis can contribute to the development of policy mechanisms to improve the process of implementation. Thus, a comparative perspective allows policymakers at multiple levels to learn from and collaborate with others, working to create the conditions necessary to achieve global environmental goals. Otherwise, environmental treaties may be perceived as failed mechanisms, unable to fulfill the purposes for which they were created. In the following sections, we explore implementation of environmental agreements in a range of countries and examine the factors that enable implementation as well as remaining challenges. Importantly, four of the five categories of indicators measured by the ECI were included in the qualitative analysis since fulfillment of financial obligations is based solely on the availability of financial resources (Table 8.2). Hence, through the four ECI categories of indicators—​information, management, regulation, and technical capacity—​we compare the national measures in each of the countries and identify the policy arrangements that contribute to the implementation of IEL.

Comparing Environmental Law Implementation Across Countries IEL is of little significance if not translated into national practice. Understanding the extent to which countries implement the provisions of IEL and their commitments is critical to assessing progress and identifying measures to facilitate the achievement of the goals of the conventions (Beyerlin and Marauhn 2011; Kurukulasuriya and Robinson 2006). At the national level, the process of implementation faces multiple challenges, including the existence of multiple environmental commitments at the country level and lack of capacity to address the multidimensional nature of environmental threats. In this context, a comparative analysis of implementation can highlight the range of factors that hinder or help implementation and facilitate learning about the mechanisms and techniques that countries put into place to deliver on the provisions of each convention (Beyerlin and Marauhn 2011; Sands 2003). The comparative analysis in this chapter seeks to illustrate the differences among countries in the implementation of IEL and explain the reasons behind it. The expectation is that implementation will differ across countries based on their level of development. The empirical qualitative analysis of 13 countries2 from each region of the world shows somewhat

Implementation of International Environmental Law    147

Countries in comparative analysis

Created with

Figure 8.1  Countries selected for comparative analysis. different results. In this chapter, we illustrate the results and begin to explore possible explanations. The 13 countries—​Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Czechia, Germany, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, the Gambia, and Viet Nam—​were chosen based on criteria of membership in global environmental conventions, availability of information, equitable representation of developed and developing countries, and distribution among the five UN geographic regions. (see Figure 8.1. Importantly, these countries show varying results on implementation of key global environmental agreements in conservation and pollution (see Figure 8.2). In this chapter, we describe how they differ and explain why. Implementation of environmental agreements differs considerably across the 13 countries. Importantly, however, no country shows consistently high (or consistently low) performance across all analyzed conventions (Figure 8.2). The only country that comes close to consistency in performance is Rwanda even though it has not reported to CITES, so it is not possible to assess implementation of this convention. Notably, the highest performer on the Basel convention in the group, and indeed in the world, is Argentina. Similarly, Algeria, also a developing country, performs at the same level as Czechia and Germany. Conversely, for the Stockholm Convention, which is much more technical in nature than the Basel convention, a country’s level of development corresponds more closely to higher levels of implementation. As Figure 8.2 demonstrates, there is a clear gap in performance on the Stockholm Convention between two groups of developed (Australia, Canada, Czechia, Germany, and South Korea) and developing countries (Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Thailand, the Gambia, and Viet Nam). In CITES, however, the situation is very different—​ most developed countries (except for Germany) are lagging. Importantly, CITES has the lowest level of reporting among all the conventions evaluated, and 3 of the 13 countries—​Algeria, the Gambia, and Rwanda—​have never submitted a biennial report, hence providing no data for calculation of the Index. Further analysis of implementation

148    Maria Ivanova et al. 5 4.5

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Figure 8.2  Environmental Conventions Index (ECI) scores for 13 selected countries. Note: CITES scores for Rwanda, Algeria, and the Gambia are not calculated since these countries have not submitted a report.

in these 13 countries is presented in the following section, which provides a comparative perspective of key drivers behind implementation. Results for each of the four categories of indicators supplement the qualitative analysis and provide a more nuanced picture of national implementation.

Explaining Environmental Law Implementation Across Countries Existing analyses of IEL implementation focus on specific countries or variables (Brown-​ Weiss and Jacobson 1998; Mauerhofer et al. 2015; Mitchell 2001; Oeter 1997; Shihata 1996). The ECI, on the other hand, provides data for all member states (if they have submitted national reports) to four conventions in two major clusters (biodiversity and chemicals and waste). The time series data from this empirical instrument demonstrate that the implementation of IEL varies across countries and conventions; indeed there is no one country that performs equally well across all conventions (Escobar-​Pemberthy and Ivanova 2020). While some countries perform similarly across all the conventions, others register different degrees of implementation among or within clusters, and the data from the 13 selected countries illustrate this dynamic. Examining the policies and measures that countries put in place and the challenges they face brings out key insights and lessons learned. We explore these factors further as they pertain to regulation, management, information, and technical capacity.

Implementation of International Environmental Law    149

Regulation: Legislation Enactment and Enforcement Enactment of national legislation for addressing the concerns subject to international environmental agreements is the foundational element for successful implementation of IEL. This is particularly true for the Basel Convention and CITES because the adoption of domestic laws is critical for defining and managing categories of hazardous wastes and procedures for trade in endangered species. Evidence from this comparative analysis shows that all 13 countries have delivered to some extent in this regard, with very few exceptions (Figure 8.3). The countries in this analysis perform better in the chemicals and waste cluster—​especially notable is their performance under the Basel Convention, where 11 of the 13 countries have a perfect score of 5. Similarly, for the Stockholm Convention, 10 countries scored a 4 or better, which indicates good progress in establishing relevant legislation. Most cases where countries have not met the obligation to establish legislation relate to one of the biodiversity conventions, CITES or Ramsar. Only two countries (Czechia and Germany) struggle with establishing proper legislation in both. Interestingly, only one country, Thailand, shows a high level of performance (score over 4) in all four conventions. The other 12 countries struggled in at least one MEA, which suggests that improving synergies among conventions at the national level may also help improve implementation. Countries’ approaches to regulation differ. Some establish specific laws for the respective components of each convention. Algeria, Argentina, the Gambia, and Germany, for example, established specific laws to regulate the transportation and management of wastes and the management of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), thus fulfilling their obligations to the Basel and Stockholm conventions (Basel Convention 2008a, 2011b; Government of Argentina 2007; REVADE 2016). Other countries take a broader approach, situating the environment under guiding national frameworks. For example, Colombia’s

5.00 4.50

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Figure 8.3  Regulation indicator scores for 13 selected countries.


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150    Maria Ivanova et al. approach emanates from the country’s 1991 national constitution, which sets forth new laws and principles for the balance between environment and national development (O’Brien 1995). Rwanda also has developed comprehensive legislation for environmental protection and robust policies linking development and environment, as well as a regulatory framework that includes presidential decrees and ministerial orders. Several approaches can be found in the case of legislation for the protection of biodiversity. Some countries connect the overall protection of biodiversity with other policy issues—​some environmental, and others such as trade, health, and the fight against crime. For example, the national legislation for CITES links biodiversity to international trade and criminal law, while the one for Ramsar links it to land management and development. In other cases, biodiversity conservation is presented as a comprehensive piece of legislation covering multiple issues under the same laws, as is the case for Australia and Thailand (Farrier and Tucker 2000). Other countries adopt more targeted approaches to ensure effective implementation. Czechia and Germany, for example, have specific national and federal regulations that cover specific species requiring protection. South Korea uses an even more granular approach, establishing specific pieces of legislation for each of their objectives under specific environmental agreements. For example, the country amended its Pharmaceutical Affairs Act to include regulation of the import and export of drugs made from processed goods of animals and plants as prescribed by CITES (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety 2016). In a similar approach, Czechia has connected the protection of wetlands to its water management policies to promote the wise use of water resources and return water to key environmental assets, including the designated Ramsar wetland sites (Ramsar 2012). Still, enacting and enforcing such regulation presents important challenges. Countries struggle, for example, with the need to continuously update or add elements to existing legislation to address amendments and add new listings under the Basel and Stockholm Conventions. This fragmentation impacts implementation by slowing it down and often adding confusion. In addition, coordination among government agencies for planning, executing, monitoring, and reporting on the multiple pieces of legislation requires significant time and resources.

Management: Institutions, Strategies, and Engagement Management obligations are at the core of national processes to domesticate global environmental obligations because they encompass the creation and functioning of relevant institutions. These obligations pertain to the designation or creation of administrative bodies and focal points to manage the implementation and general operations of each convention. This also includes the linkages with the conventions’ executive bodies and the definition of strategic frameworks for the operation of each convention at the national level. Implementing these measures involves various activities that can be grouped under two streams: institutional arrangements, strategies, and policies; and cooperation and engagement. The appointment of institutions to serve as focal points and authorities and to work on implementation of each of the agreements is critical. These authorities are responsible for the design of strategies and policies and the establishment of intra-​agency cooperation

Implementation of International Environmental Law    151 5.00 4.50

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Figure 8.4  Management indicator scores for 13 selected countries. mechanisms. In addition, cooperation with other actors involved in the process of implementation is required at both national and international levels. Mechanisms for productive engagement include networks and partnerships with NGOs and academic institutions as well as bilateral and regional agreements and initiatives on the intergovernmental level. Figure 8.4 illustrates the results in this category of obligations for the 13 countries, indicating a significant gap between chemicals and waste and biodiversity conventions for almost every country. Performance on the pollution conventions in terms of management is significantly higher than for the conservation conventions. Establishment of national institutions is a basic obligation for implementation. In most cases, an array of institutions needs to be created or designated to meet the requirement of the convention. Algeria, for example, established the National Observatory for Environment and Sustainable Development, the National Centre for Environmental Training, and the National Waste Agency to work on the implementation of the chemicals conventions (Ministry of Land Planning and the Environment 2010). Australia has the Stockholm Intergovernmental Forum and the National Measurement Institute to work on the management and assessment of POPs and hazardous substances (Department of the Environment and Heritage 2006). In some cases, similar to legislation, countries create linkages between the institutional arrangements for the chemicals and waste conventions with health and safety. In Germany, for example, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety works closely with the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety to monitor POPs (Federal Republic of Germany 2006). In South Korea, the National Institute of Environmental Research, the Korea Environment Institute, the Korea Environmental Management Corporation, and the Korea Environment Resources Corporation work together on the management and regulation of transboundary movement of hazardous waste (Basel Convention 2008b). Such partnerships with other institutions for data collection and analysis are an important best practice.

152    Maria Ivanova et al. Partners also support other processes with technical assistance for training and implementation. In Thailand, for example, the Environmental Research Institute of Chulalongkorn University supports the implementation of the Basel Convention, while the Pollution Control Departments serves as the Focal Point for the Stockholm Convention (Basel Convention 2011c; Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment [MNRE] 2007). However, as countries deal with multiple levels of governance and institutions working on the process of implementation, coordination among them becomes a critical factor for achieving the policy goals established by each convention. An example of success in this area comes from Colombia, where the national government has developed a high degree of coordination among several ministries involved in the management of POPs, including regional autonomous corporations (Ministerio de Ambiente Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial 2010). In defining policies and strategies, the most successful approaches are based on creating cross-​cutting policies and agendas that cover a broad array of issues instead of targeting specific conventions. For example, Czechia in its State Environmental Policy 2012–​2020 underlines the importance of implementing provisions of MEAs like the Basel and Stockholm Conventions that aim to protect human and environmental health from the harmful effects of chemical substances (Ministry of the Environment [Ministerstvo životního prostředí] 2013). Algeria’s strategies also reflect important connections among policy areas. For example, the management of chemicals, wastes, and POPs is based on its National Environmental Strategy (NES) and the National Environmental Action Plan and Sustainable Development (NEAPSD) (Ministry of Land Planning and the Environment 2010). In a similar approach, Rwanda has managed to incorporate poverty reduction and stakeholders’ engagement as two of the core components of its strategy to combat illegal wildlife trade. Acknowledging the linkages between poverty and illegal wildlife trade, Rwanda has created programs to prevent poaching, hunting, and habitat loss by rehabilitating and employing ex-​poachers. While creating broad strategies and policies has been useful in these examples to garner attention and action around specific environmental issues, the remaining challenge is creating synergies across the global conventions and thematic clusters. Cooperation is the second determinant of successful management. It encompasses efforts of national governments to collaborate at various levels with convention secretariats to other countries and non-​state actors at global and national levels. Cooperation is not the same as coordination. Coordination happens on the intrastate level, within the government itself and across its various agencies and institutions. Cooperation, on the other hand, happens at the interstate level (with other states) or with non-​state actors. Cooperation implies deeper engagement, different relationship characteristics, and power balance. An important best practice is the establishment of regional centers under the chemicals conventions which serve as capacity-​building institutions for subregions and provide country support, although the hosting country is often the greatest benefactor. For example, Argentina is the only country included in this analysis that hosts a regional center for the Basel Convention. It is also the only country to have a perfect score of 5, outperforming all developing countries included herein. Czechia hosts a Stockholm Convention regional center and shows higher levels of implementation than its peers and is the highest among the 13 analyzed countries. In some cases, however, regional centers do not perform according to expectations and hence do not always contribute to successful MEA implementation. One example is the Regional Center for the Stockholm Convention in Algeria. It is hindered by

Implementation of International Environmental Law    153 low funding and unable to deliver capacity-​building activities to the countries in the region, according to a 2013–​2014 performance assessment (Stockholm Convention 2015). In addition to regional centers, countries also establish various mechanisms to cooperate with peers, either by providing financial support (often the case for developed countries) or by joining efforts in tackling transboundary issues via joint policies and other mechanisms (successfully utilized by both developed and developing countries). Canada is a good example of the former, providing support and financial assistance to UNEP, the convention secretariats, and other national governments (UNEP 2000). In 2000, Canada established the 5-​year $20 million Canada POPs Fund that was later extended until 2010, administered by the World Bank, to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in building their capacities to deal with POPs and in implementing their obligations under the convention (Government of Canada 2020). When joining efforts to tackle issues covered by the conventions, countries can often act bilaterally. Examples of bilateral cooperation include the 1986 Canada–​US agreement on the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes that connects to the implementation of Basel Convention and Germany–​ Netherlands activities in practicing cross-​boundary nature conservation (de Jong and van Tatenhove 1998). At the regional level, multilateral cooperation has led some countries to assume a position of leadership, helping and supporting the implementation of the agreements in other countries. South Korea, for example, has promoted a database of POPs monitoring results from each country in East Asia, as well as data sharing and data exchange with international organizations (Ministry of Environment 2013). Regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also serve as platforms for cooperation. In December 2005, at a Special Meeting of ASEAN, the Ministers responsible for CITES implementation established a regional action plan to create a regional intergovernmental law enforcement network for illegal wildlife trade as well as a mechanism to share information and promote collaboration among countries and government agencies (Oswell 2010). In Africa, regional multilateral agreements are important mechanisms for cooperation and implementation, including the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa and the Agreement on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes (Bamako Convention). Twenty-​five African countries are parties to the regional multilateral Bamako Convention, while the Lusaka Agreement has 7 members and 10 signatories. The Bamako Convention, which came into force in 1996, prohibits the import of all hazardous wastes, including radioactive waste, into African countries. The agreement imposes stricter regulation than the Basel Convention since it prohibits all imports of hazardous wastes and provides no exemption for radioactive wastes. Rwanda offers another example of regional cooperation, as the country aims to become a regional hub for capacity building and experience sharing among East African countries. At the national level, cooperation with stakeholders is also an important element in ensuring MEA implementation and meeting management obligations. Countries engage with non-​state actors to develop specific projects and activities that support implementation. Non-​state actors like community organizations, industry conglomerates, and NGOs support and create plans and projects to advance environmental goals at the local level. For example, the NGO Green Innovation and Development (GreenID) in Viet Nam has been instrumental in raising public awareness about air pollution and climate change through

154    Maria Ivanova et al. research, regional and community initiatives, and monitoring air quality. The Vietnamese government adopted the organization’s recommendations on renewable energy and incorporated them into their Renewable Energy Development Strategy 2016–​2030. Another example of such cooperation includes the work by Argentinean state, municipal, and local governments on the adoption of specific waste management goals and plans (International POPs Elimination Network 2010). As demonstrated by GreenID, NGOs serve an important role in raising public awareness. In Argentina, NGOs actively engage in raising awareness of POPs. Likewise, in Viet Nam, environmental NGOs like CHANGE Viet Nam and Save Viet Nam’s Wildlife have contributed to demand reduction of endangered species through targeted campaigns in end-​user communities (also see Nillasithanukroh et al., this Handbook). Save Viet Nam’s Wildlife has also been instrumental in providing training to CITES officials and promoting cooperation (locally, nationally, and regionally) with researchers, conservationists, and authorities to enhance conservation efforts for pangolin, elephant, rhino, reptile, small primate, and carnivore species. NGOs also engage in agenda-​setting and forming institutional arrangements. In Czechia, the Arnika Association, a national NGO, has served as a coordination center for Central and Eastern Europe on the right to a healthy environment since 2008. Some countries, such as Thailand, have actively promoted the participation of civil society organizations in the implementation of the conventions. The Thai National Master Plan on Waste Management (2016–​2021) supports all relevant sectors for participation in the management of solid and hazardous wastes, and the government has also hosted workshops to foster communication and collaboration among organizations in fulfilling the goals of environmentally sound management of POPs. The government of Rwanda leads community-​based planning projects for the protection of wetlands. All these institutional arrangements are critical to fulfilling related management obligations, particularly around capacity building and training mechanisms essential to achieving the goals of environmental conventions.

Information: Data Collection, Scientific Assessment, and Reporting Information availability is fundamental to the implementation of IEL for two reasons that each requires a separate set of activities. First, data collection is essential to monitoring the state of the environment and establishing baselines for future reference. It is also important in assessing progress in fulfilling obligations and producing the reports that constitute the most important evidence of how countries are advancing in implementing the conventions. Second, the availability of information supports public awareness raising and stakeholder engagement, which are important in developing policies to achieve each agreement’s objectives. Ultimately, information, science, and monitoring constitute essential inputs to the policy-​ making process. Different conventions, however, require different levels of action on information. The Basel Convention, for example, has only one requirement: the establishment of indicators related to the effect of hazardous waste on human health and the environment. Hence, as Figure 8.5 illustrates, countries either have a perfect score of 5 or a minimal score

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Figure 8.5  Information indicator scores for 13 selected countries. of 1 in those cases where such indicators are yet to be developed. Other conventions have a more robust set of requirements. Implementation of information-​related obligations is generally high for the Ramsar and Stockholm Conventions and lower for CITES. Possible explanations for these lower scores include the sheer extent of the information required (CITES regulates more than 30,000 species of fauna and flora) and the lack of reporting. Best practices in monitoring and data collection and sharing take multiple forms. For the Ramsar Convention, monitoring is critical for the mapping and assessment of protected wetland sites. Algeria developed a partnership between the General Directorate of Forests and the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory to produce thematic maps on land use and flooding dynamics of the country’s Ramsar sites (Guelmami 2016). In Canada, some of the country’s main assets in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention are the data and information management systems (Fournier et al. 2007). In South Korea, surveys were critical once the country joined the Ramsar Convention in 1997 as well (Kim 2010). Both surveys supported the designation of Ramsar sites. Data are not only important for designating Ramsar sites but also for maintaining them and evaluating whether they are fulfilling the various requirements established by the convention. Argentina, for example, despite overall low levels of Ramsar implementation, has made consistent and important progress in implementing the information-​related obligations established by the convention. In Czechia, research is used to improve knowledge among government and civil leaders about the management and multipurpose use of wetland reservoirs (Petřík et al. 2007). Managing POPs also requires information and monitoring. Countries need to collect data on the substances present in humans and the environment. One country that has made important progress is Czechia. The country established a national database for records on hazardous substances and an information system for contaminated sites, old environmental burdens, exposure monitoring, and the contamination of the environment and human matrices (Arnika Association 2006; Klánová et al. 2009; RECETOX 2017). Using a similar approach, Thailand focuses research on the creation of a POPs inventory to evaluate

156    Maria Ivanova et al. the existence of stockpiles of some pollutants, particularly pesticides (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment [MNRE] 2007). South Korea uses data collection, scientific assessment, and monitoring in a combined effort to strengthen implementation of the Stockholm Convention. Each of the ministries engaged in the reduction and eradication of POPs has a subsidiary research institute that studies the presence of these substances in fish, food products, human breastmilk, and human blood (Government of the Republic of Korea 2009). Similar to the management indicator, public awareness, education, and communication strategies are also necessary to fulfill the information obligations under the environmental conventions. In the case of the Ramsar Convention, countries carry out different activities related to information dissemination. Algeria facilitates public awareness by distributing materials for events including World Wetlands Day, World Tree Day, and Environment Day (Gardner et al. 2009). Colombia has also developed informative campaigns and education projects to teach children and communities about local wetland preservation (Ramsar Secretariat and Ruiz-​Carvajal 2006). The Thailand Biodiversity Division, under the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, along with WWF Thailand, has promoted public awareness of wetlands since 2002, especially regarding the national parks system. Australia developed a similar educational approach in which the government established Wetland Environment Centres in various regions to provide public education about specific Ramsar sites and wetlands protection in general. These Centres also serve to promote cooperation with NGOs involved in wetlands management (Brisbane City Council 2016; Department of the Environment 2016). All these activities are coordinated with the Ramsar Secretariat as part of the convention’s Communication, Education, Participation, and Awareness Programme (CEPA), which started in 1999. Germany also promotes public awareness and data and information availability regarding endangered species, both nationally and as part of global biodiversity conservation initiatives (CITES 2013), which demonstrates the importance and value of data in tackling environmental problems. In a similar approach, South Korea has initiated public awareness on biodiversity by launching a Natural History Research Information Center to combine biodiversity databases from other national sources such as natural history museums as well as molecular and genomic databases that support biodiversity conservation efforts (Korea Natural History Research Information Center 2017). Viet Nam has also implemented an important program of environmental information mainstreaming that has resulted in high levels of biodiversity public awareness. For instance, the Biodiversity Barometer in 2015 ranked Viet Nam among the highest in the world, with 94% of citizens reporting having heard the term “biodiversity” in comparison to only 55% of Americans. Chemicals management and waste disposal also require public awareness. Countries such as Argentina have developed a series of activities including workshops, conferences on POPs, and media campaigns to involve communities in the implementation of the Stockholm Convention (Bianco and Campra 2005; Government of Argentina 2007). One of the main goals of these strategies is to produce a publicly available, valid inventory of the sources of polluting substances and an inventory of contaminated sites. Australia has also established a consultation with NGOs dealing with POPs, the Stockholm Reference Group (SRG) (Government of Australia and Department of the Environment and Heritage 2006). Germany has developed eco-​labeling programs that comprise more than a hundred

Implementation of International Environmental Law    157 product categories (e.g., tires, copiers, paper), about 1,500 companies, and more than 12,000 labeled products (Blue Angel 2017).

Technical: Capacity and Measures for Problem-​Solving Implementing environmental conventions requires setting up technical measures to control the environmental problems addressed by each agreement. Aspects such as reducing the generation of hazardous waste, permitting for the trade of endangered species, physically protecting wetlands, and controlling stockpiles of pollutant substances are examples of technical obligations. In addition, countries need to address technical challenges generated by other policies put into place that negatively impact the control of hazardous substances or the protection of biodiversity. In most cases, these exogenous factors result from the consequences of other human activities. Since technical obligations are particularly encompassing and their fulfillment relies heavily on exogenous factors, countries’ overall performance is the lowest among the indicators, and fewer patterns can be observed. Not a single country performs consistently across all four MEAs, and results are sporadic, failing to exhibit any significant clustering among biodiversity or chemicals and waste conventions (Figure 8.6). Some countries have developed best practices for putting technical measures in place. Algeria, for example, has defined specific policies to address the negative impact of land-​use activities on different ecosystems. As acknowledged by Algeria’s Forest Department, which serves as the country’s Ramsar administrative authority, “Algeria’s key environment issues include the depletion of water resources, land degradation and desertification, overuse of forest resources and decrease in species populations” (Gardner et al. 2009; Ramsar Secretariat 2017). To minimize the negative effects of these factors on wetlands, the country 5.00 4.50

ECI Scores

4.00 3.50 3.00 2.50



Figure 8.6  Technical indicator scores for 13 selected countries.


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158    Maria Ivanova et al. had to design policies to technically address those issues. Canada faces similar challenges regarding land use. It set up reverse auctions to incentivize wetlands conservation and restoration on agricultural land (Molnar and Kubiszewski 2012). Canada has also established several water pollution trading schemes as another mechanism to protect wetlands. In Czechia, technical measures to protect wetlands include specific recognition of ecological changes in some Ramsar sites. Specifically, sites are threatened by the need to develop adequate plans for the technical and sound management of the fishponds, balancing current levels of protection with anthropogenic interference (Harmáčková and Vačkář 2015). Other innovative initiatives include South Korea’s program to design technical measures to solve multiple environmental problems at once. Wetland management programs, for example, also aim to improve the protection of migratory bird species (Korea National Park Services 2009). A similar approach has been developed in Argentina, where wetland conservation policies define long-​term plans that include the conservation of endangered bird species protected, in some cases, by CITES. Management of POPs requires highly technical procedures, ranging from certificates that confirm the sound management of waste from cradle to grave (originally designed in Argentina) (Basel Convention 2011a) to policies preventing new sources of POPs (Bianco and Campra 2005). Germany has also worked on measures and technologies for the proper disposal of waste and to prohibit the production, sale, and use of banned substances such as DDT (Federal Republic of Germany 2006). Policies are also focused on the management of raw materials efficiency projects along the entire production value chain (German Council for Sustainable Development [RNE] 2017). Rwanda is one of the pioneers in sound chemicals management, with measures such as the 2008 ban on the manufacture, use, importation, and sale of plastic bags. Strict enforcement of the law, along with incentives for substitution, has led to dramatic positive results in reducing plastic pollution. In some cases, technical measures are developed through specialized organizations. Canada, for example, created the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, one of three pillars in Canada’s national strategy to protect species at risk. Canada strengthened the program in 2014, by allocating funding to protect nonendangered species as well (Environment and Climate Change Canada 2017). However, external factors continue to impact the technical components of environmental conventions. In South Korea, technical measures have not been sufficient to control the trade and farming of some species such as moon bears due to local beliefs about their medicinal properties and monetary value. Since 2010, the National Assembly has been considering a law that will prohibit the further breeding and sale of bears. Similarly, measures to control turtle hunting in Colombia have not been effective because of their religious value (TRAFFIC 2016).

Conclusion: Overall Lessons for Cooperation and Implementation Analyzing the implementation of IEL for managing chemicals and protecting biodiversity reflects the diverse realities and processes of countries and agreements. National policies and strategies, regional cooperation, data collection and information systems, and managerial

Implementation of International Environmental Law    159 approaches are important areas in which countries approach implementation differently. The comparative analysis based on the indicators identified by the ECI—​regulation, management, information, and technical capacity—​shows that even though there is still room for progress, countries are achieving important results. The analysis of the 13 qualitative national implementation profiles presented in this chapter confirms that, from a comparative perspective, the process of implementation is intrinsically connected with the measures that countries establish to fulfill the obligations they acquire when joining conventions. These measures vary across countries and conventions because every state operates within existing social and political structures. Ultimately, by understanding best practices and challenges, actors can improve performance and contribute to fulfilling the goals of the environmental agreements. ECI results and the findings of the qualitative data analysis indicate important best practices among developing countries that clearly demonstrate the importance and relevance of institutional arrangements. In the case of Rwanda, for example, environmental protection measures align international, national, and subnational policies as well as economic development and environmental sustainability. The high level of implementation that this country demonstrates as a result of these actions connects to a variety of studies that note the importance of environmental mainstreaming for the improvement of regulatory capacity (Meadowcroft 2012; Steinberg 2012). Rwanda’s integrated approach to resource management informs environmental and development strategies and reflects an awareness of the need for holistic, systemic governance. This positions Rwanda as a regional leader in the area of IEL implementation and indicates an opportunity for South–​South learning and technical cooperation in Africa and globally. Similarly, other developing countries that perform exceptionally well, such as, for example, Viet Nam in both CITES and Ramsar, have the potential to become leaders in their respective regions and become capacity-​building hubs. Using the ECI as a baseline for implementation provides various opportunities for further research and comparative analysis. Our findings indicate that developing countries indeed struggle with implementation more than do developed countries—​but only in the pollution cluster and primarily when it comes to fulfilling technical obligations. Importantly, Rwanda and Viet Nam—​with political systems that cannot be characterized as traditional democracies—​perform on par with developed countries in meeting these types of obligations. These states were able to establish and support the necessary institutions and legislation, contesting the traditional notion that “liberal democracy may be at least a necessary condition for environmental protection” (Hochstetler 2012, p. 222). Further comparative analysis is needed and more non-​democracies would need to be analyzed to ascertain whether Rwanda and Viet Nam are outliers or whether liberal democracy might not actually be a necessary condition for successful implementation of MEAs. Importantly, IEL implementation should not be a goal on its own, and the link between implementation and effectiveness demands further analysis to achieve positive social and environmental outcomes. Various environmental data are required to connect the articulation of national policies with the effectiveness of the conventions. Using specific indicators that measure the degree of pollution control and biodiversity conservation, a comparison of IEL implementation can inform whether and to what extent environmental agreements are contributing to the resolution of environmental problems. This indicates a promising area for future academic research, one that would require transdisciplinary approaches building on multiple fields and bringing together social sciences and environmental science.

160    Maria Ivanova et al.

Notes 1. For a detailed overview and explanation of the full methodology of the ECI, see Escobar-​ Pemberthy and Ivanova, “Implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements: Rationale and Design of the Environmental Conventions Index.” Sustainability 12 (2020), 7098. https://​​10.3390/​su1​2177​098 2. The authors are part of a team at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at UMass Boston that has partnered with the Law Division of UNEP in the development of projects on the implementation of International Environmental Law. The data and results from those projects inform the empirical research presented in this chapter.

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Chapter 9

C ompar at i v e In ternationa l Fi sh e ri e s M anage me nt Elizabeth R. DeSombre The management of ocean fisheries is difficult. Fisheries are declining at dramatic rates. The percentage of marine fish stocks estimated to be fished within sustainable levels decreased from 90% in 1974 to 65.8% in 2017; many of those deemed technically sustainable are unable to withstand any increase in fishing pressure (FAO 2020b). Populations of high-​value predatory fish (like tuna and swordfish) have populations at only 10% of their preindustrial exploitation levels (Myers and Worm 2003). One especially alarmist study predicted that global ocean fisheries will collapse by 2048 (Worm et al. 2006). Many of the most valued fish species spend much of their time in the high seas, areas not under the control of states. Other species transit across the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of different states, or between EEZs and the high seas. Protecting or regulating fisheries thus requires cooperation of states. Uncertainty about stock health and level of sustainable fishing intersects with two-​level negotiation games (Putnam 1988) in which states trade off short-​term domestic interests with long-​term management goals and concerns about what other states will be willing to agree to or implement. To make matters more complicated, ocean fisheries are not under the management of one central international organization, but instead are managed by separate regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), individually negotiated international agreements focused on a region, a species, or some combination of the two. Depending on how you count, there are currently approximately 20 RFMOs that have management jurisdiction over high-​ seas fisheries. (Far more are involved in elements of scientific research and exchange of information but do not actually create rules for protecting fish stocks.) These agreements range from the small and specialized—​the six-​member Commission for the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea (CCBSP) or the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), which involves only the United States and Canada—​ to the 24-​member General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), which addresses fishing for the variety of species within the Mediterranean Ocean. The five tuna RFMOs have responsibility for 91% of the ocean across their management areas (Pew 2012).

Comparative International Fisheries Management    167

Figure 9.1  Map of regional fisheries bodies. Source: FAO (2017).

States are frequently members of many different RFMOs, representing the areas where their vessels fish (Figure 9.1). Each RFMO manages the stocks it oversees through slightly different processes, with different sets of actors and different levels of success. This chapter examines the intersection of institutional design, interests of states, and global markets for fisheries products to suggest elements that contribute to better or worse fisheries management within RFMOs. The chapter also examines the evolution of these organizations as they have worked to collaborate and learn from each other.

Regional Fisheries Management Organizations: Overview Each RFMO has been separately negotiated and operates independently. Nevertheless, some common elements can be discerned. Most have some kind of scientific body as part of the organizational structure. The organizations tend to regulate via a two-​stage process, in which the scientific committee makes recommendations about the health of the species that the organization oversees and about the level or type of fishing sustainable for the long-​term health of the fish stocks. Actual binding obligations are then made via a political process that involves decisions taken by a regulatory commission made up of all member states, each of which has an equal vote in the outcome. The most common regulatory approach is to restrict catches. In those cases the Commission decides both on a total allowable catch (TAC) for the entire fishery and then usually divides it among the member states, so that each state has a specific quota (usually

168   Elizabeth R. DeSombre expressed in weight) for a given year. In other approaches, most of these more recent, the Commission instead restricts some form of fishing effort, such as limiting the number or type of vessels a state can have in the management area or the number of days that they can fish. Either approach may also involve other fishing restrictions as well, prohibiting certain types of fishing gear or requiring minimum catch sizes for fish to ensure that they are able to reach reproductive maturity before they are caught. In recent times, RFMOs have also worked on issues of bycatch—​fish or non-​fish species caught incidentally when other fish species are targeted—​and some have begun to examine the implications of climate change for the fisheries they manage. RFMOs have faced many difficulties in their efforts to manage fisheries. These include the ability of states—​and ships—​to choose not to be bound by RFMO rules, the ease of noncompliance in the specific context of fisheries management, and the complexities that arise from multiple organizations managing regionally when fishing vessels are able to move—​ and markets operate—​globally. First, states can opt out of the regulatory process. International environmental law cannot bind states without their consent. States may choose not to join fisheries agreements, and their ships are not bound by its provisions or by the decisions of RFMO regulatory bodies in which they are not members. Not joining an RFMO where your ships fish is one way to opt out of the process, and historically there have been some traditional fishing states that failed to join the relevant RFMOs for their fishing efforts. The United States, for example, only became member of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), which was founded in 1979, in 1995, despite the fact that its vessels were fishing in the area. Panama, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela were also regularly fishing in the NAFO regulatory area in the 1980s without joining the agreement (Anderson 1988). A bigger problem of opting out comes in the context of what is called open registration of shipping. All ships are required to be registered to a state, which determines the domestic and international rules they are required to follow and gives others the ability to know which state is responsible for the actions of a given ship. Traditionally, the ship was registered in the state where the owner has citizenship. In more recent times, some states have offered registration to any ship willing to pay the registration fee. The states that offer this “open” registration do so to earn money, and they therefore want many ships to register there. They make this increase in registration more likely by keeping fees and taxes low and also by requiring few regulatory obligations of ships. (For this reason, they are also called “flags of convenience” [FOC].) Because ships can change registration to these open registry states, fishing vessels that want to avoid regulation can choose to register in states that do not belong to the RFMOs in the regions where they fish; they are thereby not bound by any rules the RFMO passes (DeSombre 2005). One notorious vessel fishing in the Antarctic, the Thunder, had changed its name and registry state at least six times in order to avoid international rules and other efforts to prevent it from unregulated fishing (Urbina 2015). Other ways that states can legally avoid fishing obligations, even for agreements they have joined, is to object to regulations. (“Objecting” is a legal term and process, rather than simply a statement of discontent.) Because many fisheries agreements do not require unanimous voting in setting of regulations within the Commission, states would be reluctant to join if they knew they could be held to obligations they voted against. To allay that concern, these RFMOs include a formal process by which, after a regulation has been created,

Comparative International Fisheries Management    169 states can give official notice that they will not be bound by it. This process has been used to varying extents across RFMO. In some cases, it is rarely used, and states remove their objections once it becomes clear that the rules are necessary or not as onerous as predicted. In other cases, some of the most prominent fishing states regularly use the objections procedure to continue unrestricted fishing activity. A second difficulty faced by RFMOs is the possibility that those fishing in the regulatory area fail to live up to their obligations under the agreement. Although international rules are frequently upheld, rules about fishing have several characteristics that make them targets for potential noncompliance. There is a two-​level element to the regulation: states make (or agree to) rules, but in most cases it is not the formal apparatus of the state that engages in the regulated behavior. It is individual fishing vessels that make the decisions about what to catch and how, so even if a state is sincere in its wish to abide by international rules, the vessels it flags may break them. And because fishing takes place on the high seas, if fishing vessels decide to break the rules they can frequently do so without being detected. States vary in their interest or ability to police their own vessels. In more extreme cases—​ as happened with whaling during the Soviet era (Ivashchenko and Clapham 2014)—​states may actually direct or assist in the noncompliant behavior, filing catch reports they know to be incorrect. More frequently, though, states may simply not know, or not allocate the resources to figuring out, if their vessels are violating rules. Another difficulty is that RFMOs manage regionally. On some levels, that separate management approach makes sense; many of the species remain within the broad geographic area framed by a given RFMO, so focusing on a smaller group of states whose vessels are fishing for just those species in that area limits the decision-​making focus and number of actors. It allows for focused expertise, relevant to the species or the area, to be brought to bear on regulatory decisions. And it allows the set of actors most concerned to make decisions, though it does require far more time and resources for those states that participate in multiple RFMOs. Although most of the managed stocks stay in the designated regions, the fishing vessels may not. There is ample evidence that ships that have traditionally fished in one area are willing and able to move when their access to fishing options there are limited. Thus, even though RFMOs manage independently, they are affected by activity elsewhere. When RFMOs regulate more stringently, or when fish stocks in a region decrease, vessels move to other regions to fish, increasing fishing pressure on stocks elsewhere (Barkin and DeSombre 2013; Berkes et al. 2006; Hollway 2015; Blasiak 2015). For instance, in the 1980s through the early 2000s, the Spanish fishing fleet moved from catching Atlantic cod in the Northwest Atlantic, to catching Greenland halibut in the Northwest Atlantic, to catching skipjack tuna in the Eastern Central Pacific, as each stock was either overfished or increasingly regulated (Barkin and DeSombre 2013). More importantly, as long as the overall fishing effort—​assessed via the number of vessels, type of gear, and amount of time spent fishing—​does not decrease, global fish stocks are likely to be unable to sustain the existing level of fishing. Despite the potential disadvantages of managing species regionally by different RFMOs, this structure provides some advantages for scholars trying to understand fisheries management since it allows for the comparison of different regulatory processes, state interests, and environmental conditions. While so many factors vary that it is not simple to draw clear connections between any one regulatory approach, extent, or situation and effective

170   Elizabeth R. DeSombre fisheries management, nevertheless important differences are evident across institutions, both in the regulatory choices they make and in their level of success in managing fisheries. In addition, looking across institutions and across time, we see evidence of evolution in regulatory approaches and decision-​making structure, as well as institutions learning from each other in adopting new strategies and cooperating directly with each other. Ultimately, the variation in approaches and context likely has some relationship to management effectiveness across fisheries, though there are so many factors that could matter that it can be difficult to tease out causal relationships.

Regulatory Variation One of the ways that the current RFMOs differ is in their approaches to regulation. Some of this difference is in how the decision-​making processes they follow are set up. This can include voting procedures, as well as the ability to opt out of rules that have been created. More recently that ability to opt out of rules has generally become more restrictive, requiring justification and alternative measures. One element that differs across RFMOs is the voting structure required for deciding on regulations or agreeing to implement them. Beginning as far back as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) (created in 1946 by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling),1 fisheries organizations charged with passing restrictions on fishing have done so via non-​unanimous voting. This practice makes international agreements managing fisheries different from many international environmental agreements, which are more likely to require unanimity. In most cases the organizations strive for consensus, but have voting options that can be used if complete agreement cannot be reached. Not requiring that everyone agree in order to make decisions has many advantages. It avoids the “least common denominator” negotiations outcome, in which the only rules that are agreed on are those that no one opposes and are therefore likely to be the least restrictive options. Non-​unanimity allows for faster decision-​making because not all states need to be brought into agreement before action can be taken (Meltzer 2009, p. 188). Because of this structure, most of these agreements also allow “objections,” a legal process by which states that do not wish to be bound by a regulation passed by the organization have a certain amount of time after it has been passed to indicate that they are opting out of being bound by it. (This period is generally followed by another stretch of time if any states have objected, so that others may decide to lodge objections as well.) In some RFMOs, if a sufficient number of states have objected to a regulation via this process it no longer binds anyone. When an organization can pass rules without requiring unanimity it can take on more stringent rules, and those that are not willing to live up to them are able to opt out. In principle, even the states that opt out may be persuaded to remove their objections and take on the new rules. RFMOs that have this provision behave differently in the extent to which it has been used. In the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the objections procedure was used only twice between 1996 and 2010 (Barkin and DeSombre 2013). That number has increased somewhat in recent years, with India objecting to four provisions in 2013, Australia objecting to one in 2016, and Pakistan to one in 2017 (IOTC 2019a). In the International Commission

Comparative International Fisheries Management    171 for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) the process was used for only three regulatory measures (by a total of six states) from 1969 through 2004 (Schiffmann 2008, p. 252), but, between 2005 and 2010, a total of eight states lodged objections to 18 different regulatory measures (Barkin and DeSombre 2013). In other RFMOs, the use of objections procedures has been much more extensive. States in NAFO lodged an average of 10 objections per year during the 1980s and 1990s, although that rate has slowed considerably in recent years (Lodge et al. 2007). In the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), between 1995 (the year when serious conservation measures were first passed) and 2010, member states lodged a total of 32 objections relating to 22 conservation measures (Schiffmann 2008, p. 55; Barkin and DeSombre 2013, p. 29). Some RFMOs with opt-​out provisions anticipate the problem that would come if more than a few states objected to conservation measures; those states would essentially free-​ride on the conservation action of others and may be able to catch enough fish to undermine the effectiveness of the regulation altogether. For that reason, a number of RFMOs (such as ICCAT, IOTC, NAFO, and NEAFC) have a contingency rule that if enough states object to a measure it will not apply to any. In NEAFC, it is three or more (Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in North-​East Atlantic Fisheries 1980, Article 12(2)(c)); in NAFO it requires a majority to have objected before a measure binds no states (Convention on Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries 1978, Article XIV(2)). Even when these states do not use objections procedures, their existence can influence the shape of the regulations that are passed. An effort to avoid having one or more states object can lead member states to pass less stringent regulations than otherwise desired; in some cases, during commission meetings states explicitly raise the possibility of objecting to a measure if one they do not like is passed. Even states that prefer stricter regulations for the long-​term health of the fishery and thus their fishing opportunities over time realize the danger of stronger rules to which some actors decide to free-​ride. Those who either explicitly threaten to opt out of more stringent rules or who advocate against such rules with everyone’s awareness of the possibility of an objection can thereby work to decrease the stringency of the rules that are passed. Some RFMOs instead use unanimous voting (or consensus; a slightly different approach that does not require everyone to agree, but requires no one to disagree) and therefore avoid the potential problems that come from objections procedures. The Inter-​American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) does not have an objections procedure. It was originally created by the Convention for the Establishment of an Interamerican Tropical Tuna Commission in 1949, which requires unanimous voting. A later treaty (the Convention for the Strengthening of the Inter-​American Tropical Tuna Commission Established by the 1949 Convention Between the United States of America and the Republic of Costa Rica (2003)) specifies that rules are created by consensus, though it does allow members not present at the meeting who object to the decision when later informed of it to cancel its implementation for all members (Articles 4 and 6(c)). The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), negotiated in 1980, also requires consensus for regulatory measures (CCAMLR 2020). Interestingly, though, CCAMLR nevertheless includes an objections procedure (CCAMLR Convention 1980, Article IX(6)(c)), a kind of redundancy that has never been used for actual conservation measures (Meltzer 2009). CCAMLR has a close connection to the

172   Elizabeth R. DeSombre Antarctic Treaty and its processes, which prioritize consensus, so it may not be surprising that this approach would appear in this context. The Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT; 1993), which created the similarly named commission, requires unanimous voting (Article 7) and has no provision for objections. Similarly, the commission for the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA; 2006) requires consensus for matters of substance (Article 8(1)). As recent fisheries agreements have moved toward using consensus, even those that continue to allow voting and objecting have worked to strengthen the likelihood of consensus. The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) (created by the Convention the Conservation and Management of High Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (2000)) emphasizes consensus. It does have a provision by which measures of substance can pass by a double majority vote (three-​quarters of two different groups of members) if consensus is not reached, though it allows for the appointment of a “conciliator” (Article 6(4)) to try to remedy any factors that might cause a state to vote against a regulatory measure. Instead of an objections procedure per se, the WCPFC includes a process by which states that were absent from votes (that passed by consensus), or voted against it if there was a formal vote, can ask for a measure to be reviewed for being either discriminatory or inconsistent with the organization’s treaty. A decision by the review panel can require the Commission to modify or drop the measure (WCPFC Article 6(6–​10)). A different way this issue has been addressed has been to allow, but limit, the use of objections. NEAFC, the Southeast Atlantic Regional Fisheries Organization (SEAFO), and South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPFRMO), among others, all now require some aspect of justification for opting out, rather than simply allowing it as a matter of course. SEAFO, for example, lays out the basis for which objections are permitted, including inconsistency with the treaty, discrimination, or inability to comply with the rule (Convention on the Conservation and Management of Fishery Resources in the South East Atlantic Ocean 2001, Article 23(1)). NEAFC did not originally have such a provision, but added one by a decision, taken in 2004, to amend the organization’s rules of procedure. NEAFC members that object to a conservation measure must indicate why and also indicate what alternative measures they plan to take (Meltzer 2009). Although there is no process for formally determining the validity of an objection, this process of justification at least requires states to publicly commit to alternative measures and may make baseless objection less likely. ICCAT has a similar provision as of 2012 (ICCAT 2012b). SPRFMO, established in 2012, takes a slightly different approach to addressing this potential problem. It allows for non-​unanimous voting and objections but only if “the decision unjustifiably discriminates in form or in fact against the member of the Commission or is inconsistent with the provisions of this Convention or other relevant international law”; it also requires the state that objects to a measure to adopt a measure deemed to be “equivalent in effect” (Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean 2009, Article 17(2)). This provision has been invoked. For example, an objection by Russia in 2013 was deemed to meet the “discriminatory” standard, but the alternative measures Russia adopted were not found to be equivalent (SPRFMO 2013), and, in 2018, Ecuador’s objection to the allocation of Chilean jack mackerel quota was deemed not to be discriminatory and thus not allowed (SPRFMO 2018).

Comparative International Fisheries Management    173 Another element that can vary across organizations is what is regulated via the commissions in an effort to protect the fish stocks in question. The most common approach is to limit the number of fish caught by creating an annual TAC. Initially TACs were collective. For example, the treaty underlying the IWC outlined permissible regulatory action the Commission could take, which included setting a TAC, but disallowed dividing the TAC by state (International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1946, Article 5(2)). CCAMLR has used a similar approach, passing TACs by regulatory area within the commission’s jurisdiction, rather than dividing an overall TAC among member states. Other early commissions used this process; most of these RFMOs no longer exist, having been phased out or renegotiated after the codification of EEZs expanded the area of the ocean that states are allowed to control. The other different approach to regulation controls capacity, or “effort,” rather than catches. This effort could focus on the number of vessels (usually in a particular size class) that can fish in a given season or the number of days vessels can fish. For example, until 2016, the IOTC didn’t impose specific catch limits but instead limited the number, size, and gear type of vessels that member states could use for fishing; those limits were generally expressed in relation to that state’s vessels in a previous year. While often used in domestic fishing contexts and likely chosen by the IOTC in part because of the dramatic differences in size and levels of development of member states, this approach failed to successfully manage stocks. Beginning in 2016, catch limits were imposed (IOTC 2019b). Even then, these limits are most frequently expressed in percentages of that state’s catches in a previous year, an approach that differs from most other RFMO catch limits.

Learning Across RFMOs While each RFMO was negotiated separately, operates independently, and has different member states, there is much overlap in membership and communication among secretariats, representatives, and scientific experts involved in these different regulatory processes. Moreover, these commissions often face similar difficulties in their management efforts. It is not surprising, then, that there is diffusion of regulatory practices over time across RFMOs. Innovations frequently begin in organizations facing a particular problem most acutely (or that have a management process that is either unusually cooperative or dominated by especially powerful states that have an interest in addressing an issue) and then are proposed by experts or shared members in other commissions. A few important examples of this learning across commissions include overuse of objections procedures, ensuring that only authorized ships fish in the regulatory area, encouraging membership from non-​member states who flag vessels fishing in the area, and enforcement of fishing rules.

Limiting Objections The changes over time in voting and objections procedures discussed earlier also serve as a long-​term example of learning that plays out across RFMOs, with ones negotiated later

174   Elizabeth R. DeSombre in time being less likely to use, or more likely to constrain the use of, the practice of opting out of management decisions. In some cases these changes simply involve differences in agreements that were negotiated later in time, but in other instances existing practices have been procedurally amended; at this point, most RFMOs with objections procedures have done something to try to constrain their use. Discussions in the decision-​making processes of these organizations indicate that the members are aware of the use of these modifications by other RFMOs, even—​in the case of ICCAT—​indicating that the policy of other organizations “could be useful models” (ICCAT 2012a, p. 19).

Vessel Tracking, Monitoring, and Observation Among the first practices adopted serially across RFMOs was the process of vessel monitoring. Once it became clear that ships flagged in states that were not parties to RFMO agreements were fishing in areas that those organizations oversaw, the RFMOs began to take steps to keep track of which ships were authorized to fish in these areas and which were not. Initially RFMOs began lists of vessels allowed to fish in their regulatory areas. Some have gone further, creating “black lists” (those ships that are explicitly disallowed because of bad practices or lack of participation in the regulatory process). The adoption by the tuna RFMOs of a collective list of authorized vessels for all of the organizations that manage tuna takes this process even further, though in practice it is really just an aggregation of the lists from the individual RFMOs. Other approaches focused more directly on compliance with (rather than acceptance of) RFMO rules have included exchanges of observers on fishing vessels and satellite tracking devices or other forms of electronic monitoring. Observers are the earlier, and more widespread, practice. Exchanging observers requires no technology and so was an easy early way to reassure those concerned that other state’s vessels may not be living up to the rules they agreed to. The practice began in the IWC in the early 1970s, though originally proposed in the 1950s (Ausubel and Victor 1992). Initially individual countries (first, Australia and South Africa, followed by others) agreed to exchange observers on their whaling stations; the program was expanded thereafter. Almost all RFMOs at this point mandate observers on at least some proportion of the vessels allowed to fish in their regulatory areas (Meltzer 2009), though the extent of observer coverage varies widely, and what they track—​scientific information, compliance with catch mandates, or other information—​varies as well. Only three RFMOs—​NAFO, SEAFO, and the Commission for the Conservation and Management of the Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea (CCBSP)—​currently mandate 100% observer coverage, though CCAMLR requires 100% observer coverage on vessels fishing for Patagonian toothfish and, as of 2020, krill, the primary species of concern (Ewell et al. 2020). Observer coverage is expensive, inconvenient, and sometimes dangerous for the observers (Ewell et al. 2020); the willingness of RFMOs to commit to observers on all fishing vessels seems to involve a combination of reasonably small numbers of member states and some allegation of illegal fishing practices. While it is clear that the RFMOs have modified their observer programs over time in response to the experience of other RFMOs, as well as their own experiences and needs, Ewell et al. evaluate the robustness of the observer programs (excluding the IWC in their

Comparative International Fisheries Management    175 analysis) across organizations. They conclude that ICCAT, WCPFC, NAFO, and IOTC (followed closely by CCAMLR, SFPRFMO, and IATTC) have the best monitoring systems overall (Ewell et al. 2020). Other forms of electronic monitoring (such as cameras programmed to operate and stream video when a vessel’s fishing gear is hauled in) are beginning to be adopted as an alternative to human observers or as an addition. At this point ICCAT, NAFO, and SIOFA, have policies that allow for such approaches, and SPRFMO says that some vessels have the capacity for this kind of monitoring. A vessel monitoring system (VMS), in which ships are tracked by satellite, can determine where ships are fishing and thus help document whether fish are caught were they are allowed to be. It has been controversial; when CCAMLR first required it in 2001, data from the tracking could only be accessed by those states that flagged the vessels because states otherwise would not agree to adopt the program. CCAMLR now requires that flag states send the VMS data they collect to the secretariat (CCAMLR 2018), but it is still carefully guarded and generally not available to the public. Additional RFMOs adopted VMS to varying degrees subsequently; at this point IATTC, ICCAT, NAFO, and NEAFC have at least some satellite tracking, and SEAFO requires VMS on all ships authorized to fish in its regulatory area as of 2006. The WCPFC created its program in 2009, and it now requires states to report VMS data to the Commission (WCPFC 2018). VMS is most frequently used by states to keep track of their own vessels (within the context of RFMO rules) than for RFMOs to be able to do so, however, even though states are more frequently required to share that data with the RFMOs.

Catch Documentation Another process that was adopted across multiple RFMOs once it began was the creation of what eventually came to be known as catch documentation schemes. This process evolved across RFMOs, with several influencing each other in a way that eventually resulted in a common set of approaches. These schemes are designed to allow the tracing of shipments of fish that were caught within the regulatory processes of certain RFMOs and allow—​or require—​RFMO member states to only accept fish caught within the regulatory process. These efforts emerged as a response to the phenomenon of FOC fishing. Most RFMOs have struggled with the problem of vessels flagged in non-​member states fishing within their regulatory areas, a practice that is arguably technically legal (since states and their vessels are only bound by the regulatory processes they have taken on) but that undermines the ability of commissions to manage the fisheries within their purview. This phenomenon grew more problematic in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as some open-​registry states (those that allow ship registration from non-​nationals; more derisively called FOCs) began courting registration from fishing vessels while refraining from joining RFMOs. Re-​registering to avoid regulation has been an occasional strategy for fishing vessels since the mid-​20th century, but it became a more common practice at the beginning of the 21st century. Belize was, for a while, one of the most prominent states, and Panama (the world’s biggest ship registry), Honduras, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were also open-​registry states that flagged multiple fishing vessels while remaining apart from the RFMOs for the regions in which their flagged vessels fished (DeSombre 2005). Of new

176   Elizabeth R. DeSombre fishing vessels built in the period 2000–​2003, 14% registered in open-​registry states, and some estimates put that percentage as of 2002 at 21.5% (ICTFU et al. 2002). This practice caused serious problems for RFMO management efforts. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, ICCAT estimated that 10% of the catch of the species it manages was being caught by vessels flagged in non-​member states (OECD 2004). The CCSBT estimated in 1999 that 15% of its catch was by non–​member-​flagged ships (Swan 2002), and, by 2004, the estimate was up to one-​third of its catches (OECD 2004). The IOTC estimated that 10% of its catch in this era came from non–​member-​state vessels (Swan 2002). Even more dramatic were the estimates from CCAMLR, which estimated that twice as much fishing came from non–​member-​flagged vessels as from those flagged in member states (DeSombre 2005). ICCAT, the first to experience the problem, was also the first to craft ways to address it. Beginning in 1992, it created a “bluefin tuna statistical document” that accompanies any bluefin tuna caught by member states to attest that it was caught within the regulatory process when the fish are transshipped or traded. Beginning in 1996, it started authorizing trade sanctions—​ specifically focused on preventing trade in ICCAT species—​ against states whose ships were fishing in contravention of ICCAT rules. The more important development began in 2002, when ICCAT members agreed that they would only accept the landings, transshipment, or trade of bluefin tuna from ships that were on the organization’s white list. The program was expanded to also apply to bigeye tuna and swordfish, the other major fish species that ICCAT regulates (DeSombre 2005). Other tuna-​governing RFMOs followed suit. The CCSBT created what it called a “trade information scheme” in 2000; it requires a “bluefin tuna statistical document” that attests to where and how the fish was caught to accompany tuna caught within the process and that member states refuse to trade in tuna not accompanied by such a document (DeSombre 2005). The IOTC in 2001 created a “bigeye tuna statistical document” that member states are required to inspect before allowing the transshipment, landing, or trade of bigeye tuna from this region; as with the other such documents, it demonstrates that the tuna it accompanies were caught within the IOTC regulatory process (DeSombre 2005). Outside of the tuna RFMOs, the first organization to take up this approach was CCAMLR. It created a catch documentation scheme for Patagonian toothfish (the primary species regulated at the time) in 2000 (Green and Agnew 2002). This was the first formal process requiring that documentation travel with catches and that member states only accept landings or transshipment (or trade) of fish accompanied by such documentation. CCAMLR has had the same problems with FOC-​registered vessels fishing in its regulatory areas that the tuna RFMOs experienced, and this measure allowed states to track, and prioritize, fish caught with the regulatory process. As with the tuna RFMOs, it helped that the primary markets for the fish caught in the regulatory area were member states of the organization and could therefore meaningfully affect the market for fish caught outside of the regulatory process by agreeing to this type of measure. By 2008, ICCAT’s process had become a true catch documentation scheme, and the same was true of the CCSBT in 2010 (Hosch n.d.). In other words, the tuna organizations that had initiated the general practice of identifying and tracking species caught within the regulatory process then adopted the variations of its approaches that CCAMLR created, leaving all three organizations with similar approaches and strong evidence that they are learning from each other how best to minimize fishing outside their regulatory processes.

Comparative International Fisheries Management    177

Cooperation Across RFMOs The separate regulatory processes of each RFMO help account for the global difficulties in fisheries regulation; even if one institution can regulate effectively, vessels that fish in that area may also be fishing in other areas, and successful regulation in one region may put fishing pressure on other regions. In some cases fish species themselves might move between regulatory areas (Thompson 2003), something that may become more prominent as the ranges of species change in response to climate change. Over time there has been more formal cooperation across different RFMOs, largely because of the common issues they have been dealing with. In 1999, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) created what eventually came to be known as the Regional Fisheries Bodies Secretariat Network (RSN). It meets every 2 years and consults about such things as harmonizing catch documentation schemes and vessel lists (FAO 2020a). Smaller scale cooperative efforts include such endeavors as NEAFC and NAFO creating a joint list of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) vessels fishing across their region, since ships operating illicitly in one part of the Atlantic may easily move across the regulatory areas of both organizations. They have also done some coordination of management measures for redfish species that move between regulatory areas (Lodge et al. 2007). The deepest cooperation has come from the five RFMOs that manage tuna species around the world. They manage similar species in different areas, were created at different time periods, and have different membership in their commissions (Table 9.1). These RFMOs first held a joint meeting in 2007, in Kobe, Japan, during which they discussed common challenges (such as data collection and effective stock management) but did not make any substantive management commitments. They did commit to continuing what became known as the “Kobe process” of collaboration and have had several joint meetings since then (a main one approximately every 2 years and workshops and meetings focused on specific topics in some other years) to share information and strategies. The collaboration has a website where reports and lists can be found—​such as IUU vessel lists and lists of vessels authorized to fish in the different regulatory areas. It has also agreed to standardized formats for data collection and observer reports, but this has not resulted in genuine collaboration on management or other regulation and mostly just serves to keep the different tuna RFMOs apprised of what each is doing.

Table 9.1 The tuna RFMOs (and year of founding treaty) CCSBT

Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (1993)


Inter-​American Tropical Tuna Commission (1949)


International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (1966)


Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (1993)


Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (2000)

178   Elizabeth R. DeSombre Some scholars have suggested either consolidating RFMOs into one large organization (Barkin and DeSombre 2013) or even just more directly merging those that address the same species or region (Joseph and Greenough 1979; Saila and Norton 1974; Gulland 1972). This approach would help avoid the broader phenomenon of “convention fatigue” (VanDeveer 2003) and be of particular benefit to developing countries for whom the resources—​scientific, financial, and bureaucratic—​required to participate in multiple organizations can be overwhelming. At the same time, however, RFMOs are resistant to giving up the control they have over fisheries management, and even the nascent cooperative efforts take place at the margins rather than involving catch limits or other significant regulatory decisions. Despite potential advantages of centralization, at this point the cooperative efforts engage additional bureaucracy rather than decreasing it. There are other entities taking action or making rules relating to fisheries in ways that overlap with RFMOs. Of central importance is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (1982), which put forth the legal requirement that states need to join regional fisheries bodies in areas where the vessels they flag fish (Articles 63(2) & 64). The awkwardly named Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks [1995]; frequently referred to as the Straddling Stocks or Fish Stocks Agreement [FSA]), lays out the requirement that states create RFMOs if one does not yet exist in the area in which their vessels fish and that existing RFMOs permit states with fishing interests in the area to join. Both of these provisions are generally considered to be customary law and thereby binding even on states that haven’t ratified the treaties (Lodge et al. 2007). The FAO also plays some coordinating roles in overarching fisheries management (including by RFMOs), though it does not take binding management action. Among other things, it aggregates scientific information about the health of fish stocks and global fishing effort, and it keeps records of catch by country and species in a uniform and accessible way. In addition, it provides technical assistance to fisheries development projects and policy assistance to individual states working to create rules for the domestic fisheries they manage. It has also overseen the creation of other cooperative efforts to address issues in fishing, like the 2016 Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. It has a Committee on Fisheries, the only global standing intergovernmental organization focused on issues of ocean fisheries broadly, but it serves a primarily consultative role, rather than a regulatory one. (Other global organizations, like the UN Development Programme and the World Trade Organization, take actions that relate to ocean fishing capacity, but not in a directly stock-​management role.) Perhaps the most important recent global fisheries management process is the nascent effort, in part via the UNCLOS process, to protect “areas beyond national jurisdiction,” which in the context of oceans means the high seas. After preparatory meetings, the UN General Assembly in December 2017 adopted a resolution to convene a legally binding treaty on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. These negotiations are currently ongoing (IUCN 2020).

Comparative International Fisheries Management    179

Variations in Effectiveness The most important comparative aspect of RFMOs is how they actually do at managing the stocks they oversee. This analysis is surprisingly hard to do for some of the reasons that fisheries are hard to manage in the first place: how abundant fish are is itself a contested question, there may be factors other than fishing of a specific stock that can account for its level of abundance, and not all fish stocks face the same fishing pressure, so abundance is not necessarily a sign of effective management processes. Nevertheless, there have been some efforts to compare effectiveness of stock management across fisheries organizations that are actually taking management actions. One creative analysis attempted to evaluate the (at that point 18) management RFMOs against both a set of operational criteria (what the authors think conceptually a good RFMO should do, like provide assistance to developing countries and conduct performance reviews) and a set of stock assessments compared to fishing effort. This latter approach involves assessing how much fishing of the stock happens compared to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) as well as what the current stock biomass is compared to biomass that would produce MSY (Cullis-​Suzuki and Pauly 2010). When assessing stock conservation, it’s important to note that most stocks under RFMO management have been declining; there are few true success stories in international fisheries management. Some of that is overdetermined: not only is fisheries management difficult for all the reasons discussed earlier, but RFMOs rarely regulate in a serious way until stocks are already unambiguously in decline. Nevertheless, the stocks managed by RFMOs vary considerably in how abundant they are over time, and presumably a genuinely effective RFMO would, at minimum, be able to prevent the worst declines. The Cullis-​Suzuki and Pauly assessment finds CCAMLR to have the healthiest stocks (Cullis-​Suzuki and Pauly 2010). This squares with other recent assessments of RFMOs, including a process-​based assessment by Marcus Haward who finds that CCAMLR meets most of the criteria he sets out for effectiveness (followed closely by NEAFC) (Haward 2020). But how these governance successes come to be are less clear. CCAMLR is a remote fishery, accessible only by large-​scale vessels (generally from rich countries). Its initial species of concern, krill, was likely saved not by impressive management but by the political and economic collapse of the Soviet Union, the main harvester of the stock (Gascón and Werner 2006). Comparing its effectiveness with the IOTC, in which a large number of the members are developing countries that depend economically on the stocks they fish, may miss non-​commission sources of variation. Most importantly, though, Cullis-​Suzuki and Pauly found no significant correlation between the “best practice” measures that RFMOs had taken on and successful stock management (Cullis-​Suzuki and Pauly 2010). Ultimately, it seems we do not yet know what the best ways are, institutionally, to manage fisheries. Other aspects of effectiveness research allow us to test theoretically derived hypotheses. In general it is suggested that cooperation over shared resources is more difficult the more actors are involved. The tendency to “free ride”—​not take action when others do—​is greater in part because it is harder to be certain that others will act in a precautionary manner and in part because negotiation is more difficult among more actors. There is some evidence for

180   Elizabeth R. DeSombre this proposition: fisheries that are more highly “shared”—​in other words, that have fishers from more states fishing them—​are more likely to be overexploited (McWhinnie 2009). There are other efforts under way to test additional hypothesis. One such (ongoing) study (Barkin et al. 2018) examines determinants of individual state positions within RFMOs, using a common set of states and institutions. It hypothesizes that aspects of domestic politics—​such as the dependence of a state on a fish stock, its subsidization of and political capture by its fishing industry, and its capacity to fish for other species or in other regions—​influence negotiating positions within RFMOs and level of adherence to rules that are passed. Ultimately, when examining the structures, processes, and effects of regional fisheries management organizations, it is important to remember that international fisheries management is a difficult process. It requires international collective action, in which states agree to current costs for potential future benefits. These decisions take place under conditions of uncertainty: about what the actual health of the fishery is, about what other states will agree to and comply with, and what other threats to the stocks might be. It can be difficult to connect any one of these decisions to an ecological outcome. And it suggests that there are still many studies that remain to be done to explain the actions of states, the structures and processes of RFMOs, and, ultimately, the health of internationally managed stocks.

Note 1. The IWC is not technically an RFMO because it is a global, rather than regional organization; it is nevertheless generally considered a fisheries organization even though the whales it manages are mammals rather than fish.

References Anderson, Emory D. “The History of Fisheries Management and Scientific Advice-​The ICNAF/​NAFO History from the End of World War II to the Present.” Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science 23 (1988): 75–​94. Ausubel, Jesse H., and David G. Victor. “Verification of International Environmental Agreements.” Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 17, no. 1 (1992): 1–​43. Barkin, J. Samuel, and Elizabeth R. DeSombre. Saving Global Fisheries: Reducing Fishing Capacity to Promote Sustainability. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013. Barkin, J. Samuel, Elizabeth R. DeSombre, Atsushi Ishii, and Isao Sakaguchi. “Domestic Sources of International Fisheries Diplomacy: A Framework for Analysis.” Marine Policy 94 (2018): 256–​263. Berkes, F., Hughes, T. P., Steneck, R. S., Wilson, J. A., Bellwood, D. R., Crona, B., Folke, C., Gunderson, L. H., Leslie, H. M., Norberg, J., and Nyström, M. “Globalization, Roving Bandits, and Marine Resources.” Science 311, no. 5767 (2006): 1557–​1558. Blasiak, Robert. “Balloon Effects Reshaping Global Fisheries. Marine Policy 57 (2015): 18–​20. CCAMLR. “Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).” 2018. https://​www.cca​​en/​com​plia​nce/​ ves​sel-​mon​itor​ing-​sys​tem

Comparative International Fisheries Management    181 CCAMLR. 2020. “Decision-​ making.” 2020. https://​www.cca​​en/​organ​isat​ion/​decis​ ion-​mak​ing Convention the Conservation and Management of High Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. 2000. Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. 1993. Convention on Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. 1978. Convention on the Conservation and Management of Fishery Resources in the South East Atlantic Ocean. 2001. Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean. 2009. Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in North-​East Atlantic Fisheries. 1980. Cullis-​Suzuki, Sarika, and Daniel Pauly. “Failing the High Seas: A Global Evaluation of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.” Marine Policy 34, no. 5 (2010): 1036–​1042. DeSombre, Elizabeth R. “Fishing Under Flags of Convenience: Using Market Power to Increase Participation in International Regulation.” Global Environmental Politics 5, no. 4 (2005): 73–​94. Ewell, Christopher, John Hocevar, Elizabeth Mitchell, Samantha Snowden, and Jennifer Jacquet. “An Evaluation of Regional Fisheries Management Organization At-​Sea Compliance Monitoring and Observer Programs.” Marine Policy 115 (2020): 1–​12. FAO. Regional Fishery Bodies (RFB) Web Site. Regional Fishery Bodies (RFB). FI Institutional Websites. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department Rome. Updated April 21, 2017. http://​​fish​ery/​rfb/​en FAO. “Regional Fishery Body Secretariats Network (RSN).” 2020a. http://​​fish​ery/​ rsn/​en FAO. State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Rome: FAO, 2020b. http://​www.fao. org/​3/​ca922​9en/​onl​ine/​ca922​9en.html Gascón, Virginia, and Rodolfo Werner. “CCAMLR and Antarctic Krill: Ecosystem Management Around the Great White Continent.” Sustainable Development Law & Policy 7, no. 1 (2006): 14–​16; 80. Green, Julia, and David Agnew. “Catch Documentation Schemes to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing: CCAMLR’s Experience with Southern Ocean Toothfish.” Ocean Yearbook 16 (2002): 171–​194. Gulland, J. A. “Some Thoughts on a Global Approach to Tuna Management.” Economic Aspects of Fish Production: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Fisheries Economics. Paris: OECD: 228–​238, 1972. Haward, Marcus. Governing Oceans in a Time of Change: Fishing for the Future? Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar, 2020. Hollway, James. The Evolution of Global Fisheries Governance, 1960-​2010. Dissertation, Oxford University, UK, 2015. Hosch, Gilles. “Catch Documentation Schemes: Practices and Applicability in Combating IUU Fishing.” FAO. n. d. http://​​in-​act​ion/​globef​i sh/​fish​ery-​info​rmat​ion/​ resou​rce-​det​ail/​en/​c/​426​994/​ ICCAT. 2012a. Report of the 3rd Meeting of the Working Group on the Future of ICCAT. Madrid, Spain May 28–​31, 2012a. https://​​Docume​nts/​Meeti​ngs/​Docs/​2012_​ F​IWG_​REP_​ENG.pdf ICCAT. Resolution by ICCAT Regarding the Presentation of Objections in the Context of Promoting Effective Conservation and Management Measures Adopted by ICCAT; Resolution 12–​11. 2012b. https://​​Docume​nts/​Recs/​compe​ndio​pdf-​e/​2012-​11-​e.pdf

182   Elizabeth R. DeSombre ICTFU, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, ITC, and Greenpeace International. “More Troubled Waters: Fishing Pollutions and FOCs.” Major Group Submission for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg (August 2002). International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. (1946). IOTC. Review of Objections Received under Article IX.5 Of The IOTC Agreement, OTC-​ 2019-​S23-​09 [E]. (2019a). https://​​sites/​defa​ult/​files/​docume​nts/​2019/​05/​IOTC-​ 2019-​S23-​09E_​-​_​Revie​w_​of​_​Obj​ecti​ons.pdf. IOTC. Compendium of Active Conservation and Management Measures for The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. Seychelles: IOTC, 2019b. https://​​cmms IUCN. “Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).” 2020. https://​​theme/​enviro​nmen​tal-​law/​our-​work/​oce​ans-​and-​coa​sts/​mar​ine-​biodi​vers​ ity-​areas-​bey​ond-​natio​nal-​juris​dict​ion-​bbnj. Ivashchenko, Yulia V., and Phillip J. Clapham. “Too Much Is Never Enough: The Cautionary Tale of Soviet Illegal Whaling.” Marine Fisheries Review 76, no. 1-​2 (2014): 1–​22. Joseph, J., and J. W. Greenough. International Management of Tuna, Porpoise and Billfish. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979. Lodge, Michael W., David Anderson, Terje Løbach, Gordon Munro, Keith Sainsbury, and Anna Willock. Recommended Best Practices for Regional Fisheries Management Organizations: Report of an Independent Panel to Develop a Model for Improved Governance by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. London: Chatham House, 2007. McWhinnie, Stephanie F. “The Tragedy of the Commons in International Fisheries: An Empirical Examination.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 57, no. 3 (2009): 321–​333. Meltzer, Evelyne. The Quest for Sustainable International Fisheries: Regional Efforts To Implement the 1995 United Nations Fish Stock Agreement. Wallingford: CABI, 2009. Myers, Ransom A., and Boris Worm. “Rapid Worldwide Depletion of Predatory Fish Communities.” Nature 423, no. 6937 (2003): 280–​283. OECD. “Draft Chapter 2—​ Framework for Measures Against IUU Fisheries Activities.” OECD, Fisheries Committee, Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, AGR/​FI/​ IUU(2004)5/​PROV. 2004. https://​​offici​aldo​cume​nts/​publi​cdis​play​docu​ ment​pdf/​?cote=​AGR/​FI/​IUU(2004)5/​PROV&docL​angu​age=​En Pew. “FAQ: What Is a Regional Fishery Management Organization?” February 12, 2012. https://​www.pewtru​​en/​resea​rch-​and-​analy​sis/​fact-​she​ets/​2012/​02/​23/​faq-​what-​is-​ a-​regio​nal-​fish​ery-​man​agem​ent-​organ​izat​ion Putnam, Robert D. “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-​Level Games.” International Organization 42, no. 3 (1988): 427–​460. Schiffman, Howard S. Marine Conservation Agreements: The Law and Policy of Reservations and Vetoes. Leiden: Nijhoff, 2008. Saila, S. B., and V. J. Norton. Tuna: Status, Trends and Alternative Management Arrangements. Paper No. 6 in a series prepared for the Program of International Studies of Fishery Arrangements, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 1974. Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA). 2006. SPRFMO. “Findings and Recommendations of the Review Panel.” The Hague, the Netherlands. July 5, 2013. https://​www.spr​​ass​ets/​Hist​ory/​Russ​ian-​Object​ion-​2013/​Findi​ngs-​and-​ Reco​mmen​dati​ons-​of-​the-​Rev​iew-​Panel-​dated-​5-​July-​2013.pdf SPRFMO. “Findings and Recommendations of the Review Panel.” PCA Case No. 2018-​13. June 5, 2018. https://​www.spr​​ass​ets/​Object​ion/​20180​605-​Rev​iew-​Panel-​Findi​ngs-​and-​ Reco​mmen​dati​ons-​sig​ned.pdf

Comparative International Fisheries Management    183 Swan, Judith. “Fishing Vessels Operating Under Open Registers and the Exercise of Flag State Responsibilities—​Information and Options.” FAO Fisheries Circular No. 980, FITT/​C980. Rome: FAO, 2002. Thompson, A. “The Management of Redfish (Sebastes mentalla) in the North Atlantic Ocean: A Stock in Movement.” FAO, Norway-​FAO Expert Consultation on the Management of Shared Fish Stocks. Bergen, Norway, 7-​10 October 2002. FAO Fisheries Report No. 695, Supplement, 192–​9, Rome: FAO, 2003. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 1982. Urbina, Ian. “A Renegade Trawler, Hunted for 10,000 Miles by Vigilantes.” New York Times July 28, 2015. https://​www.nyti​​2015/​07/​28/​world/​a-​reneg​ade-​traw​ler-​hun​ted-​for-​ 10000-​miles-​by-​vig​ilan​tes.html VanDeveer, Stacy D. “Green Fatigue.” Wilson Quarterly 27, no. 4 (2003): 55–​59. WCPRC. WCPFC VMS Reporting Requirement Guidelines. 2018. https://​​ doc/​tcc-​05/​vms-​report​ing-​requi​reme​nts-​draft-​gui​deli​nes Worm, Boris, Edward B. Barbier, Nicola Beaumont, J. Emmett Duffy, Carl Folke, Benjamin S. Halpern, Jeremy B. C. Jackson et al. “Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services.” Science 314, no. 5800 (2006): 787–​790.

Pa rt I I


Chapter 10

Interpret i v e Method ol o g i e s , Quantitative Met h od s, a nd C om pa rat i v e Environmenta l P ol i t i c s J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees Introduction What do we mean by “comparative environmental politics,” and how should we study it? As the range of entries to this volume makes clear, the phrase can reasonably mean a range of different things. As such, the study of comparative environmental politics asks a number of different kinds of question and therefore calls for a variety of different research methods and methodologies, as the variety of work in this volume also makes clear. Ideally, the questions we want to ask about comparative environmental politics should drive the methods and methodologies we choose. But in practice this is unfortunately not always the case. For a variety of reasons, including narrow epistemological training, sunk costs in methods training, and the replication of existing patterns in research, certain kinds of questions tend to be associated with certain kinds of methods. In particular, quantitative methods tend to be associated with comparative inferential questions while interpretive questions tend to be associated with qualitative methods. In other words, statistics are generally used to do positivist hypothesis-​testing and are likely to be avoided in research designs that aim to understand individual cases. This chapter argues against these associations. It makes the case not only for methodological pluralism, understood as an openness to different ways of going about answering questions of comparative environmental politics, but also methodological creativity, understood as a willingness to use methods where and as appropriate, even when they do not fit into existing patterns seen in published research in the field. Such creativity both allows individual researchers

188    J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees a greater array of tools with which to answer their questions and helps to build communication across different methodological and epistemological communities in environmental and comparative politics. The chapter begins by fleshing out the argument against assumed methodological associations (for a more thorough version of this argument, see Barkin and Sjoberg 2017). It identifies the use of quantitative methods in interpretive research as the biggest lacuna in the methodological playing field of comparative environmental politics (as distinct from what is often called “mixed-​method” research, which is generally inferential in design). The bulk of the chapter then presents two examples of how to use quantitative methods effectively in interpretive research, without embedding those methods in an epistemological positivism with which they are generally associated. These examples illustrate the range of possible uses of quantitative methods in comparative environmental politics research. They use different methods, some quantitative and some not. They use quantitative methods at different stages of the research, one to bracket interpretive case studies and the other to analyze relationships within the case. And one compares across countries while the other focuses on a single country. Both have in common that they use quantitative methods not to test hypotheses across cases but to analyze the complexities of outcomes within cases. The first of these cases, based on dissertation research by Saskia van Wees, looks at the different patterns of environmental performance and environmental foreign policy in India and China in the period 2002–​2012 (van Wees 2020). India during this period talked a great environmental game but performed poorly. China was almost the opposite; it performed relatively well on environmental indexes but tended not to advertise these results. The research begins with a statistical model that isolates the effects of standard explanatory variables such as levels of wealth, state capacity, and external normative pressure. These variables leave policy in middle-​income states underdetermined. van Wees’s argument is that the difference between India and China is state identity, a variable that is not subject to easy quantification. The statistical model, in other words, is used to identify the category of explanation that statistical models are not well placed to analyze. The second case, based on the dissertation research of V. Miranda Chase, looks at efforts by Indigenous and traditional communities in Brazil’s Amazon Basin to oppose the construction of dams that would impact their communities (Chase 2021). The research begins with a legal analysis, looking for sources of leverage by the communities in question against the state. It finds such leverage in Brazil’s international treaty commitments. Interestingly, though, the key source of leverage comes not from the realm of international environmental cooperation, but from international labor law. The research project then goes on to look at how, and how effectively, these communities use such sources of leverage to oppose dams. It does so by doing a social network analysis of relationships among community groups and their outside partners.

Inference, Interpretation, and Method One of the many potential ways of categorizing social science research is as inferential or interpretive, the former including studies that look for explanatory commonalities across cases and latter those that look for explanatory specificities within cases. The difference

Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods    189 between the two categories is more ontological than epistemological; more a question of what we want to study (the commonalities or peculiarities of cases) than of how we should go about studying it. And yet it is the norm, both within political science and to an extent within the social sciences more broadly, to associate this ontological categorization with distinctions of epistemology, methodology, and method (Barkin and Sjoberg 2017). This association results in two modal types of research in political science (Almond 1990; Schwartz-​Shea and Yanow 2002) and in the social sciences more broadly (Abbott 2001). The first type is a statistical model designed to test predefined causal hypotheses by identifying correlations in variables or their proxies. The epistemology in this type is positivist, narrowly understood, and the methods used are quantification and statistical regression. The second modal type of research is the descriptive case study designed to illuminate the specific circumstances (whether institutional, historical, cultural, etc.) that cause or constitute the conditions of possibility of a particular outcome or social condition. The epistemology in this type can range from the analyticist to the reflexive; either way, the methods used tend to be historical narrative, broadly defined (Jackson 2011). There is no good methodological reason that research questions about common causal logics across cases should necessarily involve hypothesis-​testing epistemology and statistical methods while questions about case distinctiveness should necessarily eschew mathematical methods. It is useful in discussing this claim to differentiate between research methods, understood here as specific tools for gathering and analyzing information, and methodology, understood here as the logic explaining how a specific set of methods are appropriate for addressing a given research question. Specific methods for analyzing information, be those methods statistical or narrative, can be used for a variety of methodological purposes. They can be used to describe within cases or to compare across cases. They are inherently biased neither to positivist, philosophically realist, or deconstructive epistemologies. They are tools for manipulating information, wherever that information came from or whatever purposes it is being used for (Barkin and Sjoberg 2017). While there is no good methodological reason that these two modal types predominate in political science research, there are understandable disciplinary reasons why they might do so (Abbott 2001). Scholars are often trained in one tradition or the other and replicate the tradition in which they are trained. The sunk costs of methods training bias scholars toward staying within their tradition, and doing so means that one does not have to justify one’s methodology. Furthermore, being trained within one tradition or the other can bias the way one asks research questions in the first place (Kuhn 1962). Scholars trained in hypothesis-​testing and quantitative models are thus more likely to think in terms of inferential questions, while those trained in, say, area studies are more likely to think in terms of interpretive questions. Research that does not fit into one of these two modal types is often of a kind that attempts to replicate the epistemology and methodology of the inferential statistical model as closely as possible when the data available are not numerous enough to generate statistically significant results or when the hypotheses in question do not suggest quantifiable proxies. There is an extensive literature on how to do this, some of which focuses explicitly on how to replicate the logic of inferential statistical modeling with case studies (King, Keohane, and Verba 1994) and some of which focuses on how to select and design case studies with cross-​case comparison in mind (e.g., Bennett and Elman 2007 and, to a certain extent, George and Bennett 2004). This allows a variety of methods often classified as qualitative,

190    J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees






Statistical hypothesis testing



“Mixed-​methods” and “multimethods” research

Critical theory and area studies

ranging from historiographic to the process analytic, to be brought to bear in the service of hypothesis-​testing. If one were to create a 2 × 2 chart of epistemology and methods, then, with inferential/​ interpretive on one axis and quantitative/​qualitative on the other, one would find three of the resulting four boxes to be well filled. The inferential-​quantitative box is filled with exercises in statistical hypothesis testing that fill so many of the most prestigious journals in the disciplines of political science and international relations. The interpretive-​qualitative box is filled with research ranging from critical theoretical work in international relations to area studies work in comparative politics. The inferential-​qualitative box is supported by a growing body of methodological theory. There is even a disciplinary movement that arrogates the term “mixed-​methods” (sometimes “multimethod”) for research that uses both statistical and narrative case-​study methods for (and only for) inferential theory-​ building (Seawright 2016). But what of the fourth box, encompassing interpretive epistemology and quantitative methods? There is much less published research in political science that would fit in this box than in the other three, and much less literature on how to do this kind of work. This lacuna represents a waste of potential. Many epistemologically interpretivist scholars may associate quantitative methods disciplinarily with the sort of hypothesis-​testing exercises that are the hallmark of positivist research, but there is no good methodological reason for this association. Statistical techniques are methods of describing data. Such descriptions can be used for inferential hypothesis-​testing purposes, as can narrative descriptions. But they can also be used to describe other kinds of relationships in the data, relationships of the sort that interpretive scholars focus on. These uses range from simple descriptive statistics (e.g., Ackerly et al., 2017) to social network analysis (e.g., Hoffmann 2017).

Comparative Environmental Politics and Methodology How does this discussion of methodology relate to comparative environmental politics? Paul Steinberg and Stacy VanDeveer define comparative environmental politics as “the systematic study and comparison of environmental politics in different countries” (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012, p. 5). In deciding what makes a good study, the “litmus test in each case is whether the results speak directly to the interests of those studying other topics and places” (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012, p. 9). The payoff, in other words, is the generalizable

Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods    191 theory rather than the greater understanding of the specific topic and place; that “the hallmark of comparative politics research is that it relates particular empirical instances to broader theories” (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012, p. 9). This argument fits neatly into the inferential tradition in political science. Steinberg and VanDeveer are clearly open to a variety of methods in the pursuit of comparative environmental politics as they define it. In particular, they note the utility of both large-​N statistical modeling and detailed case studies in building theory, which can then be applied to generate more effective environmental policy. They are methodologically pluralist. Epistemologically, however, they are more constrained: a variety of methods and methodologies can be used to generate knowledge about comparative environmental politics, but the purpose of that knowledge is generalizable theories of causality. To be fair, these claims are not actually central to Steinberg and VanDeveer’s core purpose in the volume in question, which is to bring some of the insights of comparative politics, primarily that domestic politics and policy matters, to the study of global environmental politics. Furthermore, they acknowledge that embedded social histories, of the sort that do not lend themselves well to cross-​national comparison, matter as well (and see Sower 2012, in that volume). As such, they are making the case that we should pay more attention to comparison across countries for the purpose of theory-​building to better understand environmental politics, rather than arguing that this is what we should exclusively be doing. Nonetheless, while their definition of the field is explicitly open to a wide range of methods, it shows a bias toward inferential methodologies. This bias can affect the research done in comparative environmental politics in three ways. It can affect the questions that scholars believe they can ask in a disciplinarily legitimate way, limiting them to queries about general theory rather than questions about specific context. It can reinforce barriers between area studies scholars and students of comparative environmental politics. And it can hinder efforts to apply theory by biasing research toward the general case rather than the complications of the specific application. So then, comparative environmental politics should embrace interpretive as well as inferential epistemologies. Perhaps ironically, interpretive methods are more common in the study of international than of comparative environmental politics (e.g., Bernstein 2001, Epstein 2008). But that still leaves it with only three out of the four boxes in the epistemology/​method 2 × 2 table occupied because quantitative methods are no better represented in interpretive work in comparative environmental politics than they are in political science and international relations more broadly. Creating disciplinary space for the fourth box to be filled gives researchers access to more tools with which to understand the structures of domestic environmental politics globally. Talking about how to use quantitative methods in interpretive work in comparative environmental politics is much less straightforward than talking about how to use qualitative methods in inferential work. In the latter case the stated goal is generally to use the methods in a way that replicates to the greatest degree possible the logic of statistical modeling when quantifying data are not available in sufficient quantity to generate useful statistical results. In the former case, however, there is in fact greater scope to use the methods in question creatively, in part because the category of interpretive work encompasses a variety of epistemologies (Jackson 2011; Barkin and Sjoberg 2019). The two empirical examples offered in the next sections of this chapter suggest two different parts of interpretive research designs into which different quantitative methods can

192    J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees fit. The first example, comparing Chinese and Indian environmental postures, begins with a standard inferential hypothesis-​testing regression model but uses this model methodologically not to test when the hypotheses work, but to identify their limits. It then develops interpretive case studies to show how case-​specific identities explain what generalized theory cannot. The second example, of Indigenous opposition to dams in the Brazilian Amazon, uses as its quantitative method social network analysis rather than regression analysis. It also uses the method at the other end of the research design: rather than using qualitative analysis to identify the limits of quantification, it uses it to describe a set of relationships within a broader interpretive case.

China, India, and Compliance with Global Environmental Norms The key empirical puzzle motivating the first of these examples is the difference between what might be called China’s and India’s environmental postures between 2002 and 2012 (the discussion in this section is adapted from van Wees 2020). During this period China performed significantly better on indexes designed to measure environmental performance. Yet India was much more active than China in advertising its role in multilateral environmental cooperation and leveraging that role for international political purposes. Both countries have large, middle-​income economies, and both can be thought of as regional superpowers. Why the difference? A key part of the answer is state identity, understood in this context as the dominant narratives that a state’s governing elite has at any given moment regarding the state’s historical roots, purpose, and, most importantly, social and governing structures. Identity understood in this way is key to understanding decision-​making and norm compliance (or lack thereof), as well as states’ calculations about their international position relative to both rivals and allies. Evidence concerning the narratives that constitute state identity can be found in sources such as official government texts, ranging from press releases by government leaders to negotiating instructions of foreign offices. Evidence can also be found in interviews with government officials (where feasible) and articles from national news sources. The results of a narrative analysis of India’s foreign policy identity with respect to global environmental politics during this period indicate that the Indian government pushed a narrative in which India was a leader of the developing world and a good multilateralist citizen. It trumpeted its participation in multilateral environmental fora and lobbied to host multilateral environmental events. It made a point of meeting (or of claiming to meet) its environmental treaty commitments. When negotiating such commitments, it claimed to act not only in its national interest or for the global public good, but in the interests of developing countries as a group against developed country dominance of multinational negotiations and international environmental norms. Whether public adherence to these norms improved India’s environmental performance (however measured) during this period is unclear; its performance was in any case notably poor. But India’s identity as a good multilateralist and leader of the developing world, committed to reforming the system from

Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods    193 within rather than fundamentally changing it, clearly informed its public relationship with these norms. China’s identity was quite different. China’s domestic environmental performance improved notably between 2002 and 2012, primarily for domestic political reasons rather than because of international environmental norms. Unlike India, though, the Chinese government did not trumpet this improvement as reflecting norms or multilateral commitments. It could have attempted to leverage its environmental performance diplomatically; for the most part, however, it did not. It participated in multilateral environmental negotiations and often joined the resulting treaties, but it neither expressed the sort of commitment India made to leadership of developing countries as a whole in these fora, nor acted as if supporting the multilateral environmental system itself was a diplomatic priority. For China, the goal was competition with the United States rather than leadership of a developing country block. Thus, whereas for India to claim conformity with the existing international environmental norms structure while moving that structure in a more developing-​world-​friendly direction showed leadership, for China to do so would show acquiescence to US leadership. The methodologically tricky aspect of this argument is that identity-​based explanations of differences between two (or more) cases can run into a number of potential issues. How do we know that it is really identity that is causing the difference in outcomes rather than any number of other theoretically grounded (and more easily measured) variables? On what basis do we compare identities across actors when they are not meaningfully quantifiable or even directly comparable on congruent axes? How do we separate identities from actions? The standard template for what has come to be referred to in political science as “mixed-​ methods” is to use a two-​stage research design, in which the first stage is a statistical model designed to establish correlation among a set of variables hypothesized to be causally related, and then to use case study (usually process-​tracing) methods to provide an example or examples of causal process (e.g., Berg-​Schlosser 2012). This design brings the whole methodology within an inferential epistemology; the qualitative case is intended as an example (or plausibility probe) of a causal process expected to be repeated in other cases within a general category specified by the statistical model. But this research design does not quite work with identity as a causal variable because identity is not a binary or linear variable; it does not work the same way across cases within a class. This means that isolating it as a variable in the statistical model is problematic. One solution to this problem is to use a two-​stage research design with a statistical model as the first stage and case studies in the second, but to leave the key causal variable of interest out of the model. Identity itself cannot be effectively tested in a regression model because it does not vary quantitatively. It is not a question of how much identity states have, but a question of what kind; a qualitative rather than quantitative question. The model then functions not to estimate the correlation between identity and environmental foreign policy, but to identify the space in which identity might drive policy. It identifies the characteristics of countries where identity has the most space to make a difference to foreign environmental policy. This is a use of a two-​stage research design incorporating both statistical models and case studies that is epistemologically interpretive rather than inferential. The statistical model in this case focused on four explanatory variables commonly found in the literatures on global environmental politics and international norm compliance. The first is the idea of the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC), which suggests that poor and

194    J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees rich countries will pollute the least (poor countries because they do not generate sufficient economic activity to pollute much, rich countries because they can afford to mitigate their pollution), while middle-​income countries will pollute most. The second is state regulatory capacity, which is measured by two different proxies. The third is openness to pressure from below, measured as freedom of the press and levels of NGO activity. The fourth is pressure from the international community and international civil society, building on the international norms literature on naming and shaming. The results of the quantitative analysis suggest that the EKC has the largest effect on environmental performance and that state capacity also has significant effects. Neither pressure from below nor pressure from the international community, however, have clear effects on environmental performance (once levels of per capita wealth are controlled for). This is in itself a useful finding in comparative environmental politics. A division of countries into different levels of wealth, though, shows that rich and poor countries have lower variation in environmental performance than middle-​income countries, particularly upper-​ middle-​income countries. In other words, for countries at the rich and poor ends of the scale state identity has less scope to make a difference to environmental performance than for middle-​income countries. This means that it is for middle-​income countries that studies of individual state environmental identity are most likely to yield explanations of different environmental policy behavior. This is where the case studies of China and India fit into the methodology. Rather than the process-​tracing case studies that are the second part of the standard “mixed-​methods” template, these studies are discourse-​analytic. They are designed to get at what the two respective governments say with respect to the relationship between their domestic and foreign environmental policies, how they justify their actions, and who their audiences are. They are designed to be parallel in terms of method and case structure. But, unlike comparative case studies in the inferential mold, they are not designed to highlight parallel causal structures. They are designed to focus on what is unique about each identity, not what identities have in common or whether they are in some way parallel in structure or content. The case studies therefore show how identity informs policy in each case, but not how identity tends to inform policy in the general case. Phrased differently, the cases allow us to identify differences in identity between China and India and how these differences are implicated in different foreign environmental policies, but they do not allow us to infer anything about the relevant aspects of identity in third countries. What they do allow us to do is understand better where the foreign environmental policies of China and India are coming from, how they relate to domestic environmental policy in the eyes of national leaders, and how best to engage them in multilateral environmental cooperation.

Indigenous Resistance to Dams in Brazil The question underlying the second example in this chapter is whether or not international organizations or multilateral legal instruments make any difference to efforts by Indigenous and traditional communities in the Brazilian Amazon to combat large-​scale dam construction in their traditional territories (the discussion in this section is adapted from Chase 2021, except where noted). An obvious first place to look for an answer to this question is

Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods    195 the final report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD), which contains a comprehensive set of guidelines for dam-​building, including guidelines about relations with and participation of Indigenous peoples (World Commission on Dams 2000). But the WCD was a nongovernmental body and its report is non-​binding. There is little evidence that it has any impact on either decision-​making by the Brazilian government or the effectiveness of claims made by the communities in question. Given the apparent functional irrelevance of the WCD report, there are at least three methods with which one could continue to pursue the question. A top-​down method would involve making a list of international organizations and instruments that seem germane to the question of dams. One could then work one’s way down that list one at a time until one finds something that makes a difference. One could systematically review a set of documents, whether generated by government decision-​makers or organizations representing Indigenous communities, and see which organizations or instruments are discussed. Or one could talk to representatives of those organizations and see what inputs from the multilateral world they are using. The last of these three methods yielded surprising results, surprising enough that they might have been missed by an attempt to comprehensively review international environmental instruments relevant to dam construction, because the instrument of note is not an international environmental instrument. The international instrument that turns out to be the most important legal tool for Brazilian Indigenous and traditional communities fighting large-​scale dam construction is a treaty negotiated under the auspices of the International Labour Organization, the 1989 Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention (International Labour Organization 1989). This treaty, of which Brazil is a signatory, includes the principle of free, prior, and informed consultation (FPIC) of Indigenous communities that will be materially affected by development of natural resources on their lands and of prior informed consent for their removal from such lands (on FPIC more broadly, see Barelli 2012 and Bartley in this volume). These principles are not particularly well fleshed out in the Convention but are nonetheless legally binding commitments by the Brazilian state. And yet, as a relatively small part of a treaty that is not the obvious place to look as a source of environmental rights and processes, the principles were at first easy for the Brazilian government to ignore and for anti-​dam activists to miss. In practice, knowledge of and willingness to claim rights of prior informed consultation diffused slowly among activist groups. Roughly a decade after Brazil ratified the Convention, Indigenous and traditional communities affected by dam (and other development) projects in the Brazilian Amazon Basin began developing their own consultation protocols and demanding that these be used rather than processes that the government had developed (and largely ignored). The combination of the legal right to consultation enshrined in international law and community-​driven consultation protocols has by no means been a panacea for activists, but it does provide them with a useful legal and normative tool in pursuing the rights of Indigenous and traditional communities in these disputes (Chase 2019). Why and how did this particular norm of FPIC diffuse through the collection of actors involved in making and disputing decisions about dam construction in Brazil? This question is relevant not only to students of Brazilian environmental and Indigenous politics, but also to students of norm diffusion in international relations and comparative politics more generally. In particular, there is a debate about whether international norms are most likely to diffuse from the top down (i.e., from powerful states and international organizations), from

196    J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees the bottom up, or via nongovernmental international networks. This case, therefore, speaks to broader debates in comparative politics, international relations, and beyond. How then to address the question of how the norm of consultation diffused in this particular case to the point where it is now broadly accepted not only among Indigenous groups, but among government planners as well? As phrased, this is a question about network structure because it asks about the connections among participants through which norms travel. This makes it a good candidate for a set of methods collectively called social network analysis (SNA) (Hafner-​Burton, Kahler, and Montgomery 2009; Borgatti, Everett, and Johnson 2013; Hoffmann 2017). These are tools for mapping and analyzing the patterns of connections among a set of actors, understood either as individuals or organizations. SNA is generally thought of as a set of quantitative tools both because the data need to be quantified prior to analysis and because statistical techniques can be brought to bear on network maps to show network characteristics that are not visually obvious. One thing SNA does well is measure the centrality of actors to networks, the extent to which they are positioned to facilitate connections across the network. What SNA shows in this case is that the debate about how international norms diffuse is, to an important extent, asking the wrong question. Individual examples of the creation of consultation protocols generally involve a variety of different kinds of actors, including Indigenous and traditional associations, national and international NGOs, media organizations, universities, and governmental organizations (although not all kinds are involved in all cases). Some of these organizations are more heavily connected, and are more central to the network of organizations involved in dam protests, than others. A surprising finding is that it is not just one kind of organization that tends to be central. The most central organizations include a variety of kinds, including Indigenous associations and grassroots organizations, universities, international foundations, and even Brazilian government organizations. It is not one kind of organization that is most likely to be key in the transmission of norms; rather, it is the position of the organization within the network. Organizations of whatever kind that are most centrally connected within the broad movement of resistance to dams are the greatest norm diffusers. This analysis can be read as a case study in support of a broader inferential test of theories of norm diffusion and localization (e.g., Keck and Sikkink 1998; Acharya 2009; Kauffman 2016) or as part of an interpretive analysis of Brazilian environmental and Indigenous politics more specifically. The methodology fits either epistemology. For the purposes of this chapter, the important thing to point out about the methodology is that even if the study is used as part of a broader inferential test, the SNA itself is being used in a descriptive rather than inferential way. Whereas the standard “mixed-​method” template begins with a statistical model to identify correlation and then undertakes narrative case studies to show causal process, the methodology in this example begins with a qualitative process of identifying key variables and then undertakes statistical modeling to help show causal process.

Methodology, Methods, and Pluralism What these two examples show, then, is that quantitative methods can be used in research in comparative environmental politics in ways other than traditional positivist inferential

Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods    197 modeling and can be combined with narrative methods in more ways than suggested by much of the recent “mixed-​methods” literature. There are, in other words, many ways, ranging from the straightforward use of descriptive statistics to more innovative methods and methodological forms, to fill in the fourth box of the epistemology/​methods chart discussed earlier in this chapter. A key part of this argument is the claim that neither methods nor epistemology dictate the other. “Method,” as used here, refers to specific techniques for acquiring, analyzing, or modeling information. A specific kind of regression analysis or process-​tracing or discourse analysis is a method. “Methodology” refers to the way in which methods are put together to answer a question in the context of a specific research project. Methods are thus transitive across research projects; the technical requirements of a good regression or a good discourse analysis are consistent across cases. But methodologies are specific to research projects; since a methodology is a way of answering a specific question, there is no reason to expect it to be transitive across questions. Methodology is therefore directly connected to both method and epistemology. It is connected to method in that any particular methodology needs to tell a convincing story about why its component methods answer the research question. It is connected to epistemology in that the story needs to fit within the rules of the epistemology of what constitutes acceptable evidence. This does not mean, however, that method and epistemology need directly constrain each other. The “mixed-​methods” literature argues in favor of methodological creativity in using a variety of nonquantitative methods to help answer epistemologically inferential questions. The same logic argues in favor of methodological creativity in using quantitative methods to answer interpretive questions. The two methodologies discussed in this chapter are examples of using different kinds of quantitative methods in different ways to help answer specific research questions. Both questions as asked are interpretative, but both methodologies could also contribute to related inferential questions. Nor are they intended by any means to be examples of modal or ideal types for this sort of research. The differences between the two methodologies are meant to indicate the potential range of quantitative methods that can be deployed in interpretive research into comparative environmental politics and of places and ways within methodologies that they can be used effectively. This should by no means be taken as an argument that quantitative methods should always, usually, or even often be used in research in comparative environmental politics in general, or in interpretive research in the field specifically. Rather, it is an argument for methodological pluralism. Start with a research question and figure out what methods might be useful in answering that question, whether or not those are the methods other scholars asking similar questions are using, whether or not they are the methods in which the researcher has been trained. It is an argument for reflectivity, about our training, about our assumptions about what constitutes good research, and about our assumptions about what kinds of method are supposed to be paired with what kinds of question. And, finally, it is an argument for methodological creativity, and perhaps even for methodological adventurousness. As Steinberg and VanDeveer argue in their call for more research into comparative environmental politics, there are many insights that we can usefully bring into the study of environmental politics from the comparative politics tradition. Methodological dogmatism is not one of those things.

198    J. Samuel Barkin, V. Miranda Chase, and Saskia van Wees

References Abbott, Andrew. Chaos of Disciplines. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. Acharya, Amitav. Whose Ideas Matter? Agency and Power in Asian Regionalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009. Ackerly, Brooke, with José Miguel Cruz, Anna Carella, and Bishawjit Mallick. “Measuring Critical Theories of Human Rights.” In Interpretive Quantification, edited by J. Samuel Barkin and Laura Sjoberg, 29–​50. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017. Almond, Gabriel. A Discipline Divided: Schools and Sects in Political Science. Sage, 1990. Barkin, J. Samuel and Laura Sjoberg, eds. Interpretive Quantification: Methodological Explorations for Critical and Constructivist IR. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017. Barkin, J. Samuel and Laura Sjoberg. International Relations’ Last Synthesis? Decoupling Constructivist and Critical Approaches. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. Barelli, Mauro. “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in the Aftermath of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Developments and Challenges Ahead.” International Journal of Human Rights 16 (2012): 1–​24. Bennett, Andrew and Colin Elman. “Case Study Methods in the International Relations Subfield.” Comparative Political Studies 40 (2007): 170–​195. Berg-​Schlosser, Dirk. Mixed Methods in Comparative Politics: Principles and Applications. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Bernstein, Steven. The Compromise of Liberal Environmentalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. Borgatti, Stephen, Martin Everett, and Jeffrey Johnson. Analyzing Social Networks. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2013. Chase, V. Miranda. “The Changing Face of Environmental Governance in the Brazilian Amazon: Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Promoting Norm Diffusion.” Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional 62 (2019): 1–​20. Chase, V. Miranda. Damming Sustainability: How environmental social movements influence policymakers regarding the construction and management of dams in the Brazilian Amazon. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, 2021. Epstein, Charlotte. The Power of Words in International Relations: Birth of an Anti-​Whaling Discourse. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. George, Alexander and Andrew Bennett. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. Hafner-​Burton, Emilie, Miles Kahler, and Alexander Montgomery. “Network Analysis for International Relations.” International Organization 63 (2009): 559–​592. Hoffmann, Matthew. “Exploring Constitution and Social Construction through Network Analysis.” In Interpretive Quantification, edited by J. Samuel Barkin and Laura Sjoberg, 72–​ 94. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017. International Labour Organization. Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169). 1989. https://​​dyn/​norm​lex/​en/​f ?p=​NOR​MLEX​PUB:12100:0::NO::P121​00_​I​LO_​ C​ODE:C169 Jackson, Patrick Thaddeus. The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and Its Implications for the Study of World Politics. New York: Routledge, 2011. Kauffman, Craig. Grassroots Global Governance: Local Watershed Management Experiments and the Evolution of Sustainable Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Interpretive Methodologies, Quantitative Methods    199 Keck, Margaret, and Kathryn Sikkink. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998. King, Gary, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994. Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962. Schwartz-​Shea, Peregrine, and Dvora Yanow. “ ‘Reading’ ‘Methods’ ‘Texts’: How Research Methods Texts Construct Politics Science.” Political Research Quarterly 55 (2002): 457–​486. Seawright, Jason. Multi-​method Social Science: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Sower, Jeannie. “Institutional Change in Authoritarian Regimes: Water and the State in Egypt.” In Comparative Environmental Politics: Theory, Practice, and Prospects, edited by Paul Steinberg and Stacy VanDeveer, 231–​254. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. Steinberg, Paul, and Stacy VanDeveer. Comparative Environmental Politics: Theory, Practice, and Prospects. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. van Wees, Saskia. Status Seeking and Shades of Compliance with Global Environmental Norms: The Cases of China and India. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Florida, 2020. World Commission on Dams. Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-​ Making. London: Earthscan, 2000.

Chapter 11

Ethno g ra ph y in C omparat i v e Environmenta l P ol i t i c s Insights from the Water and Waste Fields Raul Pacheco-​V ega Comparative ethnography, understood as the research method that uses the comparative method to design projects that use ethnographic fieldwork to understand variation across cases (Schnegg and Lowe 2020) has enormous potential to help us understand comparative environmental political (CEP) issues. For example, we could examine how different communities adapt to rapid environmental change and abrupt climatic events (Burch 2010) and whether or not cities have designed proper adaptative climate policies (Vogel and Henstra 2015). We could use comparative ethnography to study how different cities’ urban water policies evolved through time (Herrera 2017a) and to better understand the politics of water governance across countries, for example, the particular cases of Brazil (Abers and Keck 2013) and Mexico (Herrera 2017b). Ethnographic fieldwork helps us understand how communities in Amazonia are able to counter governmental pressure and improve their governance systems (Kawa 2016) and discern how the politics of waste governance is driven by multiple, conflicting forces, whether in Boston or Seattle (Baum Pollans 2021) or New York City (Nagle 2014). Ethnography, understood as the systematic observation of populations with the intention of learning about the cultural inner workings of a societal group, is part of a larger suite of qualitative methods available to researchers in CEP. Ethnography has substantive value and is important and deserving of attention in CEP because it helps us better understand how individuals and communities govern (or mismanage) resources. While quantitative-​ focused methods (see, e.g., Barkin et al., this volume) could be used to understand patterns of environmental behavior, ethnography offers multiple avenues to help us discern the specific mechanisms of resource usage. Ethnography can also help us make the politics of the environment visible and explain how actors exert power to gain control over resources within specific contexts. Ethnography is not just fieldwork, though spending an extended time on the field is a prerequisite. Ethnography and comparative ethnography both focus on understanding culture within specific communities.

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    201 Culture is an elusive concept and certainly a hotly contested one. For the purposes of this chapter, I define culture as the set of patterns, norms, rules, and customs that permeate a society or group. Whether culture is an important category of study in comparative politics is an important question. I argue that understanding culture through ethnographic fieldwork is valuable because it enables us to understand the intricacies of power differentials, conflict and contestation regarding resource usage, mismanagement, and appropriation. Understanding how different communities appropriate, manage (or mismanage), and waste resources is a critical topic for scholars of CEP, and, in this chapter, I offer a couple of vignettes drawn from my own research that will help shed light on the value of ethnography and studies of culture in CEP. These patterns could not be better understood through other more quantitative approaches. Undertaking ethnography in different countries allows scholars to compare diverse approaches to conservation, environmental policy-​making, resource management, and governance strategies for a broad range of issues. This chapter offers a few suggestions on how to engage in comparative ethnography focused on environmental politics and describes how I have applied this approach to the study of the comparative politics of water and waste governance. Even though ethnography has commonly been used in a broad range of settings and disciplinary contexts, ethnography has regained popularity in political science, particularly from a comparative perspective. We can see value in showcasing the inner workings of a socially relevant research strategy based on qualitative methods for resource and environmental management. Moreover, methodologically speaking, doing comparative ethnography that is ethical, theoretically robust, and informed by the politics of local governance arrangements is extremely important to improve our understanding of CEP. This chapter showcases the application of a comparative ethnographic research strategy that pays attention to the potential vulnerabilities of the target populations, inspired by the doubly engaged ethnography concept (Pacheco-​Vega and Parizeau 2018). “Doubly engaged ethnography” refers to ethnography that is deeply committed to the community under study and to the scientific advancement of knowledge. It would be easy to say that all ethnography is or should be doubly engaged. However, in the Pacheco-​Vega and Parizeau model, the double engagement comes from the design and implementation of the method, that is, from the conceptualization and set of decisions made to engage in the process of investigation. Here, I propose that we use comparative ethnography informed by a logic and ethical framework of care, kindness, and respect for the communities under analysis to study CEP issues. This chapter draws on my research on bottled water consumption and informal waste picking to show how a doubly engaged comparative ethnography has the potential to yield robust insights into the CEP of resource governance. I show how CEP as a field can benefit from using doubly engaged comparative ethnography as a methodological framework by focusing on the study of unorthodox commons by vulnerable populations. I draw from my research to offer reflections on how a comparative ethnographic approach can be applied and how I have considered the questions posited in the conceptual model to think through the challenges of engaging with communities across different countries in a way that is both empirically robust and respectful of the populations being studied. In doing so, I follow Steinberg and VanDeveer’s suggestion that a doubly engaged social science approach could be valuable and useful for the study of CEP (Steinberg and VanDeveer 2012). The chapter is structured as follows. Following this brief introduction, I describe the theoretical, philosophical, and empirical underpinnings of ethnography and draw on examples

202   Raul Pacheco-Vega from CEP research. The chapter’s third section draws on my research on the governance of bottled water and the comparative politics of informal waste picking at the cross-​national and subnational levels to make explicit how doubly engaged ethnography helps us develop a methodological strategy that improves marginalized and vulnerable populations all the while helping us advance theoretically and empirically in the CEP field. I share some tenets of doubly engaged ethnography and how it inspired my work. I describe the potential rewards, risks, challenges, and opportunities of using ethnography as a method for the study of vulnerable communities and as a strategy to understand cultures embedded in potentially hazardous contexts, both for the researcher and for the populations of interest. I conclude in the fourth section by explaining the potential gains of using ethnography in the CEP context and the challenges of implementing such an approach. I describe the beginnings of a research agenda for CEP scholarship that could potentially use doubly engaged ethnography to compare across cases, time periods, and scales.

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics Ethnography has been around for almost 150 years, and ethnographers have engaged in comparison for decades, even if it hasn’t always been explicit (Small 2009). Anthropology is inherently comparative (Gingrich and Fox 2002), though ethnography is frequently perceived as comparative only when it is multisited (Marcus 1995). Simmons and Smith’s (2019) “comparative ethnography in political science,” sociologists Abramson and Gong (2020), and anthropologists Schnegg and Lowe (2020) brought renewed interest in the method. Ethnographies usually require spending a substantial amount of time in the location of interest, embedded within the community whose culture we are seeking to understand. This understanding of culture also helps us unveil the complex intricacies of the politics of resource management. For example, to study issues of environmental justice in the water field, Hoover embedded herself within Akwesasne, a Mohawk community that shares territory within the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec and New York State, with the goal of understanding and showcasing how the Akwesasne was able to confront the political forces that created hazardous conditions for their survival, given the pollution that was prevalent in the river that went through their territory (Hoover 2017). She was able to engage the local Indigenous communities through her own lived experience but also by using extensive, long-​term fieldwork. To understand how sanitation workers experienced the life of an informal waste picker, Reno engaged in a long-​term ethnography of a landfill in the United States that gave him the opportunity to explore and highlight the inner politics of waste disposal and how governmental actors could enable or preclude informal waste pickers from extracting municipal refuse and make a living out of it (Reno 2016). Using an innovative approach where two authors conducted ethnography using the same research materials and embedding themselves in the same communities in the Mexican Isthmus of Tehuantepec over a 4-​year period (2009–​2013), developing what they call a “duograph,” Howe and Boyer are able to examine the political and ecological elements of wind power

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    203 development in Southern Mexico (Boyer 2019; Howe 2019). These are just three examples of how ethnography has enormous potential to help us understand comparative environmental political issues.

What Is Ethnography? One of the most interesting questions in the qualitative methods field is the sempiternal inquiry regarding the nature of ethnography as method, as a process, and as practice. Though often cited as the practice of anthropology, it is mostly understood as the study of culture through fieldwork (Clair 2003; Clifford and Marcus 1986; Fayard and Van Maanen 2015; Willis and Trondman 2000). Ethnography can be understood as a qualitative research method that employs fieldwork to understand culture within a community (van Maanen 2011; Smith 2014; Snow et al. 2003). Usually, ethnographic fieldwork is undertaken over an extended period. But debates remain on what fieldwork entails, how we define culture, and to what extent the temporal dimension is relevant. For some authors, “[e]‌thnography is the disciplined and deliberate witness-​cum-​recording of human events” (Willis and Trondman 2000, p. 394). Others consider that it is “a way of writing about and analyzing social life which has roots in both the sciences and the humanities” (Watson 2011, p. 202). While ethnography itself is derived from and most frequently associated with anthropology, other scholars become ethnographers without formal training in anthropology. The field of human geography also privileges ethnography. My own training in political science and human geography included qualitative methods courses, some of which I took in a school of nursing, others in the school of social work, and, finally, a few others within my own academic departments (political science, environmental studies, and human geography). One of the characteristics that makes ethnography unique is a general, explicit understanding of what doing ethnographic work entails. At the same time, that meaning can also be implicit and tacit. Observing members of a particular community within a specific, well-​delimited field over an extended period could be what most scholars who have familiarized themselves with qualitative methods would understand. Given the enormous value of deeply engaging with a local community to understand culture, norms, customs, rules, and institutions, it would follow that fieldwork itself, and ethnography as a systematic approach to engaging in long-​term fieldwork, would help unveil the intricacies of local environmental politics across multiple cases. For example, in her book on Mexican urban water governance, Veronica Herrera explains the inner workings of local water boards across six cities (Herrera 2017b). Systematically examining board composition, activist involvement, and governmental pressures, Herrera showcases how each local context is relevant to the politics of citizen participation. Her field research harnessed 18 months of fieldwork in six cities over four years, where she was deeply embedded in the communities in which she conducted research. Her fluency in the Spanish language was an asset, as was training in qualitative methods. “Ethnography” has become a commonly overused term for a number of anthropologists (Ingold 2014), though definitions still escape researchers from other fields (Hammersley 2017). Debates around what ethnography does and does not usually entail center around the multiple meanings and understandings that scholars give to ethnography. At the core, ethnography is about culture, much in the way that anthropology is the study of culture. One

204   Raul Pacheco-Vega could say that anthropology is the discipline and ethnography is the method. Nevertheless, a few sociologists also claim ethnography as theirs, though others recognize it as a method that is borrowed from their sister discipline (Ladner 2014; Venkatesh 2013).

What Are the Key Elements of Ethnography? I identify four common elements in ethnography: (1) fieldwork, (2) observation, (3) understanding of culture, and (4) temporality. The fifth element, implicit and inherent to discussions of ethnography, is (5) ethics. All these elements are present in CEP in one form or another, but discussing them within the definition of ethnography allows me to emphasize their importance for CEP. It is important to note that not all fieldwork is ethnographic and that ethnography involves a certain degree of long-​term engagement as well as an interest in cultural norms. Fieldwork is a key component of ethnography as it is the work of researchers who venture into the world and attempt to comprehend and understand it “from the inside.” Fieldwork and observation go hand in hand because site choice, locational decision, and options for community under study are all elements that ethnographers need to consider. Where should I undertake fieldwork that enables me to observe the phenomenon I am looking to understand? How can I enter a specific community and travel to a particular site for observation that offers safety for me as researcher and for the community I seek to understand? Fieldwork is a key component in CEP as it allows researchers to understand the socio-​environmental contexts which they seek to study. In her study of Egyptian environmental politics, Sowers undertook extensive fieldwork from the 1990s through 2011 to understand the role of experts and activists in industrial pollution, conservation, and irrigation water management policies. This extensive fieldwork opened up opportunities for the author to understand the realities of each sectoral policy and how different actors engaged in activism across multiple issue areas (Sowers 2014). Long-​term engagement in fieldwork is particularly fruitful in the comparative study of environmental activism, as the work of Hochstetler in Brazil (Hochstetler 2002); Pacheco-​Vega in Canada, the United States, and Mexico (Pacheco-​Vega 2015b); and Sowers in Egypt all have shown. Observation (more specifically, participant observation) is the second key element of ethnographic research. The production of knowledge derived from observing our world through the lenses of each individual researcher is important and often understated. Understanding the culture of a community requires us to observe intimate elements of groups and the multiple contexts within which they operate. Participant observation has the potential to be “revolutionary praxis because it forces us to question our theoretical presuppositions about the world, produce knowledge that is new, was confined to the margins, or was silenced” (Shah 2017, p. 45). Understanding of culture is the third element, an unavoidable prerequisite in any ethnography. We do ethnography because we are interested in understanding the culture of a community, a group of individuals. Language and cultural fluency are fundamental to facilitate communication with interviewees and to function within the community. While it is possible to conduct interviews using a translator, it is fundamental for the researcher to be fluent in the language of the community. While I do not argue that full fluency is necessary

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    205 before entering the field, acquiring it over the course of the fieldwork would benefit the researcher and the community as trust can be built more easily through communicating in a shared language (Gibb and Iglesias 2017). Obviously, there are additional requirements to robust ethnographic fieldwork than just language fluency to gain a deep understanding of the culture. I argue that long-​term fieldwork does help understand the culture. As an example, Weinthal studied rapid regional environmental cooperation in Central Asian new states (in the Aral Basin) where her fieldwork allowed her to bridge local and international environmental politics through a deep understanding of local cultures and international organizations’ behavior (Weinthal 2002). This cross-​scalar dynamics is often obscured, but lately has taken a more central place in the literature on methods in global environmental governance (O’Neill et al. 2013). Temporality takes a place as the fourth element in the framework that I use to understand and define ethnography, although it is just as important as the other ones. Ethnographic fieldwork is usually perceived as valid whenever the researcher spends an extended period within the community of interest. However, this should not be a determinant of whether ethnography is well done or not. Rapid ethnographic assessments (RAEs) are quick engagements with the local community that can yield just about the same degree of intimate knowledge and understanding as long-​term ethnography. How long are we required to be in the field for our ethnographic work to be considered legitimate and rigorous? Can we enter the field and remain within its confines for a short period of time, and will our insights be compromised, or will they be considered suspect because of the short duration of the fieldwork? These are important questions around temporality. But, even more importantly, temporality is relevant because the way in which we examine, investigate, and comprehend a community will change over time. Therefore, sometimes doing an ethnography in say, 2013, will not look the same as in 2019. Longitudinal ethnography—​that is, ethnographic engagement with the community under study over a long period of time undertaking extensive and intensive fieldwork—​can yield numerous benefits for scholars of CEP. As just one example, Kidwell’s mapping of religious environmental groups is the result of 5 years of fieldwork following British Christian religious movements with an environmental focus (Kidwell 2020). Margaret Keck’s understanding of Brazilian environmental politics has been the result of extensive, long-​term, engaged fieldwork in the country (Abers and Keck 2006, 2013; Keck 1995). Ethics is the fifth element that characterizes ethnography. Discussions around the ethics of ethnography have usually focused on the compromises that researchers need to take when undertaking fieldwork (Cassell 1980; Fetterman 1986; Fine 1994; Iphofen 2011; Li 2015). Important issues that need to be considered in any research design that purports to engage in the study of a community or group for an extended period not only relate to execution of the study on the field but also to the ethical decision-​making involved in deciding which communities and/​or groups (or individuals) are the object/​subject of our studies. As indicated by Corson and co-​authors, “ethnographic case studies offer windows into constitutive processes” (Corson et al. 2014). While their work examines a particular form of ethnographic engagement, collaborative event ethnography (CEE), and applies it to research that focuses on processes within specific international environmental meetings, CEE still requires a profound examination of the ethical considerations of who we are studying and whether their positionality is aligned at the same level or not. Some ethnographies can study elite environmental actors (such as governmental leaders or well-​positioned activists), and

206   Raul Pacheco-Vega others can focus on marginalized communities facing environmental injustices. Therefore, it is important to engage in very careful ethical considerations. All five elements are interconnected and dependent on one another, and all are relevant for CEP. For every research project we design and implement, we must engage in self-​ reflection to try to discern the ethical challenges that undertaking these investigations will posit and the potential risks and dangers for the community and even for the research. The observational component will be present regardless of whether the field is the Internet or a physical space. Recent innovations in the application of ethnography to CEP include the study of international environmental negotiations as sites of research (O’Neill and Haas 2019) and CEE for the study of global environmental politics (Campbell et al. 2014). These specific applications of ethnography involve multiple researchers spending intense, yet short periods of time, sustained over a longer period. In particular, the work of Marion Suiseeya, Hagerman, et al. at the Conferences of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity offer extremely interesting insights. These approaches, like RAEs, help position researchers well for continued engagement that helps us understand the dynamics of international environmental negotiations beyond case studies. Multisited ethnographies across the globe and ethnographic assessments of global environmental negotiations are entirely different and require methodological refinements that differ from those that are specific to comparative ethnography. For example, when Simpson conducted fieldwork for his study on energy, governance, and security in Thailand and Myanmar, his approach was to engage in comparative ethnography across two different countries quasi-​simultaneously (but still in sequence) in order to better understand activist strategies toward gas projects (Simpson 2014). Ethnographic studies of international climate negotiations, for example, can be conducted at the same time as there are multiple researchers who can observe the same negotiation table simultaneously. The kinds of environmental problems and damages that we might be interested in understanding may pose risks for fieldwork engagement, for a broad variety of reasons: researchers’ health, communities’ well-​being, and the safety of both. As several chapters of this Handbook suggest, linkages between ethics, environmental justice, environmental health, and risk are many (e.g., see Fuentes-​George, Marion Suiseeya, Kashwan, and Sultana, in this volume), and, in this chapter, I want to highlight the importance of undertaking ethnographic work for CEP that can reveal potential environmental inequities as well as the multiple ways in which environmental risk can be present across different cases. There are various types of risks and challenges of ethnographic research (for the researcher and for the populations of interest) in any comparative ethnography, regardless of whether it includes more than one case. Ethics is a core consideration of fieldwork, not only from the perspective of the community but also of the researcher. Which issues and communities are we interested in, and should we be allowed to enter these groups’ locations? What we may see as an issue worthy of ethnographic fieldwork-​based research may not be ethically sound to study. Doing fieldwork in “Cancer Alley,” in Louisiana (USA), Thom Davies explored the slow violence that toxic emissions associated with petrochemical infrastructure might have posited for residents of the communities around Cancer Alley

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    207 (Davies 2019). In undertaking this kind of research, Davies faced risk to his own health, which is also an important consideration. Table 11.1 presents a simple layout that describes a few research considerations for scholars to think about when engaging in comparative ethnography for CEP and suggests a few questions that researchers can and may want to ask themselves during the research design stage. Table 11.1 Relevant research considerations that should inform comparative

ethnography approaches in comparative environmental politics framework Component


Questions to ask


The position that the researcher has with respect to their community of interest

Where are the power imbalances, and are those equally distributed across different communities under study?


The reflection process that a researcher undertakes to examine their positionality with regards to subjects and/​or research topic

How does my position affect the design and outcomes of my research project, and how does it affect those I am interested in understanding?

Insider-​outsider representation (engagement)

The degree to which the researcher takes over representation of the community under observation

Am I usurping the community members’ voice?

Representativeness of the case study

The extent to which chosen case studies offer a clear depiction of the communities of interest

Did I choose the right cases to explain the variation I am seeking to explain?


The degree to which different cases can be compared

How similar or different are the cases of interest in the variables I am seeking to explore or research questions I am considering?

Risk management

The array of issues that could potentially arise for researchers and communities

Is this a research project that might endanger the researcher or the community?

Care for community

The strategies needed to ensure the community risk is minimized

What types of strategies can be implemented, and what is the time horizon on each of these? Should this project be undertaken, and, if so, how?

Researcher self-​care

The toolkit that every researcher will need to explore and develop to deal with challenging subjects and circumstances

What types of materials, resources, techniques, and strategies can a researcher peruse to ensure that the research project takes a minimal toll if any?

Source: Author’s own construction based on review of the literature.

208   Raul Pacheco-Vega

The Comparative Politics of Water Governance and Waste Management Ethnographic fieldwork is valuable for CEP not only because it provides researchers with in-​depth understanding of the community and sites where their research is conducted, but also because it reveals the inner workings of culture, rules, norms, institutions, and customs. In this section, I describe how I used ethnography in my research on bottled water consumption and informal waste picking and describe the decisions I made to bring this research to fruition. I use the following four questions to structure this section: (1) what the research problem was, (2) how I designed the research to undertake comparative ethnography, (3) what types of decisions I made as I conducted the research, and (4) what I found and (5) how ethnography was valuable to me and why didn’t I use other methods to undertake this research. My research has been inherently comparative, by design. Earlier work examined the comparative politics of information dissemination about pollutant emissions across North America (Pacheco-​Vega 2005), whereas more recent research has examined national and subnational public policies toward municipal waste management and drinking water governance in Mexico (Pacheco-​Vega 2018) and North America. Studying water conflict emergence and decline across different locations within Mexico (Pacheco-​Vega 2020b) and investigating the governance of bottled water in France, Mexico, and Spain (Pacheco-​Vega 2019) allowed me to test multiple variants of multisited ethnographic methods. The two vignettes I present here discuss the research design underlying two projects I conducted from 2012 through 2019.

Case Study 1:  The Comparative Politics of Bottled Water Consumption In many countries, consumption of tap water has been shrinking over the years, whereas bottled water has steadily risen in market share. There are multiple reasons for this phenomenon, but previous research points to poor infrastructure (Prasetiawan et al. 2017); the formation of new, emerging markets for packaged liquids (Hawkins 2017); strong marketing campaigns (Brei 2017); and institutionally weak regulatory regimes (Pacheco-​Vega 2019). Though water is considered a human right (Sultana and Loftus 2015, also see Sultana, this volume), there is also profound inequality in how this vital liquid is distributed across the globe. The global bottled water industry contributes to this environmental injustice. From a political perspective, companies that package water sustain enormous economic and political power. In Mexico, for example, a former Coca-​Cola executive (Vicente Fox Quesada) was able to become President of the country. During his tenure, bottled water and soft drinks consumption grew 100% over 6 years (Pacheco-​Vega 2020c). The combined economic power of multinational corporations and simultaneous infrastructure decay in cities across the world has sustained this industry and made it a US$210 billion business. Thus, studying the comparative politics of bottled water consumption clearly became a worthy research endeavor.

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    209 Previously, researchers on bottled water had been using official statistics to try to understand the global and local consumption dynamics. My research approach combined quantitative methods based on official surveys, but also qualitative ones. I chose ethnographic fieldwork because I wanted to understand the types of decisions that individuals made to consume bottled water even in the face of information about the fact that sometimes that packaged liquid is, in fact, tap water. While we can and often do run surveys on reasons why bottled water is being consumed, these data are not readily available as they are run by market research firms that sell this information for thousands of dollars. Logistically, only an ethnographic approach (or a smaller scale survey) would have made sense considering the type of expense that would be necessary to purchase reports on bottled water consumption and industrial market structure. The global bottled water market was expected to reach about US$273 billion in 2020.1 If individuals were informed about how water was a human right, I would have expected them to oppose bottled water consumption. However, when I conducted preliminary fieldwork in France and Italy in 2014, I found multiple instances of people who were proud of selling their water. Interviewees thought it was a good idea for their countries to package their water and sell it abroad. Moreover, they consumed bottled water despite knowing that their tap water was perfectly safe to drink. Earlier survey work on bottled water that included both of these countries (Doria et al. 2009; Johnstone and Serret 2012) had pointed to poor infrastructure as the main rationale for individuals’ bottled water consumption. This research, however, did not explain why citizens of these countries would support bottled water as a viable and worthy business, and why they continued to consume it despite their solid infrastructure. Brei’s reliance on survey data for France made him infer that the reason why French bottled water companies were so popular, even among French individuals, was their marketing campaigns. Clearly, robust marketing campaigns do have a substantive role to play, particularly to make individuals perceive bottled water as safer than tap water (Merkel et al. 2012; Pierce and Gonzalez 2017; Ragusa and Crampton 2016). But good marketing by itself is not enough as an explanatory factor to help us understand the popularity of bottled water, particularly in contexts where tap water has been demonstrated to be safe, as is the case in Paris. Whereas in Mexican cities there is substantive mistrust about the quality of piped network infrastructure, French urban contexts do not have the same degree of infrastructural weakness. This puzzle made me wonder what type of research design I would need to be able to understand French citizens’ decision-​making processes. Ethnographic fieldwork seemed to make the most sense. I sought to understand the political, public policy, and socio-​anthropological elements underlying sustained growth in consumption of packaged liquids in both countries. I decided that the best way to understand how much bottled water French individuals consumed would be to immerse myself in the society I was seeking to understand. I did the same in Mexico for the sake of having additional case studies for comparison, though CEP does not necessarily need more than one case: it can be studied by looking at a single country, city, or region with a comparative perspective. In this vignette I only focus on bottled water consumption in France, though I conducted fieldwork in Italy, Spain, and Mexico, too. Ethnography was the method that made the most sense given that I sought to understand bottled water consumption patterns and the ideology driving this phenomenon. While there is some work on the growth of bottled water consumption in France (Brei 2017), there was/​is no ethnographic engagement with French residents. Thus, I embarked

210   Raul Pacheco-Vega in field research starting in 2014 and extending it over a sabbatical period in 2019. During that period, I lived in Malakoff, a small suburb located in the banlieue of Paris. Over the course of 5 months, I observed Parisians’ attitudes and their patterns of acquisition and consumption of bottled water. I spent hours sitting in meetings, cafes, and parks, and observing how individuals satisfied their drinking water demands. I also arranged interviews with the local government water agency, Eau de Paris, to better understand the city’s drinking water system. I also interviewed 15 experts on urban water governance in France. I conducted all interviews in French. As for my ethnographic fieldwork, I took detailed notes of my observations in my fieldwork notebook, then transcribed my interviews and fieldnotes and coded them using a grounded theory approach, although informed by the theoretical propositions that I had derived from the literature. Each interview lasted from 1 hour to 3 hours, and I conducted random and purposeful sampling across a sample of residents of Paris as well as those residing in my neighborhood in Malakoff. Over the course of my fieldwork, I found very little usage of water fountains, which is interesting given that Parisians can access an actual map of all the water fountains throughout the Ile de France. Most people I interviewed had decided to consume bottled water despite knowing that they were able to drink from any of the Parisian water fountains because they preferred the taste and the brand. This sentiment mirrors research in the United States that states that some bottled water drinkers prefer to drink from a bottle because of a notion of purity (Bray 2017; Geissler and Gamble 2002), but also because of taste (Biro 2019). When I coded my interviews (using the software MAXQDA), doing initial and purposeful coding, I found themes that centered around “purity” for consumers, as well as “pride,” which I associated with bottled water branding. Historical research on the emergence of bottled water in European cities points to an interesting paradox relevant to my ethnographic findings. Medicinal baths were intended to be accessed only by members of the bourgeoisie (Ahn 2007; Duncan 2010; Miller 2015; Salzman 2012). Therefore, bottling water became a mode of democratization of water access. Whereas now bottling water is perceived as perpetuating environmental injustices and denying people from being able to enact their human right to water, in previous centuries bottling medicinal water available in the baths facilitated access by the populace. However, with the emergence of bottled water as a branded, bourgeois business in France (Wateau 2015) that only the cosmopolitan were able to access, consuming bottled water became a marker of high class. This finding is consistent with results from my participant observation and from interviews I conducted in Paris. This branding approach functions well for other types of brands, such as Fiji Water (Kaplan 2007; Reddy and Singh 2010). While my ethnographic fieldwork in Paris confirmed Brie’s point about the value of a marketing campaign to push sales upward, I would not have been able to learn about the motivations for Parisians to support the sale of their water abroad had I not embedded myself in the city. Perrier and Evian are two of the most popular brands of bottled water in the global market. Moreover, ethnography gave me an opportunity to better understand the culture associated with bottled water consumption and production, simultaneously. For comparative purposes, I also conducted the same type of ethnographic fieldwork in two Mexican cities, though I do not report on these in this chapter due to space limitations.

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    211

Case Study 2:  The Comparative Politics of Informal Waste Picking Waste is accumulating all over the world at alarming rates (O’Neill et al. 2018, 2019). Despite technological advances, societies continue to produce discards at a much more rapid pace than what is possible to treat. Traditionally, waste treatment systems have been formalized across all stages of production, collection, transportation, disposal, and/​or treatment. Nevertheless, informal waste picking as an economic practice for survival has been growing steadily over the past few decades, too (Dias 2016; Gutberlet 2012; Hartmann 2012). Understanding how interactions between government agencies in charge of waste and discards operate and interact with informal recyclers and the underlying political and policy processes is important to design better waste policies. I became interested in this topic because of my earlier comparative work on information-​based environmental policy instruments and their potential for voluntary disclosure of pollutant releases by chemical plants, which I briefly outline here. Regulating waste, toxics, and discards seems counterproductive because of the alleged decline in technological innovation. Voluntary and information-​dissemination policy instruments emerged as a response to traditional command-​and-​control, regulatory programs (Antweiler and Harrison 2007; Harrison 1998; Pacheco-​Vega 2020a). Comparatively speaking, Canada and the United States were the first ones to advance in the development of a mandatory pollutant release and transfer registry (PRTR), with the United States taking the lead with the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Canada following suit with the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). Mexico’s Registro de Emisiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes (RETC) emerged in 1999, whereas the TRI was launched in 1986 and the NPRI in 1993 (Antweiler and Harrison 2003; Pacheco-​Vega 2001). While both NPRI and RETC followed the lead of TRI, RETC followed the lead of TRI but was also the result of a push by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to implement PRTRs in developing countries and emerging economies. Undertaking this traditional, comparative case study (Bartlett and Vavrus 2017, 2018) analysis led me to consider the importance of studying other forms of waste governance. A lateral move from studies of the governance of toxics took me to studying subnational waste governance systems, particularly focusing on the interaction between municipal governments and their informal recycling communities. I started studying informal waste picking because of my interest in informal and formal rules and my previous work based on the Ostrom Workshop/​Bloomington School literature (McKean 2000; Ostrom 1990, 2013; Ostrom et al. 1992; Pacheco-​Vega 2015a). A large portion of the institutional analysis scholarship examines rules and norms, both formal and informal, that govern interactions between actors. These institutions provide stability and certainty across different scales for resource governance. How is waste governed, and what are the various possibilities that open when we expand our understanding of rules from simply regulatory schemes for waste disposal to a broader range of tools that involve nonformalized actors in the discards system? My quest to answer this research question led me to study the relationships between informal recyclers and the governments with which they interact. For me, the research problem was easy to identify: What types of interactions between local governments and their informal waste pickers

212   Raul Pacheco-Vega yield the best working conditions for these recyclers? This is a CEP question, much like the previous one I described in this chapter, because an important component of the politics of informal waste picking centers around the potential conflict or cooperation that can emerge from powerful actors (local governments) and less strong agents (informal waste pickers). A review of the literature yields interesting insights on the individual actions of waste recyclers working in the informal economy across multiple jurisdictions, including Brazil (Coletto and Bisschop 2017; Tarumã and Sampaio 2009), Argentina (Rubio Campos 2015), Nicaragua (Hartmann 2018), Ghana (Oteng-​Ababio 2011), and China (Orlins and Guan 2015) but offers very little if any explanation for the spectrum of relationships alongside the conflict–​cooperation continuum. I was interested in understanding both conflict and cooperation in waste recycling at the city level and, for that reason, decided to conduct a comparative ethnography in two Mexican cities (León and Aguascalientes, in central Mexico), and two European cities (Paris in France and Madrid in Spain). The paired comparison works well because in León and Madrid I found a confrontational relationship between the local governments and informal recyclers, whereas in Paris and Aguascalientes I found a much more cooperative one. This was a risky proposition because I did not anticipate that I would find a French city where the relationship between informal recyclers and its municipal government were cooperative. From earlier fieldwork and my understanding of the literature, I knew that the city of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada, had a clearly cooperative relationship with its informal recycler community (Wittmer and Parizeau 2018). Moreover, I had already conducted fieldwork in León and Aguascalientes for my bottled water project, and it was relatively easy to dovetail and spend additional time investigating informal waste picking. I have fluency in the Spanish language, and my work with municipal water management had given me the opportunity to contact regulators in the waste sector relatively easily. I also had a collaborative relationship with city regulators in Paris and experts on resource governance that could help me with contacts in the city for the waste sector. Furthermore, from a governance perspective, the French companies that operated the local water services within the metropolitan area of Paris (the banlieue) also operated waste collection, transportation, and disposal (Suez Environnement and Veolia, at the time in which I conducted fieldwork). I began with preliminary ethnographic fieldwork in León and Aguascalientes in mid-​ 2012, to try to get a sense for the types of interactions I could expect between informal waste pickers and their local governments. My research design was informed by previous scholarship on informal waste picking that was primarily fieldwork-​based in nature (Gowan 2009; Gutberlet 2008; Siddarth et al. 2010). My research design required special consideration of the ethics as I was intending to conduct ethnographies of both marginalized communities and government officials, who usually are considered elites. Interviewing governmental actors would be considered relatively less problematic regarding protection of their rights because, normally, institutional review boards (IRBs) would clear the researcher from having to anonymize or, at least, would provide clearance to conduct the interview with fewer hurdles. On the contrary, ethnography of marginalized populations requires deep reflection from the researchers on protective measures and considerations to minimize impact on the population under study (Behar 1996; Librett and Perrone 2010; Zavisca 2007). I designed my research protocol following the Canadian Tri-​Council Guidelines for Research with Human Subjects and taking into consideration Pacheco-​Vega and Parizeau’s conceptual model to potentially minimize risks to subjects.

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    213 I embedded myself in landfills in León and Aguascalientes, visiting on a regular basis and requesting access from the local authorities, as well as gaining the trust of landfill workers and informal recyclers who conducted their work there. It is important to note that over the course of the first few months of fieldwork I realized substantive differences between informal waste picking practices in both cities. Over the course of my ethnographic fieldwork in both cities, I found that whereas in Aguascalientes most recyclers would access municipal refuse from neighborhood containers, in León informal waste pickers roamed the streets at night to ensure collection and sorting before the trash collection trucks would arrive (Pacheco-​Vega 2021). I collected fieldnotes and anonymized them to preserve research participants’ confidentiality across the board. From my fieldwork across the two Mexican cities, I used lessons learned to design how I would conduct fieldwork in Madrid (Spain) and Paris (France). This is an important lesson for those interested in comparative ethnography for CEP: because qualitative research is inductive in nature (Bernard et al. 2017), lessons drawn from other case studies are helpful as we expand the scope of the research and increase the number of cases (Bartlett 2007; Brewis et al. 2019; Schnegg and Lowe 2020). To expand my research on informal waste pickers to European cities, I conducted online searches in newspapers in Spanish (Madrid) and French (Paris) to be able to discern from news articles the kind of relationship that local governments would have with their informal recycling communities. I conducted preliminary fieldwork in both cities in late 2014, trying to identify the main actors in government across all levels (national, regional, municipal, and metropolitan). My main ethical concern resided with the potential damage that talking to me would do to the already tenuous relationship that informal recyclers had with the governments of Madrid and León. Studying highly vulnerable populations is quite fraught and requires serious thinking and asking questions about what we can do to mitigate potential damages, protect our informants, and ensure that the inequality gap is narrowed (Hill 1995; Kendrick et al. 2008; Vanderstaay 2005). I thus decided to engage in relatively covert fieldwork in both cities, observing more than interviewing or talking. I observed informal waste picking practices in downtown Madrid and Paris for a month at a time, returning to the field in 2016 and 2019. This longitudinal approach allowed me to observe how cardboard recycling (the main activity for informal waste pickers in both cities) practices changed over time. I talked to recyclers, interviewed experts and government actors, and systematically collected news items across both cases as well. My research design focused on explaining how variation in cooperation or conflict between local governments and informal recyclers impacted the latter. Through the four comparative case studies, I found that in instances where cooperation was clearer (Aguascalientes and Paris), informal recyclers appeared to have better working conditions, whereas where conflict was more apparent (Madrid and León), waste pickers seemed to face more precariousness. Because my interest was not only on informal waste picking practices and culture, but also on interactions between powerful and marginalized actors, ethnography yielded valuable research insights, not only in terms of CEP, but also regarding research projects’ design and implementation. For a comparative research design to examine more than two outcomes, we need at least three cases (presence, absence, and a contrasting case). In the case of my comparative politics of informal waste picking project, I conducted fieldwork in 13 cities across eight countries in five languages. Methodologically speaking, I designed my project so that I could undertake fieldwork in several sites to examine a broader range of interactions

214   Raul Pacheco-Vega between municipal governments and waste pickers. My research design ensured that the analysis of the variation across cases (a key tenet of comparative methods) was not solely dichotomic (i.e., whether there is presence or absence of collaboration). I do not report on the other cases in this chapter for space constraint reasons. Nevertheless, the experience of conducting comparative ethnographies to understand the politics of informal waste pickers across multiple cities, languages, and countries enabled me to regain an appreciation for how complex yet rewarding ethnography can be and how useful it could be for comparative environmental politics.

Conclusion: Toward a Research Agenda on Ethnographic Approaches to CEP Ethnography is a powerful research method based on the systematic, repeated, and extended observation of a population within a community. Ethnography-​based research enables the understanding of culture within organizations and/​or communities. Ethnographic fieldwork holds much promise for CEP, particularly for the study of social and political phenomena associated with resource governance, pollution, and ecosystem degradation. Ethnography also holds much promise to help us understand how different actors engage in environmentally focused negotiations, at both the local and international levels. Finally, ethnography can be useful to discern instances of resource-​based conflict and/​or collaboration and how to better design environmental policies to tackle these challenges. My goal for this chapter was to highlight the importance and value of ethnography as a method for CEP. Throughout the chapter, I offered multiple examples of how ethnography has empowered researchers to understand the politics of the environment from a comparative approach and how its usage could be even more fruitful for CEP researchers, from in-​depth studies of conservation in the Amazonian region (Kawa 2016) to CEE research focusing on the Conferences of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Campbell et al. 2014). I suggested a few elements worth considering when discerning whether to apply this methodological strategy. Specifically, I suggest that ethnography can be useful to help uncover the inner workings of the conflict–​collaboration spectra of relationships across different types of actors. I shared two vignettes that draw on my cumulative work on the comparative governance of bottled water in Europe and Mexico and on the comparative politics of government–​informal waste picker interactions across multiple countries in Europe and North America. These vignettes speak to the overall decision-​making process that researchers need to engage in while designing CEP research projects. It is important to emphasize that no one unique methodological framework will unify insights from different case studies. There are questions that are better investigated using quantitative methodologies, or spatial analysis, or social network analysis. The types of inquiries that an ethnographic approach can help answer require intense engagement with the community in the case and location under study. It is therefore important for researchers to understand their research goal. It is also fundamental that scholars validate their choice of research method and evaluate its appropriateness for the specific research question they

Ethnography in Comparative Environmental Politics    215 are trying to answer. Instead of choosing a research methodology and applying it to a specific case study, investigators should instead determine which methodological and empirical strategies will best fit their research purposes and whether they are appropriate for the specific research question they are interested in investigating. My core point is that scholars should not necessarily avoid embarking on a doubly engaged comparative ethnographical research project. Instead, I argue that should researchers choose to do doubly engaged ethnography, they ought to be fully aware of the implications, assumptions, and responsibilities associated with this methodological approach. One of the main advantages of using ethnography, for research broadly but for CEP more specifically, is that its usage enables researchers to investigate the cultural components that permeate a community, a society, or a group of individuals. Ethnography’s potential for multiscale, multigroup, multisited fieldwork facilitates the absorption of information and facilitates an understanding of a group in a profound way. Critics of ethnography have challenged the external validity of the method (LeCompte and Goetz 1982) as well as the apparent lack of systematicity and rigor (Smith 1998) and the complex decision-​making processes revolving around and having to deal with transparency in data collection, systematization, analysis, and reporting. Should ethnographers allow other researchers to directly examine their field notes, fieldwork notebooks, and interviews? What are the rules and limitations of transparency in qualitative research, and how should they be adapted to ethnographic work? Where do we go from here? The biggest challenge will be dealing with issues of data transparency, confidentiality, and protection of vulnerable communities. These questions must be dealt with at the research design stage but should also remain a key concern throughout the project implementation and evaluation. There is much talk about potentially increasing transparency in qualitative research such as the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations project that took place from 2015 through 2021 (Jacobs et al. 2021) as well as making replicability and reproducibility an important concern for qualitative researchers (Aguinis and Solarino 2019; Bakken 2019). In my view, these are important considerations but never more important than ethical behavior toward marginalized communities. Given the potential for ethnography to uncover issues of environmental injustice, there will be ample opportunities for its application using ethical approaches that protect marginalized and vulnerable communities.

Note 1. See https://​www.stati​​outl​ook/​20010​000/​100/​bott​led-​water/​worldw​ide#:~:text=​ Reve​nue%20in%20the%20Bott​led%20Wa​ter,US%2461%2C0​76m%20in%202​020).

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Chapter 12

An Intersec t i ona l E x pl oration of C l i mat e Institu ti ons Annica Kronsell, Gunnhildur Lily Magnusdottir, Nanna Rask, and Benedict E. Singleton Introduction Climate change is one of the main challenges of the 21st century and a growing concern among politicians, publics, businesses, and citizens across the globe. Climate objectives agreed upon globally, nationally, and locally require substantial changes in many sectors and broad societal engagement. Governing bodies at different levels are authoritative key actors in this endeavor. However, these governing bodies have largely failed to acknowledge that issues of climate change are not merely “environmental” problems that require “technological” or “economical” solutions, but that they indeed are social issues. The underlying causes of climate change, as well as the suggested solutions and climate policies, are embedded and entangled in unequal power structures, relationships, and practices. Sustainable transformations require a restructuring of societal relations. Thus, in order to deal with climate change we also need to deal with issues of power, equality, and justice. We start our discussion by addressing the following questions: Why have governmental bodies and other climate actors failed to fully recognize equity and climate justice? And, how can they improve and start to engage with issues of power and justice? In this chapter, our focus is state-​centric, as we claim that governmental institutions are primary actors in climate policy-​making. States hold the resources and policy-​making powers needed to develop sustainable climate policies at the state level, stemming from global climate policy-​making and with significant effects on local and regional levels (Bäckstrand and Kronsell 2015). Here, we focus on climate institutions, meaning government agencies or policy-​making bodies charged with the realization of climate objectives. Such institutions, as for example the transport and energy agencies as well as climate and environmental agencies, usually deal with sectors that generate high levels of carbon

224    Annica KronseLl et al. emissions. It is, however, necessary to go beyond those traditionally defined “environmental” agencies and sectors of transport and energy and include sectors such as industry, city planning, and agriculture and land use, as well as production, consumption, and sustainable behavior change—​where activities that lead to carbon emissions occur and where climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are put in place. We argue that climate institutions have failed to create effective, legitimate, democratic, and just policies due to the lack of attention to power relations and how these are reflected and acted upon in climate institutions (Alber, Cahoon, and Röhr 2017; Alston 2014; Magnusdottir and Kronsell 2015, 2021). This manifests in an emphasis on technological innovations and economic incentives with concomitant inattention to social dimensions (Boström 2012), effectively excluding concerns for equity, equality, and justice. This is highly problematic in light of research that stresses the importance of social inclusion to achieving a climate transition in line with current sustainability goals (cf. Alber et al. 2017; Buckingham and Le Masson 2017; Reed 2017; Uteng, Rømer Christensen, and Levin 2020) to which most governments have committed themselves. Consequently, climate institutions in the Global North need to broaden their approach to include equity, equality, and justice issues in their policy-​making. A growing field of research stemming from feminist theory that focuses on intersectionality has much to offer comparative environmental politics. With this chapter, we hope to convince the reader why we believe so. Our perhaps somewhat bold aim is to convey to the reader that our use of intersectionality as an analytical lens can not just contribute to further developing, or “adding,” to the field of comparative studies of climate institutions and policies, but that it is, indeed, also absolutely necessary if we are to better grasp the power relations embedded within these institutions and their effects. The focus of our research is to, with an intersectional lens, analyze how those embedded within climate institutions understand and work with social differences in policy-​making. Our wider project studies four climate institutions in Sweden deemed crucial to the realization of the national climate objectives: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Traffic Administration (STA), the Energy Agency (SEA), and the Innovation Agency (VIN). This chapter focuses on the two initial phases of our research project,1 which consists of a text analysis of key policy documents and the analysis of 31 interviews investigating which social issues the policy-​makers2 recognize, how they understand them, and how social issues are addressed in policy-​making. Beyond providing insights into these particular Swedish agencies, the findings from our comparison and analysis of these agencies have relevance for climate institutions elsewhere since climate institutions in the Global North have similar norms and approaches, are often linked to the same global climate agendas, and are often basing their work in similar techno-​economic thinking. For example, transport and energy ministries and agencies across Europe are highly masculinized and have not fully recognized the intersectional nature of climate change or their gendered effects (Alber et al. 2017; Rømer Christensen and Hvidt Breengaard 2021; Singleton and Magnusdottir 2021). Our starting point is in theoretical work that considers institutions as sites of power, where power relations are reproduced through the way they organize issues, set up processes, and the norms they reproduce or challenge in policy-​making. In this, we rely on feminist institutionalism, which claims that policy-​makers within institutions are directed by a gendered logic of appropriateness, which might make the inclusion of gender and other intersecting social factors less appropriate than technical solutions (Palmieri 2020). In the next section,

An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    225 we turn to intersectionality and develop this institutional approach. First, we use such an intersectional institutional approach as a way to identify the climate-​relevant social factors that can or should be included in climate policy-​making. Second, we use it to critically read and assess the four climate institutions’ policy-​making. Accordingly, it was evident from the texts and interviews that those efforts have, to date, been insufficient and that, even though policy-​makers recognize the relevance of social concerns, it is a challenge to incorporate those concerns concretely within policy-​making. Finally, we discuss our initial findings and draw some conclusions that interpret the responses of the four climate institutions in terms of the powerful effects of institutional path dependencies. We also reflect on future research and ways to move forward in developing decision support and useful tools for policy-​makers based on our findings.

Climate Institutions, Power, and Social Factors “Transformation implies above all a fundamental redistribution and reconfiguration of power structures, and a restructuring of societal relations that produce inequality, oppression and deprivation.” (Castán Broto and Westman 2019, p. 220). Thus, in order to achieve transformative and disruptive change one must reflect on and understand how power relations within institutions are (re)produced. Institutions organize power inequalities in several ways: first, institutions organize power through formal and informal rules and practices. Institutions can be said to consist of the “rules, norms, and practices embedded in historical traditions and legacies, giving some stability and predictability to political and public life” (Hysing and Olsson 2017, p. 9). Power practices enacted over time (e.g., historically derived notions of gender, efficiency, or the growth imperative) become deeply embedded in organizations as they are reinforced over time through daily policy acts (Pierson 2004, p. 11). Second, institutions organize power through the co-​ production of identities, such as gender, which intertwine with the daily life and logic of institutions. While feminist institutionalists have examined this around gender (Krook and Mackay 2011), wider institutional identity formation (e.g., on professional identities) and its effect on institutional practice remain underresearched. Third, the resulting policies, strategies, and actions emerging as the output of climate institutions will, when acted on, (re)produce power relations in society through the distribution of resources, by promoting specific norms, values, and certain types of knowledge (see, e.g., Detraz, in this volume). Thus, the resulting policies will likely benefit some sectors, actors, and groups in particular. Institutions end up with particular “pattern-​bound” effects over time that provide institutional resilience when certain rules and norms of behavior are locked into place (Krook and Mackay 2011; Ljungholm 2017; Thomson 2018; Waylen 2009). Path dependency makes institutions “sticky” and resistant to change, as opportunities for innovation and change are constrained or enabled by previous choices. In line with this, climate institutions can be viewed as path-​dependent when it comes to both the nonrecognition of gender and the nonrepresentation of other intersecting social

226    Annica KronseLl et al. factors, such as class, ethnicity, age, location, and education. One type of path dependence of climate institutions significant to our study is related to how climate change originally emerged on the global agenda as a highly scientific, elitist, technical, and masculinized issue, privileging mainly the natural science community to define the problem as a “scientific” one (Hemmati and Röhr 2009; Skutsch 2000). This has provided a certain “stickiness” in climate institutions, flowing from the global to the national and the local, and thus excluding, downplaying, and making irrelevant social understandings. Other path dependencies are also relevant, such as historical legacies of the institutions often related to their defined tasks. For the STA, this involves making sure that the transport network is effective and accessible to all. For the SEA, this entails assuring access to energy for households and industry. For the EPA, this means being involved in the protection and conservation of nature. Finally, VIN seeks to facilitate an “innovation-​friendly” Swedish society and economy. Why dominant norms retain their power—​why they are so “sticky”—​relates to processes of normalization (Mackay, Kenny, and Chappell 2010). Normalization reproduces power through everyday acts that are perceived as “normal.” March and Olsen (1989, pp. 21–​38, 161) suggest that institutions are reproduced through patterns of action in a “logic of appropriateness.” The logic is that individual policy-​makers follow embedded rules and routines according to what is appropriate for their social and professional role and individual identity. Feminist institutionalists coined the more specific “gendered logic of appropriateness,” which “prescribes (as well as proscribes) ‘acceptable’ masculine and feminine forms of behavior, rules and values for men and women within institutions” (Chappell and Waylen 2013, p. 601) and draws attention to the importance of identity in institutional practices (Thomson 2018). How individuals (e.g., civil servants) give their actions meaning and what they consider appropriate in any given situation is not trivial. “[A]‌ctions are fitted to situations by their appropriateness within a conception of identity” (March and Olsen 1989, p. 38). Accordingly, what climate actions and policies are produced through institutional practices and what aspects, parameters, and issues are taken into account depend on how individual policy-​makers make meaning out of their position and of the expectations on that position. There is ample research that demonstrates that the social dimensions of climate emissions matter. Climate gas emissions, vulnerability to climate impacts, and political participation in climate decisions vary considerably across the population, according to place, gender, race, class, age, and other intersectional factors (Alber et al. 2017, p. 66; Buckingham and Le Masson 2017, p. 3–​5; Djoudi et al. 2016; IPCC 2014; Kaijser and Kronsell 2014; Reed 2017, p. 209). If social differences remain ignored, climate policies risk reinforcing existing inequalities. Thus, they require solving together. Furthermore, by overlooking differential effects, climate policies risk becoming ineffective if, for example, they give rise to protests among groups who feel unjustifiably challenged by climate policies and decisions. This is exemplified to varying degrees by disparate protests and movements such as the yellow vest protests in France, environmental justice movements, and the US and global Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. The latter two examples have been influential in vocalizing the connections between (in)justice, (in) equalities, and climate change, which has led to several BLM activists to call for a so-​called intersectional environmentalism across social media platforms. In his influential work on critical environmental justice (which is also inspired by intersectionality), David Pellow (cf. 2016, 2018; also in this volume) has revealed the multiple forms of inequality that drive

An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    227 and shape environmental injustices. Not solely between humans, but also between humans and non-​humans. For example, his analysis of the roles that water, air, land, and non-​humans play in the BLM movement revealed how power flows through a multitude of multispecies relationships on our planet and how these power relations often result in environmental injustices for the marginalized. In other words, there is increased recognition, especially among civil society actors and within academia, that dealing with climate change entails engaging with existing underlying inequalities. These inequalities can be both a cause and an effect of climate change. Thus, social differences need to be recognized as relevant, incorporated, and acted upon within climate institutions and in policy. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the 2030 Agenda, has potential to provide a framework for addressing these concerns, but to date recognition of social difference is limited in most climate policy-​making. Climate institutions have instead emphasized technical innovations and economic incentives as the most important solutions for dealing with climate change (Alber et al. 2017; Alston 2014; Magnusdottir and Kronsell 2015, 2021). Our research focuses on and critically analyzes such climate institutions in the Global North. This focus is warranted since states in the Global North have a particular responsibility to reduce their carbon emissions drastically with increasing urgency (UNFCCC 2015) as they tend to have the most resource-​consuming and polluting corporations, lifestyles, and practices (Elliott 2012). They are comparatively rich states with the resources to drive forward matters of environmental justice and sustainability and could be expected to do so. Previous research on climate institutions in the Global North unfortunately indicates a lack of knowledge among policy-​makers of social difference and (in) equality, such as the diversity of the public, with its manifold needs and behavioral patterns. In particular, this manifests around how to include climate-​relevant social factors within climate objectives, such as in the governmental agencies in the Scandinavian countries and in the EU Commission’s Climate Action Directorate (Allwood 2014, 2021; Buckingham and Le Masson 2017; Magnusdottir and Kronsell 2015, 2016; Singleton et al. 2021). There is thus a need for greater knowledge within climate institutions in the Global North on how to include equity, equality, and justice issues in policy-​making, and they need to find policy measures and institutional tools that can accomplish this.

The Intersectional Approach Intersectionality is a critical approach for addressing social concerns and power relations in climate issues. After a brief introduction to the scholarly origins of intersectionality within feminist theory, we argue for intersectionality’s relevance for understanding the social dimensions of climate institutions and policies. Ecofeminist and feminist political ecology have made important contributions to the topic of gender and the environment since the 1980s. They highlighted the gendered nature of environmental issues and have demonstrated how gender relations affect the natural environment and how environmental issues have a differential impact on women and men (Buckingham-​Hatfield 2000). This means that men and women experience the environment differently, often with different access to and control over ecological systems as a result of their divergent social and cultural roles (Rocheleau et al. 1996). Their research brought

228    Annica KronseLl et al. attention to unacknowledged women’s work that was rendered invisible within mainstream environmental studies (Arora-​Jonsson 2017; MacGregor 2017). The earlier feminist literature, although performing crucial groundwork, focused primarily on gendered inequalities and the environment in environmental development projects, such as forestry, farming, and water development projects, rather than on climate issues. When such studies focused on policy-​making and governance, it was specifically linked to gender, such as the gendered effects of EU labor, agriculture, and development policies (Buckingham-​Hatfield 2000), and it was predominately in the empirical context of development and developing countries. Furthermore, the early scholarship on gender and climate change focused for the most part on women (Dankelman 2002; Mearns and Norton 2010; Terry 2009) by, for example, demonstrating differences between men and women in climate change impacts, highlighting the vulnerability of women in the Global South, and/​or emphasizing women’s specific role in mitigating climate change (cf. Aguilar 2013; Bendlin 2014; Resurrección 2013). Echoing this, the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (cf. IPCC 2014) also noted how rural women in developing countries are among the groups most vulnerable to climate change. While the risks of climate change vary, these studies and reports have highlighted how women are at greater risk, more vulnerable, and more likely to become victims of climate change because they have different access to resources, live under different conditions, and have more restricted capabilities than many men due to different social and cultural rules and norms. In other words, it relates to their place within a gender power order. It is relevant that women’s specific roles, concerns, and livelihoods be taken into account in policy-​making in climate institutions (Alston 2014; Alston and Whittenbury 2013), but the tendency to conceptualize gender in climate change as being only about vulnerable (rural) women or female victims in the Global South is problematic and obscures power relations in a number of ways (Arora-​Jonsson 2011). First, it conceals that gender power issues have relevance for climate actions also in the Global North (Carlsson-​Kanyama et al. 2010; Hiselius Winslott et al. 2019; Kronsell, Smidfelt Rosqvist, and Winslott Hiselius 2016; Polk 2003; Räty and Carlsson-​Kanyama 2009). Second, a focus on women per definition excludes from the analysis both nonbinary people and men and masculinity. This places a heavy burden and responsibility to solve climate change on women and on projects solely focusing on women’s empowerment rather than on, for example, underlying patriarchal structures and masculinity norms (e.g., Hedenqvist et al. 2021; Hultman and Pulé 2018), relevant for the work of climate institutions around the world. Third, the focus on women does not take into account the importance of economic status or class nor does it pay attention to other social differences and categories such as race, sexuality, or age in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Of late, a more nuanced literature is emerging, one that has begun to analyze gender as power relations that are intersecting with other relations and categories (MacGregor 2017; Nagel 2012). Intersectionality demonstrates how important power relations are to climate change issues and the need to highlight how structures of power emerge and interact within climate policy-​making (Kaijser and Kronsell 2014). Intersectionality originated in black feminist critiques of the “color-​blindness” of mainstream feminism (cf. Collins and Bilge 2016; Crenshaw 1989, 1991; Davis 1981; hooks 1981). Within academia, the term is credited to Crenshaw (1989) who has contributed substantially with work on how womens’ experiences are shaped by overlapping patterns of sexism and

An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    229 racism, which had been missing from both feminism and antiracism academic discourses. Since then, intersectionality has been enriched by insights from various strands of feminist literature. Feminist literature has developed and employed intersectionality as a way to complicate the analysis of gender, arguing that gender seldom stands alone as a power relation. Rather, it is related and connected to other power differences, such as class, ethnicity, sexuality, age, religion, (dis)ability, and place (Cho, Williams Crenshaw, and McCall 2013; Lykke 2010; Moraga and Anzaldúa 1981; Yuval-​Davis 2006). Intersectional insights are employed to question whose voices and what knowledge claims are heard and privileged (Collins and Bilge 2016; Moraga and Anzaldúa 1981) More recently, scholars and activists concerned with climate change and environmental justice issues have become interested in intersectionality, criticizing much previous intersectional work for its lack of attention to the interconnection between human/​society and nature power relations (Kaijser and Kronsell 2014, 2016; Lykke 2009). Moving intersectionality’s focus from solely identity to a systemic level has highlighted that social and economic inequalities and environmental problems are systemic and inextricably linked problems (Godfrey and Torres 2016). In other words, intersectionality can aid us in emphasizing how intersecting “isms” (such as capitalism, colonialism, racism, [hetero] sexism, rationalism, and speciesism) both contribute to and are exacerbated by environmental problems such as climate change (Patterson 2016). Intersectional thinking has been used in the broader feminist environmental literature as a useful tool to analyze “capitalism, rationalist science, colonialism, racism, (hetero) sexism and speciesism” (MacGregor 2017, pp. 1–​2). However, empirical research on climate change has hitherto largely focused on the Global South and developing states; on the violence of climate events, storms, hurricanes, and fires; and on gendered vulnerability to such events (Rydstrom and Kinnvall 2019). Less attention has been paid to what intersectional approaches could contribute to the analysis of climate policy within climate institutions, especially in the Global North. Importantly, intersectionality can help us bring in an analysis of how power relations between “humans” and “nature” are connected and entangled. For, as Castán Broto and Westman (2019) argue, we need to be concerned not only with what matters to people but also what matters to nature. Discriminative conditions are often constructed through the placing of categories in hierarchical structures as well as through the construction of dichotomies where one opposite is defined as the norm and the other as deviant. Several feminist scholars, such as Plumwood (1993), have highlighted that the domination of nature is closely tied to the domination of humans by humans, building on Merchant who argued that dualism is “a key factor in Western civilization’s advance at the expense of nature” (Merchant 1980, p. 143). These long-​standing so-​called dualisms are framed as inherent to Western thought, which constructs the world as a series of opposites—​human–​nature, male–​female, or reason–​emotion—​and is a cultural tradition with roots in Greek and Roman society, Christianity, and the Enlightenment. They enable control of the non-​human and all groups and elements associated with the natural environment such as female bodies, indigenous lands, or racialized groups or individuals. Furthermore, according to this dominant worldview, man represents reason, spirituality, immortality, and agency, whereas woman and nature represent emotion, embodiment, mortality, primitivism, and inferiority. This is problematic since, in modern society, this dualism translates into a perceived superiority of science, rationality, and modernity, which allows for instrumental views on nature

230    Annica KronseLl et al. and continued exploitation. Through such dualistic construction, domination of humans over nature is established and maintained, leading not only to a distorted understanding of human–​nature relations (cf. Gaard 2015), but also to unjust relations. “Unjust” in terms of which groups are rendered more vulnerable, more affected, and who has benefited from previous unsustainable resource use by privileging and supporting particular actors and knowledges (see also Kaijser and Kronsell 2016). By addressing power in this way, as relational and dynamic, intersectionality sheds light on how patterns of privilege and marginalization are structured, articulated, and negotiated. It also brings in nature and the material as a “category” or “sphere of analysis” and thus moves away from the imagined divide between the material and social worlds. This aspect of an intersectional approach is particularly interesting to us as it is well-​shaped to address environmental concerns since it does not separate equality from its socioeconomic and bio-​ geophysical context. In the context of climate institutions, it means that we ask questions about how this relationship is addressed and conceptualized.

Analysis of Swedish Climate Institutions Our research began with a focus on the formal and material aspects of climate institutions. We paid particular attention to institutional “stickiness” or path dependence by asking critical questions in the text analysis and of the policy-​makers we interviewed. The questions concerned how issues are organized within the policy agenda. We searched for any explicit and visible assumptions about social categories and their relations in the institution, its organization, and its documents. These are considered indicative of the systems of meaning-​ making used by policy-​makers. Accordingly, we have analyzed which social categories are conceptualized and recognized in policy-​making on climate change and which categories are absent in the policy-​making process within the aforementioned institutions and in the key policy documents that they produce. Through this research and in dialogue with policy-​ makers, we outline what would be expected from a climate policy process that is inclusive of intersectional concerns and, hence, more effective, democratic, legitimate, and just. As a first step, we performed a discourse analysis of key strategy documents from three of the four government agencies involved in Swedish climate policy-​making: the EPA, STA, and the SEA. Discourse analysis, a method that considers language and text as expressive of power relations (Bacchi 1999), is particularly apt at revealing power relations in text in terms of what is written and what is not, thus pointing to powerful norms. Discourse analysis allows us to pose critical intersectional questions of the material: Through what practices is the institution governed? What symbols and norms are important? How are norms for sustainable lifestyles reflected in practices? Furthermore, power relations in a specific place and situation can generate a certain type of knowledge (Agarwal 2000). It is therefore important to question universal claims and instead ask what types of knowledge and what types of political subject are recognized (Kaijser and Kronsell 2014). The discourse analysis provided background information that was employed in devising questions for the second step: an interview study with people employed at the various ministries (N =​31). Due to the ongoing COVID-​19 pandemic, we chose telephone/​online interviews as the collection method. In collecting these data, we perceive policy-​makers

An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    231 not as passive informants but as interlocutors whose awareness about climate-​relevant social differences can be heightened via interviews. The questions posed served to identify and analyze assumptions about social categories, knowledge, lifestyle ideals, and the legitimacy of subjects that are embedded in institutions and manifested in their practices. They can help us better understand which dominant norms of the climate institutions may possibly provide the path dependence and “stickiness” that works against transformation. In particular, the interviews helped us understand through which practices climate policy-​ makers relate to the institutions and how they view and work with intersectional issues—​or why they did not. It should be noted that our ambition here was not to include as many voices as possible, but to engage those actors who had an interest in discussing intersectional power relations in climate policy-​making. The ambition was to find the most engaged policy-​makers who would most likely play the role of so-​called green inside activists; institutionally embedded individuals personally committed to green movement values who seek to further these values within an institution to induce policy and institutional change (cf. Hysing and Olsson 2017). When we explored the conceptualization and recognition of social categories within key policy documents from the EPA, STA, SEA, and VIN, we found that institutional understandings of social difference were simplistic, with many social categories and their intersections unrecognized. This has manifold implications for environmental justice within Swedish society (Singleton et al. 2021). For example, STA and SEA documents frame “nature” as largely a backdrop to the infrastructure they maintain. In contrast, EPA frames nature as Sweden’s “green infrastructure.” What these framings share is a largely inert, objectified view of nature as something needing management, in contrast with, for example, alternative ideas of various non-​human actors in diverse webs of relationships. Interviews largely confirmed the picture of the discourse analysis but added nuance. Several examples serve to illustrate the simplistic framings of social justice and climate justice. For example, the STA largely interprets diversity in terms of population density, using a system of three categories: “large urban” (storstad), “middle-​sized” (medelbebyggda), and “sparsely populated” (glesbygd). A standing assumption within this framing of social difference is that greater potential exists for positive climate action in urban areas rather than rural, where it is assumed people depend on cars. One effect of this is that Sweden’s rural areas are erroneously depicted as a homogenous mass, which may affect the types of climate actions proposed, tending to argue for greater population densities and concomitant development of public transport infrastructure. Similarly, fairly generic assumptions are made that women, disabled people, and children will broadly benefit from this action (Singleton et al. 2021). The differences between members of those groups are occluded. There is also little space for discussion of the roles certain lifestyle practices play within certain people’s identities. One respondent pointed out there was a tendency to operate with standardized pictures of what, for example, a “city family” is like and a lack of reflection over the actual diversity of the population. It also made people blind to the complexities obscured by simple maxims such as “reduce car use.” One respondent gave this clear example: I sometimes test people about an [transport system] accessibility problem in Sweden. It is that immigrant women seldom have either a driving license or access to a car. . . and they live in places with poor public transport. This means that their access to public services and culture and other things are often quite restricted. So one could consider if one should have

232    Annica KronseLl et al. specific driving schools for immigrant women, so they could get [a license]. But the reaction is. . . drive a car? We can’t let people do that [because of climate change]. (iSTA06)

This quote highlights the possibility that climate change actions (i.e., policies around transport) may have unforeseen intersectional consequences within diverse groups of Swedish society, potentially leaving some groups (e.g., migrant women) worse off vis-​à-​ vis others (elite, male car users who presumably already have high mobility). This was despite a general awareness among respondents that effective climate action should not disproportionately affect particular groups and that to do so risked provoking resistance. Additionally, as the STA is the body responsible for accessibility to the transport system, there was seemingly little possibility to question notions of mobility and accessibility as simple common goods. Furthermore, while there were minor differences across the respondent sample, a shared broad understanding of “social justice” emerged through the interviews. In general, the picture painted included a need for collective action, as well as an awareness that climate change activities are uneven in their effects. However, what seems particularly noteworthy is a marked tendency to move to the international scale when talking about justice, with respondents framing justice as a global issue. Here, Sweden was framed as a contributor on a global scale to finding solutions to the climate crisis, acting as an inspiration. As one respondent from the EPA put it, The whole idea behind Sweden’s climate work is not that we will just do our little share of the work that is needed, rather, in order to deal with the climate crisis, we [Sweden] must inspire and spread our work so that the effects ripple out, for otherwise we will not solve the climate question. So, we must do things outside of Sweden as well. (iEPA01)

Putting aside merits and critiques of this approach, it further highlights the difficulties many agencies had in focusing on social justice issues within Sweden. While several respondents were able to point to projects abroad that contributed to, for example, women’s improved social standing, they seldom voiced the view that such work is necessary in Sweden. This could be interpreted as an institutional norm, excluding gender in the Swedish context. The iSTA06 quote in the previous paragraph highlights the existence of distinct intersectional impacts of climate change policy. However, despite this, a framing of Sweden as a place where social justice has already been “done” successfully was extant, which is in line with Sweden´s self-​image in the international system as an eco-​entrepreneur, advocate of social justice, and conflict preventer (Björkdahl 2008; Magnusdottir and Thorhallsson 2011). This likely contributes to the limited dimensions of social difference that respondents articulated, which could lead to a certain path dependency in the policy-​making process that excludes relevant social categories (as discussed earlier). Many respondents were aware of their limited ability to better integrate social justice dimensions into their work, asserting that this needed to be improved. Indeed, in institutional language many respondents across the different agencies reflected that their current activities were very much a product of institutional path-​dependency and norms (Singleton and Magnusdottir 2021). For example, respondents at VIN often struggled to separate climate change activities from other priorities within their broad remit to make Sweden and innovation-​friendly place. Thus, speaking specifically about the intersectional impacts of climate change work was challenging. The time scales that different agencies worked on

An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    233 were also factors that encouraged path dependency around social justice and each agency’s remit. For example, the STA builds infrastructure such as motorways intended to operate for long periods of time, and it maintains infrastructure already in place. This necessarily presents challenges for assessing the social impacts of any work: What time scale is relevant, and when is work actually complete? One respondent from the EPA made a similar point, noting that they tended to integrate social dimensions into their work post hoc, when assessing project impacts. As such, social justice was regarded as important but falling outside of institutional understandings of the EPA’s remit generally. When questioned, respondents would describe how meaning-​making regarding climate change and social justice were the products of historical trajectories of the institutions that embedded them (Singleton and Magnusdottir 2021). In such circumstances, it becomes hard for policy-​ makers to gauge the blind spots of any given institutional lens. It was common among respondents to assert that they would like to focus more on the social effects of agency work but that this was outside of their purview. Furthermore, across the sample, respondents would invoke political authority if asked about why they approached climate change and social justice issues in a particular way. More specifically, there was a narrative that agencies’ authority and activities are set by the current government. Thus, each agency was influenced by its relationship to particular government departments and the exact tasks they had been set. Indeed, across the respondent sample, interviewees often asserted that their legitimacy as civil servants links to their respect of the role demarcated by a democratically elected government (Hysing and Olsson 2017; Singleton and Magnusdottir 2021). As such, if guidance was unclear or unforthcoming on climate or social justice issues, respondents often felt it was a struggle to incorporate these issues into their work. In such circumstances, concepts were not necessarily “mainstreamed” and activities appeared more dependent on individuals’ taking the initiative (cf. Hysing and Olsson 2017). Indeed, the extent that inside activism was considered desirable was unclear, as it was at times seen as clashing with agencies’ role as a neutral provider of knowledge and as expediting Swedish government decisions (Olsen, 2006; Singleton and Magnusdottir 2021; Svara 2001). A few respondents highlighted a further issue relating to this: the concept of “social justice” was itself sometimes framed as a political issue and thus external to the role of agencies within the Swedish system. A desire to avoid entering a political arena was thus cited as a factor mitigating against focusing on the justice aspects of climate change action.

Conclusion and Ways Forward From the collated research material, we conclude that the climate institutions in question need tools that will allow them to appreciate the complex manner that social difference is constructed and perpetuated, in part by the agencies’ own actions. Likewise, they need to appreciate that climate actions have complex effects which will materially impact different groups in differential fashion, as well as affect the likelihood of a climate action’s success (Singleton et al. 2021). Furthermore, information and tools (such as an intersectional approach) need to be transmitted in ways that are understandable within the path-​dependent world of Swedish government agencies. This is a key finding for efforts to engender broader

234    Annica KronseLl et al. understandings of social and environmental justice into the four agencies. There is a need to demonstrate that tools for integrating more nuanced perspectives fall within agencies’ remits. Likewise, advocates for intersectional approaches should be aware of the perceived importance of neutrality, or the appearance of neutrality, to policy-​makers’ roles and professional identities. Elsewhere, we propose this may be managed by highlighting how proposed changes to agencies’ approaches to social justice are very much in line with both government remit and majority views of the Swedish population (Singleton and Magnusdottir 2021). This may allow for greater integration of useful knowledge rather than foment knowledge resistance (cf. Klintman 2019). One such approach is to identify examples of the intersectional impact of each agency’s work to illustrate the relevance of an intersectional institutional analysis and framework. Indeed, across the broad swath of respondents, there was widespread interest in intersectionality, and our research provoked invitations to subsequently present our work. We intend to avail ourselves of this opportunity to collect more data and exchange knowledge about intersectionality with potential inside activists. We would thus hope to contribute to more nuanced understandings of the intersectional causes and impacts of climate change activities. Through this work, we hope to convince policy-​makers of the need for a more holistic understanding of climate change and its interconnectedness with issues of justice and equality. An intersectional approach can aid us in moving away from a dualistic understanding of nature and society, to an understanding where “nature,” climate, and the biophysical environment is inseparable from the “social,” “cultural,” or “human.” Such an understanding can shed light on how power relations are not detached from environmental and climate issues but instead are intrinsic to these issues. Although our work in this respect is sector-​ specific, the knowledge is likely relevant for institutions in other countries. For example, as mentioned in the Introduction, transport and energy ministries and agencies across Europe are highly masculinized. As such, learning from the STA can provide insights that are valuable for investigating other institutions. A more nuanced and holistic understanding of the intersectional impacts of climate change policy and activities can teach us important lessons about how the work of climate institutions can become more socially and environmentally just, not solely in the context of Sweden and the state agency level, but also across other country contexts and scales of governance. By now, at the end of this chapter, we hope to have convinced the reader of the importance of an intersectional lens for much comparative environmental politics, a lens that is still largely lacking but one that we urge others to adopt. Thus, it is our hope that we may have provided inspiration for replications and a spread of similar studies elsewhere. Inevitably, several insights from such studies are and will be context-​specific because power relations are situated in a certain place and time. However, it is our hope that the method of how to pursue contextually sensitive and situated analyses and understandings of the complex intersections of power relations can be used across contexts (in contrast to a universally applicable solutions-​oriented checklist that can be applied everywhere). The aim is then to develop an intersectional practice, method, and/​or tool so that policy-​makers within climate institutions across the globe can pursue the more progressive and transformative climate change and justice efforts that the world so direly needs.

An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    235

Acknowledgments This chapter was written as part of the Swedish Research Council Formas’ project (FR-​2018/​ 0010 2018-​12-​01 -​2022-​11-​30) Intersectionality and Climate Policy Making: Ways Forward to a Socially Inclusive and Sustainable Welfare State, hosted by the School of Global Studies, with Annica Kronsell as project leader.

Notes 1. https://​​en/​resea​rch/​inters​ecti​onal​ity-​and-​clim​ate-​pol​icy-​mak​ing-​ways-​forw​ ard-​to-​a-​socia​lly-​inclus​ive-​and-​sust​aina​ble-​welf​are-​state. 2. In this chapter, “policy-​maker” denotes civil servants or public officials within the state agencies and not elected politicians.

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An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    237 Intersectionality and Climate Institutions in Industrialized States, edited by G. Magnusdottír and A. Kronsell, 207–​225. London and New York: Routledge, Earthscan, 2021. Hemmati, Minu, and Ulrike Röhr. “Engendering the Climate-​Change Negotiations: Experiences, Challenges, and Steps Forward.” Gender and Development 17, no. 1 (2009): 19–​32. Hiselius Winslott, Lena, Annica Kronsell, Christian Dymén, and Lena Smidfelt Rosqvist. “Investigating the Link Between Transport Sustainability and the Representation of Women in Swedish Local Committees.” Sustainability (Switzerland) 11, no. 17 (2019). https://​​ 10.3390/​su1​1174​728 hooks, bell. “Ain’t I a Woman?” 1981. https://​web.arch​​web/​201​3111​1190​336/​ Hultman, M., and P. M. Pulé. Ecological Masculinities: Theoretical Foundations and Practical Guidance. London: Routledge, 2018. Hysing, Erik, and Jan Olsson. Green Inside Activism for Sustainable Development: Political Agency and Institutional Change. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2017. IPCC. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects, Polar Regions. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2014. Kaijser, Anna, and Annica Kronsell. “Climate Change Through the Lens of Intersectionality.” Environmental Politics 23, no. 3 (2014): 417–​ 433. https://​​10.1080/​09644​ 016.2013.835​203 Kaijser, Anna, and Annica Kronsell. “Who Gets to Know about Nature? Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services through an Intersectional Lens.” Freiburger Zeitschrift für Geschlechterstudien 22, no. 2 (2016): 41–​67. Klintman, Mikael. Knowledge Resistance. How We Avoid Insight from Others. Manchester: University of Manchester Press, 2019. Kronsell, Annica, Lena Smidfelt Rosqvist, and Lena Winslott Hiselius. “Achieving Climate Objectives in Transport Policy by Including Women and Challenging Gender Norms: The Swedish Case.” International Journal of Sustainable Transportation 10, no. 8 (2016): 703–​7 11. Krook, Mona Lena, and Fiona Mackay. Gender, Politics and Institutions. Towards a Feminist Institutionalism. Basingstoke: Basingstoke, 2011. Ljungholm, D. P. “Feminist Institutionalism Revisited: The Gendered Features of the Norms, Rules, and Routines Operating within Institutions.” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 7, no. 1 (2017): 248–​254. Lykke, Nina. “Non-​Innocent Intersections of Feminism and Environmentalism.” Kvinder, Køn & Forskning no. 3–​4 (2009): 36–​44. Lykke, Nina. Feminist Studies: A Guide to Intersectional Theory, Methodology and Writing. 2010. https://​​​books?hl=​sv&lr=​&id=​dQTgC​gAAQ​BAJ&oi=​fnd&pg=​PP1&dq=​ Nina,+​Lykke,+​2010,+​femin​ist+​stud​ies,+​a+​guide+​to+​int​erse​ctio​nal+​the​ory,+​meth​odol​ogy+​ and+​writ​ing,+​Routle​dge+​New+​York.+​(&ots=​9e1​rQ2M​uyn&sig=​lFOB​lJTh​x9pz​xCF8​gXn3​ a5X1​o_​0&redir_​esc=​yv=​one MacGregor, Sherilyn. Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2017. Mackay, Fiona, Meryl Kenny, and Louise Chappell. “New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism?” International Political Science Review 31, no. 5 (2010): 573–​588. Magnusdottir, Gunnhildur Lily, and Annica Kronsell. “The (In)Visibility of Gender in Scandinavian Climate Policy-​Making.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17, no. 2 (2015): 308–326.

238    Annica KronseLl et al. Magnusdottir, Gunnhildur Lily, and Annica Kronsell. “The Double Democratic Deficit in Climate Policy-​Making by the EU Commission.” FEMINA POLITICA –​Zeitschrift für feministische Politikwissenschaft 25, no. 2 (2016): 64–​77. Magnusdottír, Gunnhildur Li, and Annica Kronsell (eds). Gender, Intersectionality and Climate Institutions in Industrialized States. Abingdon, Oxon, and New York, NY: RoutledgeEarthscan, 2021. Magnusdottir, Gunnhildur Lily, and B. Thorhallsson. “The Nordic States and Agenda-​Setting in the European Union: How Do Small States Score?” Review of Politics and Administration 7, no. 1 (2011): 205–​225. March, J. M., and J. P. Olsen. The Organizational Basis of Politics. New York: Rediscovering Institutions. New York: The Free Press, 1989. Mearns, R., and A. Norton (eds). Equity and Vulnerability in a Warming World: Social Dimensions of Climate Change, 1–​46. Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2010. Merchant, Carolyn. The Death of Nature. Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution. San Francisco: Harper, 1980. Moraga, Cherríe, and Gloria Anzaldúa. This Bridge Called My Back, Fourth Edition: Writings by Radical Women of Color. 1981. https://​​​books?hl=​sv&lr=​&id=​0j2fB​ gAAQ​BAJ&oi=​fnd&pg=​PR1&dq=​Mor​aga,+​Cher​ríe+​and+​Glo​ria+​Anzal​dúa,+​eds.+​This+​ Bri​dge+​Cal​led+​My+​Back:+​Writi​ngs+​by+​R adi​cal+​Women+​ofCo​lor.+​New+​York:+​Kitc​ hen+​Table+​Women+​of+​Color+​Press,+​1981.&ots=​7dj​juot​IzZ&sig=​HpE​bTu Nagel, Joane. “Intersecting Identities and Global Climate Change.” Identities 19, no. 4 (2012): 467–​476. Olsen, Johan P. “Maybe It Is Time to Rediscover Bureaucracy.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 16, no. 1 (2006): 1–​24. Palmieri, Sonia. “Feminist Institutionalism and Gender-​ Sensitive Parliaments: Relating Theory and Practice.” In Gender Innovation in Political Science: New Norms, New Knowledge, edited by Marian Sawer and Kerryn Baker, 173–​194. Cham: Springer, 2020. Patterson, J. “”Foreword.” In Systemic Crises of Global Climate Change: Intersections of Race, Class and Gender, edited by P. Godfrey and D. Torres. New York: Routledge, 2016. Pellow, D. N. “Toward a Critical Environmental Justice Studies: Black Lives Matter as an Environmental Justice Challenge.” DuBois Review 13, no. 2 (2016): 221–​236. Pellow, D. N. What Is Critical Environmental Justice? Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, 2018. Pierson, Paul. Politics in Time. History, Institutions, and Social Analysis. New Jersey, 2004. Plumwood, Val. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1993. Polk, Merritt. “Are Women Potentially More Accommodating than Men to a Sustainable Transportation System in Sweden?” Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 8, no. 2 (2003): 75–​95. Räty, Riita, and Annia Carlsson-​kanyama. Comparing Energy Use by Gender, Age and Income in Some European Countries. Report FOI-​R-​-​2800-​-​SE for FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency (August 2009). Available online: https://​www.compro​miso​​upl​oad/​notic​ ias/​001/​1560/​foir2​800.pdf Accessed June 7, 2021. Reed, Maureen. “Understanding the Gendered Labours of Adaptation to Climate Change in Forest-​Based Communities through Different Models of Analysis.” In Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries: Work, Public Policy and Action, edited by M. Griffin Cohen. London and New York: Routledge, 2017. Resurrección, Bernadette P. “Women’s Studies International Forum Persistent Women and Environment Linkages in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Agendas.” Women’s Studies International Forum 40 (2013): 33–​43. http://​​10.1016/​j.wsif.2013.03.011

An Intersectional Exploration of Climate Institutions    239 Rocheleau, D., B. Thomas-​Slayter, and E. Wangari. Feminist Political Ecology: Global Issues and Local Experience. New York: Routledge, 1996. Rømer Christensen, Hilda, and Michala Hvidt Breengaard. “Towards a Climate Friendly Turn? Gender, Culture and Performativity in Danish Transport Policy.” In Gender, Intersectionality and Climate Institutions in Industrialized States, edited by Gunnhildur Magnusdottir and Annica Kronsell, 105–​123. London and New York: Routledge, Earthscan, 2021. Rydstrom, Helle, and Catarina Kinnvall. Climate Hazards, Disasters, and Gender Ramifications, London and New York: Routledge, 2019. Singleton, B., N. Rask, G. Magnusdottír, and A. Kronsell. “Intersectionality and Climate Policy Making: The Inclusion of Social Difference by Three Swedish Government Agencies.” Environmental and Planning C: Politics and Space. 2021. https://​​10.1177/​239965​4421​ 1005​778 Singleton, B. E., and G. L. Magnusdottir. “Take a Ride into the Danger Zone? Assessing Path Dependency and the Possibilities for Instituting Change at Two Swedish Government Agencies Earthscan.” In Gender, Intersectionality and Climate Institutions in Industrialized States, edited by Gunnhildur Lily Magnusdottir and Annica Kronsell, 86–​102. London and New York: Earthscan, Routledge, 2021. Skutsch, Margaret M. “Protocols, Treaties, and Action: The ‘Climate Change Process’ Viewed through Gender Spectacles.” Gender & Development 10, no. 2 (2000): 30–​39. Svara, J. H. “The Myth of the Dichotomy: Complementarity of Politics and Administration in the Past and Future of Public Administration.” Public Administration Review 61, no. 2 (2001): 176–​183. Terry, G. “No Climate Justice Without Gender Justice: An Overview of the Issues.” Gender & Development 17, no. 1 (2009): 5–​18. Thomson, Jennifer. “Resisting Gendered Change: Feminist Institutionalism and Critical Actors.” International Political Science Review 39, no. 2 (2018): 178–​191. UNFCCC. “Paris Agreement, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” 21st Conference of the Parties, 2015. Uteng, Tanu Priya, Hilda Rømer Christensen, and Lena ‎Levin. Gendering Smart Mobilities. London and New York: Routledge, 2020. Waylen, Georgina. “What Can Historical Institutionalism Offer Feminist Institutionalists?” Politics and Gender 5, no. 2 (2009): 245–​253. Yuval-​Davis, Nira. “Intersectionality and Feminist Politics.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 13, no. 3 (2006): 193–​209.

Chapter 13

Ge nder and C ompa rat i v e Environmenta l P ol i t i c s Examining Population Debates Through Gender Lenses Nicole Detraz In March 2010, I attended a workshop of environmental politics scholars. During the course of our small group discussions on the future of environmental politics someone said, “can we put population growth back on the table now?” After a few seconds of silence, another participant said “no, because of everything else that goes with it.” I have thought about that exchange frequently over the intervening years. These were two scholars from the same field who expressed significantly different views about what it meant to “put population growth on the table.” For some, talking about population might mean opening the door to understanding how human behavior influences serious, large-​scale environmental problems. For others, it might mean opening the door to blaming certain groups of people, often women from the Global South, for these same environmental problems. Environmental activism and policy-​making have long been shaped by questions of population growth. Malthusian predictions of food shortages, environmental decline, and human misery have influenced environmental discussions for centuries. More recently, attention to numerous topics related to population has increased, including the links between population growth and/​or movement and climate change and also concerns about ageing and shrinking populations across the international system. While population trends are driven by changes in three factors—​fertility, migration, and mortality—​many population debates within both academics and policy-​making have contained an oversized focus on fertility. This chapter uses gender lenses to evaluate recent population debates and the implications of dominant discourses within those debates. “Discourses” refer to the way we make sense of the world. They are powerful forces within both academic and policy debates. I use Maarten Hajer’s (1995, p. 45) definition of discourses as “specific ensembles of ideas, concepts and categorization that are produced, reproduced and transformed in a particular set of practices and through which meaning is given to physical and social realities.” This definition suggests that discourses are constantly evolving entities shaped by society over

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    241 time. Simultaneously, discourses are entities that actors can draw on strategically in order to gain attention for a particular issue or frame an issue in a specific way. Examining population discourses enables us as scholars of environmental politics to understand debates about population as fluid and socially conditioned. Many scholars have weighed in on not only population dynamics in the international system, but also on population discourses, or the ways we understand and talk about population as an issue that connects with the environment (Bhatia et al. 2020; Coole 2013; Hartmann 1995, 2010a, 2010b; Ojeda et al. 2020; Sasser 2018). This chapter builds on this scholarship as well as feminist environmental research spanning multiple disciplines to ask about the gendered implications of environment and population discourses. It focuses largely on population discourses in the US context that have also tended to have implications far outside of US borders. Women appear in various guises across environment and population frames—​as childbearers, as climate refugees, as poor immigrants, and as marginalized members of society in need of empowerment—​but what are the implications of these portrayals? Paying particular attention to the politics of climate change, this chapter argues that environment and population discourses in multiple spaces continue to reflect rigid gender norms and assumptions about who in society are environmental saviors and who are environmental problems (see also chapters in the volume by Kashwan, Fuentes-​George, and Kronsell, et al.). It argues that failure to critically evaluate population discourses contributes to injustice among peoples and among states. While the most extreme forms of population discourses linking women’s fertility to food insecurity and environmental decline have shifted away from their most extreme versions, other developments are also worrying from the perspective of gender justice.

Population Debates Over Time There are numerous actors who use environment and population frames, including international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), states, and academics in various disciplines. Within the Global North, concern about population growth is typically traced back to the writing of English clergyman and economist Thomas Malthus in the late 1700s.1 Malthus (1798) feared that decline and disaster would be brought on by an overwhelming throng of people—​the poor in particular. He was doubtful that technology or human ingenuity could avoid the very worst consequences of population growth—​including famine, poverty, and pestilence. He advocated sexual abstinence and late marriages as individual-​level changes necessary to reduce population growth. He also suggested revisions to public welfare as a way to discourage large families (Dalby 2009; Hartmann 1995; Robertson 2012). These Malthusian fears about population impacts declined during the course of the 19th century as birth rates in Europe dropped. Concerns about overpopulation reappeared over time in the works of several prominent scholars like Garrett Hardin, Paul and Anne Ehrlich, and the Club of Rome (Bandarage 1997). These scholars represented a resurgence in scholarly and public use of alarmist overpopulation narratives in the 1960s and 1970s, often drawing from biological sciences “that emphasized carrying capacity, ecological interconnection, overconsumption, degradation, and hard limits to growth” (Robertson 2012,

242   Nicole Detraz Average Annual Rate of Change of the Total Population (percent) 3.00 2.50 2.00 1.50 1.00 0.50 0.00

1950 – 1955 – 1960 – 1965 – 1970 – 1975 – 1980 – 1985 – 1990 – 1995 – 2000 – 2005 – 2010 – 2015 – 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 World Middle-income countries Upper-middle-income countries

High-income countries Lower-middle-income countries Low-income countries

Figure 13.1  Average annual rate of change of the total population (percent). Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2018).

p. 2). These neo-​Malthusians shifted focus from population growth rates among the poor in the Global North to population growth rates in the Global South. They continued to argue that the overarching outcome of “unchecked” population growth would be massive levels of food scarcity. Once again, these dire predictions did not come to pass as predicted. For instance, policies and agricultural reforms associated with the Green Revolution resulted in increased food production in many states in the Global South between the 1960s and 1980s (Clapp 2012). While the Green Revolution has been strongly critiqued on both social and environmental grounds, it illustrates that simplistic narratives about population growth leading to food insecurity are inaccurate (Hartmann 1995; Detraz 2017). Overall population growth has been slowing over the past several years. In 2019, the United Nations (2019, p. 1) noted that the world’s population was growing at its slowest pace since 1950. While still growing in many states in the Global South, particularly within low-​income countries2 (as seen in Figure 13.1), reduced levels of fertility in several states in the Global North have resulted in a slower rate of growth overall.3 These trends mean that population growth discourses continue to be focused on populations from or within the Global South (Figure 13.2). There have always been those who have vocally criticized alarmist overpopulation frames. Some critiques have focused on the links between technological promise and human population (Boserup 1992; Simon 1990). These perspectives tend to argue that population growth is a source of human innovation and ingenuity. Other critics of neo-​Malthusian overpopulation narratives point out that they are based on gendered, classed, and raced assumptions about “human behavior.” According to Betsy Hartmann (1995, p. 13), alarmist messages

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    243

Annual Total Population at Mid-Year (thousands) 9 000 000 8 000 000 7 000 000 6 000 000 5 000 000 4 000 000 3 000 000 2 000 000 1 000 000 0 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Africa World Asia Latin America and the Caribbean

Europe Northern America


Figure 13.2  Annual total population at mid-​year (thousands). Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2018).

have repeatedly found receptive audiences in the Global North because they draw on “deep undercurrents of parochialism, racism, elitism, and sexism, complementing the Social Darwinist ‘survival of the fittest view.’ ” Multiple scholars have used the opening scene of The Population Bomb as evidence of this tendency. In it, Ehrlich (1968), along with his wife Anne who was an uncredited author for the book, describe a cab ride their family took around Delhi in 1966. They describe scenes of people stacked upon people—​eating, visiting, washing, screaming, begging, clinging to buses. The book uses this anecdote as an example to draw the reader into a conversation about population, but it reflects a particular way of depicting people of the Global South that is fairly typical within population debates. According to Charles Mann (2018), The Ehrlichs took the cab ride in 1966. How many people lived in Delhi then? A bit more than 2.8 million, according to the United Nations. By comparison, the 1966 population of Paris was about 8 million. No matter how carefully one searches through archives, it is not easy to find expressions of alarm about how the Champs-​Élysées was “alive with people.” Instead, Paris in 1966 was an emblem of elegance and sophistication.

In the years since the book’s publication, Ehrlich has complained that critics unfairly focus in on that early passage, yet he cannot refute that he chose it as his hook, and it found purchase. It is consistent with much of the dominant environment and population discourses from the 1960s and 1970s which tended to identify communities in the Global South where population growth was high as “the other” with unsustainable and irrational ways that differed from Global North. No one would dispute that cities like Delhi experienced rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, the population of Delhi had reached 4.4 million by 1975, which represented a dramatic gain over the course of just one decade. Much of this

244   Nicole Detraz increase was due to urbanization—​people moving to the city to work in factories and other industrial employment, a trend supported by several government initiatives (Mann 2018). What this chapter addresses is the way we describe these trends: the lenses we use to understand and act on them and the implications they have for how we understand and act toward the communities they are applied to. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that Northern population discourses were influential in shaping the terms of global population debates. Northern fears about population growth were exported to colonies during the colonial period and continued to influence policy-​making of many elites who became leaders post-​independence (Hartmann 1995). Many newly independent states also supported investments in nutrition and health initiatives for women and children. These kinds of policies contributed to rapid population growth rates and, simultaneously, varied forms of poverty and entrenched gender norms (Hartmann 1995; Harper 2016). Additionally, as population growth became squarely on the agenda in the Global North in the late 1960s and early 1970s, multiple international organizations funded and promoted programs to reduce fertility among the poor across the international system. These included the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, the Population Council, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (Connelly 2003).4 While the most alarming predictions of Malthusians have not come to pass, population discourses have remained in the international consciousness, although in slightly different forms over time. Larry Lohmann (2005, p. 82) describes two sides of Malthusianism—​a dark, monster version that speaks of “clouds of Barbarians” or a “human tide” overwhelming us, and a more palatable daytime Malthusianism. This is the Malthusianism that more visibly underpins a scaffolding of two centuries of productive thinking about private property, “free markets,” government policy, development, and biology. From what it sees as a natural, quasi-​logarithmic relationship between available food and the labor used to grow it, this Malthusianism derives or predicts a political regime featuring economic scarcity, enclosure, market-​allocated food and labor, inequality, sharp divisions between owners and nonowners of land and sexuality and a zero-​sum game between humans and nature, with the stakes being nature.

This daytime version avoids the starkest expressions of racism, sexism, and classism that marked (and still mark) its Jekyllish other half. It relies on “common knowledge” of the ways “we” know things must work (Hildyard 1999). Through the years this daytime Malthusianism has made its way into discussions about environmental and climate security as well as immigration and environmental change. It is to these two specific discourses that we next turn.

Population and Environmental Security Discourse The population and environmental security discourse has been widely used by scholars, policy-​makers, and the media for several decades (Detraz 2014). The key linkages are between population pressures, environmental change, and insecurity of the state or human communities. A central storyline within the discourse connects population growth as well as population movement to environmental scarcity and this scarcity to conflict and state

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    245 instability.5 The storyline identifies a range of connections between population and insecurity, including population growth overwhelming state capacity for the provision of basic services, to conflicts over access to scarce resources, to lack of economic opportunities—​ particularly for large cohorts of young people—​leading to social unrest (Choucri 1974; Homer-​Dixon 1999). This focus on scarcity and resource distribution is a consistent storyline in this frame. In the words of Norman Myers (1996, p. 152), “environmental problems are compounded by the factors of population growth, if not caused by it. This factor serves both to exacerbate environmental decline and to leave still larger numbers of people suffering environmental impoverishment. Thus, there is great scope in population growth for conflict of multiple types—​scope that will increase as growing numbers of people try to sustain themselves off declining environments.” Within these scholarly works the population and environmental security discourse treats population “pressure” as a variable that interacts with others to influence both causes and experiences of environmental damage. They tend to approach the issue of population in a clinical way, avoiding the alarmist tone of earlier neo-​Malthusian work while still pointing to population growth as a potential challenge to environmental sustainability or state/​ human security. The population and environmental security discourse has also appeared in numerous policy documents and reports by states and international organizations from around the world (Dalby 2009; Floyd 2010). Population and environmental security storylines were enthusiastically embraced in the 1990s by many in the US foreign policy establishment. Work like that of Homer-​Dixon6 and others helped provide the underpinning for a post-​Cold War shift for defense and intelligence agencies (Hartmann 2010a). The discourse helped transition environmental concerns from low politics to high politics and, with it, transition to the purview of militarized institutions. Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2014) has indicated a link between climate change, population displacement, and potential conflict by saying “[p]‌opulations that lack the resources for planned migration experience higher exposure to extreme weather events, particularly in developing countries with low income. Climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts by amplifying well-​documented drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks.” This statement illustrates the discourse’s focus on the connections between population and environmental security. It also specifically contains an emphasis on population movement and how that can heighten insecurity.

Population and Immigration Discourse The IPCC statement illustrates some of the connections between the population and environmental security discourse and a separate but related population and immigration discourse. The population and immigration discourse is rooted in concern about the negative side effects of population movement, or migration. This discourse focuses on both environmental and social/​political impacts of migration and the links across them. It specifically emphasizes population movement either internally or across borders, but also often includes the argument that migration will increase when population growth increases due to the resource demands discussed earlier. A good deal of scholarly work focuses on the relationships between environmental change, population growth and movement, and state instability or conflict (Baechler 1999; Myers 2001; Percival and Homer-​Dixon 2001; Swain

246   Nicole Detraz 1996; Westing 1992; 1994). Some of the same mechanisms are at play within this discourse—​ perceived scarcity and insecurity in particular—​but there is a specific focus on migration either caused or exacerbated by environmental change. People fleeing environmental marginalization or natural disasters are typically regarded as security threats within this frame. Simon Dalby (2009, p. 144) explains when these migrants are linked to refugee and immigration concerns, and especially to illegal immigration and the potential political problems caused by these people, as has frequently been done in the post-​9/​11 world, then once again the criminal frame and the security response are deemed necessary. The dangers of this come precisely in circumstances where sudden mass migrations are triggered by disasters.

Using this discourse, migrants are cast as burdens on scarce resources and potential problems for the state to address. An additional storyline in the population and immigration discourse focuses on the specific environmental consequences of immigration. Actors, including scholars, policy-​makers, and NGOs, have put forward several reasons for why migration might contribute to long-​ term environmental harm, including the idea that immigrant populations from the Global South tend to have higher fertility rates than existing populations in the Global North and that these populations will likely increase their environmental footprint if they adopt prevalent lifestyles of the Global North (Price and Feldmeyer 2012).7 We can see multiple examples of this storyline over years of US policy-​making. For instance, the 1996 President’s Council on Sustainable Development Population and Consumption Task Force Report (1996, p. 8), concluded that while it “is a sensitive issue,” “reducing immigration levels is a necessary part of population stability and the drive toward sustainability.” The report contained a number of specific population policy recommendations,8 including a goal to “[i]‌ncrease and improve public outreach, educational efforts, and access to related contraceptive methods and reproductive health,” particularly among adolescents, along with a call to “[d]evelop immigration and foreign policies that reduce illegal immigration, while researching the links between demographic change and sustainable development.” We can see evidence of the population and immigration discourse in global environmental negotiations as well. For instance, Harlan Watson, the chief US negotiator at the 2007 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convention argued that high immigration to the United States makes it harder to slow its rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He argued that “It’s simple arithmetic. . . . If you look at mid-​ century, Europe will be at 1990 levels of population while ours will be nearing 60 percent above 1990 levels. So population does matter” (Doyle 2007). In both of these examples, immigration is framed as an environmental negative that the United States has to address. Several academic studies have examined the influence of immigration on environmental negatives like air pollution and GHG emissions in the United States and found very little to support the argument that immigration leads to greater levels of environmental harm than other factors (Price and Feldmeyer 2012; Squalli 2009). There are several reasons put forth for why immigration fails to result in greater environmental change, including that immigrants tend to have lower levels of consumption than those born in the United States (Dietz and Rosa 1997). Additionally, recent immigrants tend to express higher concern for the environment and are more likely to engage in environmentally friendly behaviors

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    247 such as reduced meat consumption and water conservation than are US-​born individuals (Hunter 2000; Pfeffer and Stycos 2002). Despite this empirical evidence to the contrary, the immigration and environmental harm storyline continues to be repeated as justification for immigration reform or immigration limits in the United States and beyond. The storyline has been used quite visibly by US-​based organizations like Carrying Capacity Network, NumbersUSA, and Population-​ Environment Balance who present links between immigration, often specifically framed as “illegal” immigration, and environmental issues like trash/​pollution, increased risk of fires, illegal roads, and declining wildlife populations in border regions. They also express fears about issues like increased pollution, congestion, traffic, and sprawl in cities, as well as increased GHG emissions due to immigration. Several of these organizations9 have been linked to noted anti-​immigration activist and conservationist John Tanton. Tanton was an ophthalmologist who was heavily involved in US environmental advocacy in the late 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, he chaired the Sierra Club’s National Population Committee as well as founded and served on the board of Zero Population Growth (Hultgren 2015). Over the years, Tanton became associated with anti-​immigration policies considered too extreme for most mainstream environmental organizations, yet he got his start with a great concern about the environmental negatives of “overpopulation.” This is consistent with what scholar Betsy Hartmann has called “the greening of hate”: using environmental concerns to justify harsh policies aimed at marginalized communities (Aufrecht 2012). Both the population and environmental security discourse as well as the population and immigration discourse have received significant criticism from scholars who argue that, like other neo-​Malthusian narratives, they are premised on problematic assumptions that often simplify the relationship between population growth, population movement, and environment change (Barnett 2001; Dalby 2009; Lohmann 2005; Hartmann 2010a; Hartmann and Hendrixson 2005). Taken together, the discourses reflect concerns beyond the simple link between population growth and scarcity to include fears about not only the sustainability of ecosystems, but also the composition of states. “This questionable premise escapes notice when embedded in stories of undeserving Others moving into Our space; or of the commons being overexploited by free riders; or of population bombs going off; or of Our overloaded lifeboat in the middle of a lake in a storm being faced with the prospect of Others from surrounding shipwrecks trying to clamber aboard” (Lohmann 2005, pp. 92–​ 93). In other words, the frames combine fears of insecurity, scarcity, or environmental damage with the fear of the behavior of “the other.” For Malthus, “the other” was the throngs of “the poor” who were destined to make trouble for themselves and the whole community. For the population and environmental security discourse, “the other” is the community that will overwhelm an already weak state or engage in violence over access to scarce resources. One particularly troubling aspect of these discourses, along with the other dominant threads of population debates, rarely, if ever, considers the myriad ways that population growth and movement are deeply gendered as well as raced and classed (Detraz 2014). The migration component of the population and immigration discourse in particular renders it useful for highlighting how “otherness” is infused in these debates. It is concern for the behavior of “them” that has allowed the frame to guide thinking about women’s fertility and whether it constitutes a problem for the state. When gender does appear in these discourses, it is through the implicit depiction of women as childbearers. Nonwhite women, and particularly black women, have been cast “in the dramatic role of the helplessly fertile Others”

248   Nicole Detraz (Lohmann 2005, p. 93). The desire to restrict immigration in the name of environmental protection echoes previous tendencies to target the fertility of black women in places like the United States, United Kingdom, and South Africa for the goals of poverty reduction or resource control. Marginalized women were most frequently targeted for population control measures like sterilization—​first poor white women when Malthusian narratives focused mostly on class, then women of color as their orientation shifted over time (Hartmann 1995). While China’s “one child” policy is likely the most widely known throughout the world, numerous states have implemented severe population reduction measures over time, including the sterilization of individuals who were classified as “unfit” to reproduce. For example, it is estimated that thousands of women a year underwent forced sterilization in the United States between the late 1960s and early 1970s. A large number of these women were black, Native American, and Hispanic (Nelson 2003). Policies in states around the world which attempt to address “overpopulation” have frequently targeted poor women or women who are members of minority or marginalized groups. Very few examples of population control measures, including coercive ones, have targeted men (Bandarage 1997; Hartmann 1995). These policy battles have largely played out on marginalized women’s bodies. Both environmental organizations and anti-​immigration organizations have used population and environmental security as well as population and immigration discourses to express dismay at what they see as the environmental problems wrought by immigration.10 Some of these discourses rely on problematic frames to paint women of color as a root of environmental ills (Hartmann 2010a; Hultgren 2015). John Hultgren (2015: 128) explains that “immigration ‘restrictionists’ place incredible emphasis on women’s fertility . . . [w]‌hether done out of genuine environmental concerns or anxieties related to a declining Anglo-​European majority.” In some cases, the health of the environment has been used as a screen for what at closer examination appears to be a deeper concern about the changing demographic composition of the state and society. “Subsumed into the analytic frame of population pressure, women through their fertility become the breeders of environmental destruction, poverty, and even violence, and controlling their fertility becomes a magic-​bullet solution” (Hartmann 2010a, p. 204). Men’s role in population growth is rarely discussed. When men do appear in demographic fears, they often play the role of potentially dangerous young men in the Global South who make up youth bulges (Sasser 2018). Both depictions of Southern women as childbearers and Southern men as prone to violence illustrate racially problematic assumptions about who makes trouble and where environmental trouble comes from.

Population, Environmental Health, and Empowerment Discourse The previous two section outlined discourses that highlight negative connections between environmental sustainability and population growth or population movement. This section explores an alternative population discourse which has emerged over the past several

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    249 decades and that specifically attempts to shed the Malthusian association of previous population debates and orient itself with discourses of sustainability coupled with women’s empowerment. This shift has been specifically associated with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, where the norms and language of “population control” instead became the norms and language of “reproductive rights and health” (Eager 2004; Hartmann 2010a). The population, environmental health, and empowerment discourse paints population reduction, environmental sustainability, and women’s empowerment as a “win-​win-​win” situation. Various actors have called for things like social revolutions to enable women to make informed decisions about their reproductive choices, specifically within the frame of achieving environmental sustainability (Firor and Jacobsen 2002). For instance, Paul Ehrlich, of Population Bomb fame, argued in 2018 that we should “give women absolutely equal rights and opportunities. Make sure everybody has access to modern contraception and backup abortion. Teach everybody that you can have lots of fun with sex without having lots of children and change our entire society” (Ehrlich 2018). Additionally, climate change, contraception, and population all featured in speeches by both Bill Gates and former Vice President Al Gore at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos (Cox 2014). The population, environmental health, and empowerment frame has been widely used by the international development sector and typically contains an implicit assumption that actors in the Global North will be involved in providing poor women around the world with universal, voluntary access to contraceptives and education opportunities which will enable them to “make decisions about their childbearing in ways that affirm their human rights while benefiting the environment by decreasing human numbers. In this schema, fewer people will consume resources and use polluting technologies, relieving pressure on the earth and its atmosphere” (Sasser 2018, p. 2). It should be noted that the population, environmental health, and empowerment discourse is different from a specific, unique concern about women’s reproductive health. There are plenty of discourses oriented around a particular focus on ways to foster greater social and health outcomes for women around the world. These discourses center the wants and needs of women as the goal in and of itself rather than linking it to global concerns about environmental sustainability, overpopulation, or resource use. They respond to the very real need for maternal, infant, and childhood health services as well as poverty reduction and family planning services in countries in both the Global South and Global North (United Nations Population Fund 2019). In the context of the United States, scholars highlights frameworks like the Reproductive Justice (RJ) social movement—​a movement led by feminist women of color activists—​as an example of a frame that centers the health and agency of women (Luna 2009; Ross 2017; Sasser 2018). After 1994, RJ activists applied the human rights framework of the ICPD in Cairo to American reproductive debates and policy-​making. They organized a strategy based on a rejection of the extensive history of reproductive oppression in the United States which has been explicitly marked by race, gender, and poverty. [T]‌he founders of the RJ movement de-​center individual, private choice, abortion, and contraceptive access in their activism, replacing them with a comprehensive focus on the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts that shape women’s reproductive lives. Within this comprehensive focus, RJ activists frame the movement around the centrality of the right to

250   Nicole Detraz have children as well as the right not to have them, and to raise them with the necessary social resources to do so. (Sasser 2018, p. 126)

This is an example of a population discourse that is fundamentally oriented around the experiences and needs of those communities who are most impacted by population policies, along with other social and economic policies. On the other hand, the population, environmental health, and empowerment discourse is specifically oriented first around the problem of environmental change, and women’s empowerment is regarded as one way to address it. While it has proved to be extremely popular with states, international organizations (IGOs), and NGOs,11 it has been sharply critiqued as well. Critics argue that the discourse provides a positive spin on population fears while propping up dangerous narratives about women of the Global South as environmental problems. Betsy Hartmann (2010a, p. 194) argues that while the Cairo consensus “has helped spark many necessary reforms, it has also provided renewed legitimacy to neo-​ Malthusianism in US liberal policy circles, as one can now supposedly support women’s rights and population control at the same time.” Whereas previous population discourses often ignored gender in ways that were extremely detrimental to the human security of women across the international community, the population, environmental health, and empowerment discourse places “women” squarely at the forefront. However, the women are presented as “sexual stewards” in the words of Jade Sasser (2018, p. 5). In this depiction, “ ‘women’ are assumed to be fertile, reproductive beings, whose improved status will ideally lead to making responsible family choices—​choices that include the proper spacing, timing, and number of children that will slow global population growth.” Since this discourse is frequently connected to global environmental problems like climate change, these sexual stewards have their individual reproductive behaviors understood through the lens of global environmental calamity. Their fertility is seen as a legitimate concern for the international community because it is cast as a component of global environmental problems. It is bound up in the fears discussed in the previous sections—​fear of food insecurity, fear of resource conflict, fear of altered demographic composition—​thus making avoiding unwanted outcomes the central goal and women’s empowerment something secondary to it. The problem with this is that when women’s empowerment is no longer tied to the main goal of sustainability, then the international community no longer needs to prioritize it. Women’s empowerment, reproductive health, and gender justice in general are on much firmer footing when they are the heart of the discourse rather than a means to a different end. At the same time, the solutions to “overpopulation” offered tend to be oriented around individual women, including increased use of contraceptives and increased education. While these undoubtedly have resulted in better health and social outcomes for women in many circumstances (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2019), this focus on the individual underemphasizes larger issues like poverty, gender inequality, and lack of access to comprehensive healthcare, all of which are thoroughly connected to women’s fertility and reproduction (Sasser 2018). Additionally, the focus on women’s fertility as a source of environmental trouble leaves men’s role in environmental change unexamined. It also allows policy-​makers, scholars, and others in the Global North to highlight behavior in the Global South as the driver of environmental change. It reinforces

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    251 popular assumptions about where threats to environmental sustainability lie by continuing to point to the poor of the Global South, letting the consumption of the Global North off the hook or at least out of the spotlight. More alarmingly, these same assumptions have resulted in decades worth of policies that undermine human security. These depictions of Southern women not only simplify environmental problems, but also can be used to justify dangerous policies like sterilization and other coercive elements of population control (Hartmann 2010b). The population, environmental health, and empowerment discourse, therefore, includes several problematic elements from the perspective of both gender justice and environmental sustainability.

But Climate Change! Concerns about climate change have served to add additional urgency to many of the environment and population discourses just discussed (Detraz 2017). Various actors now want to “put population back on the table” in order to address climate change. The IPPC (2014, p. 4), for example, has specifically mentioned population growth as contributing to climate change, arguing that “[a]‌nthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-​industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. . . . Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-​20th century.” Thus, population growth is identified as one of the central drivers of climate change alongside economic growth. We have seen numerous actors link climate change with population concerns. Some have identified environmental motivations for funding or implementing population reduction policies. For example, a working paper published by the UK’s Department for International Development in 2010 cited climate change as one of the key reasons for supporting population reduction programs through international aid. The authors claimed that reducing population numbers would cut GHG. Despite the fact that the document warned of “complex human rights and ethical issues” involved in population control, it still outlined reasons to support these kinds of policies with aid (Chamberlain 2012). Population discourses have also specifically been applied to climate change through concerns about climate-​induced scarcities and/​or climate refugees (Hartmann 2014). This climate-​migration-​conflict nexus has been the subject of a great deal of academic literature (Brzoska and Fröhlich 2016; Burrows and Kinney 2016; Nordås and Gleditsch 2007). Additionally, other actors have used population discourses to sketch possible negative futures if we fail to address climate change. For instance, the US-​based Center for Naval Analyses (2007, p. 6) outlines a climate future where: Economic and environmental conditions in already fragile areas will further erode as food production declines, diseases increase, clean water becomes increasingly scarce, and large populations move in search of resources. Weakened and failing governments, with an already thin margin for survival, foster the conditions for internal conflicts, extremism, and movement toward increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies.

252   Nicole Detraz This depiction of the world matches the dominant storyline in the environmental security discourse that discusses climate change as a “threat multiplier” that worsens existing sources of insecurity and instability. What is particularly interesting about the climate-​migration-​ conflict nexus, however, is that the discourse itself seems to be guiding international debate, rather than empirical evidence. In the words of Theisen, Gleditsch, and Buhaug (2013, p. 613) “the policy debate is running well ahead of its academic foundation—​and sometimes even contrary to the best evidence.” For instance, many media outlets attempted to link climate change to violent conflicts in places like Syria along with heightened levels of migration to Europe, all without robust empirical evidence of these connections (Abel et al. 2019; Daoudy 2020; Selby 2019). This illustrates the overwhelming power of many population discourses: they operate based on things that we think must be true, whether or not they have empirical backing. Anyone paying attention to climate change research for the past several decades is acutely aware that human behavioral change is necessary to effectively address it. Those who caution against simplistic environment and population frames are not arguing that effective climate action can be undertaken without fundamental change in the way we think about our future and our past. Rather, this chapter argues that bringing population into climate debates requires careful recognition of the ways that dramatic population discourses have been used to enact violence on the bodies of marginalized groups for centuries. Joni Seager uses the concept of “populationism” to indicate that population policies go far beyond population control12 or strict efforts by the state to limit women’s fertility. For her, populationism refers to “the dogma and the rhetoric of population alarmism and population control” (quoted in Kaufman and Nelson 2012, p. 430). The concept is also used by others to indicate that the implications of population discourses are larger than specific fertility reduction policies (Angus and Butler 2011; Bhatia et al. 2020; Kaufman and Nelson 2012). The central point is that when women’s fertility is linked to a global crisis like climate change, policy-​making is made out of fear. This is different from a goal of improving health outcomes for women. While some population control measures in the United States and beyond have resulted in improvements to the status of women, this has not always been the primary goal. There is some blurring that occurs across discourses, but policies driven by fear are often different from those driven by a desire to promote human rights. This is why the current chapter is explicitly focusing on discourse: how we understand a problem is going to shape what we assume to be appropriate or effective steps to address it. This suggests that it is not as simple as drawing a straight line between environmental concerns and population policies. We cannot divorce policy formation with the societal assumptions that undergird population discourse. Across time, women’s fertility has been bound up with the fate of the planet, individual states, and various other human communities. There are implications to these bindings. Each of the environment and population discourses discussed identifies population growth, composition, or movement as problematic for things we as humans tend to hold dear: the health of our environment, our security, and the future of our community. They identify an “other” as engaging in problematic behavior that needs addressing: fighting over scarce resources, undermining the stability or overwhelming the resources of the state, increasing the state’s ecological footprint, or failing to make “correct” choices about having children. If our goal is women’s reproductive health, then we should use discourses specifically oriented around that goal. The RJ movement in the United States offers us an example

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    253 of what this might look like in a context with a specific history of racialized, gendered, and classed population debates and policies. RJ goals should be decoupled from climate fears if we are to be guided toward policies that center the needs and agency of women. Additionally, environmental problems like climate change must not be attributed largely to population growth when economic factors like consumption are such a central part of the story. Compared to population, discussions of consumption are still often missing in global policy debates about major environmental challenges (Maniates and Meyer 2010). Various actors in the United States, such as scholars, NGOs, and policy-​makers, have a long history of warning the international community about the environmental dangers of overpopulation, yet there has been significantly less use of discourses focused on the environmental threat of consumption. If fact, part of the population and immigration discourse assumes that we cannot afford to let “others” consume like “us” because it is unsustainable. There is rarely, if ever, mention of addressing the unsustainable consumption practices of US-​born individuals within anti-​immigration organizations who frame their concerns through environmental lenses. For instance, NumbersUSA (2020), an anti-​immigration organization, has the following quote from conservationist Dave Forman included in the “environmental concerns” section of their website: Those environmentalists who think we can double or triple US population without wiping out wildlife and scalping our last wildernesses, are living in a fool’s paradise. . . . Americans have the biggest Affluence Footprint per capita of any people in the world. Any population growth in the United States, then, is growth of these big Affluence Footprints. Population growth in the United States is thus more harmful to the world than population growth anywhere else because of our over-​big Affluence.

This passage highlights the affluence and consumption of the United States; however, the policy solutions advocated by NumbersUSA is to limit immigration, not to explicitly reduce consumption. In the context of climate change, the United States has one of the highest rates of carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the international system (World Bank 2020).13 As can be seen in Figure 13.1, population growth levels are being driven by low-​income countries followed by lower-​and middle-​income countries (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2018). These are not the countries that have historically contributed most to climate change, yet we spend a disproportionate amount of time in global climate debates fretting about future emissions levels in those states due to population growth. Our time seems better spent examining the environmental implications of the behavior of the affluent rather than target the socially, politically, and economically marginalized. While the international community has changed a great deal from the time of Thomas Malthus, the continuation of problematic environment and population discourses illustrate that we remain a long way from widely adopting population discourses that are grounded in equity and justice. Several articles published in the past few years have essentially argued that some forms of coercive approaches to population growth are justified for the greater good of avoiding climate change (Hickey et al. 2016; Walters 2007). These pieces use the urgency of climate change to legitimize policies that are ethically dubious in the minds of many. The stakes of “getting it wrong” on population are immensely high and will be borne by those with the least capacity to fight it. Betsy Hartmann (2010a, p. 239) put it well when she argued that “[p]‌laying with fear is like playing with fire. You cannot be sure exactly

254   Nicole Detraz where it will spread.” As social scientists, we have an obligation to think critically about how our work might be used. It is not enough to shrug and say that we had good intentions. Instead, we must reflect on where our research and debate have a great likelihood of being weaponized. Population discourses are one of the clearest examples of work that has huge potential to be used against people, and particularly people who are marginalized and contribute very little to major environmental problems like climate change as individuals. I argue that we must employ justice-​based discourses because climate change is such a crisis. We cannot understand arguments about the behavior of “humans” without recognizing that there are essential gendered, raced, classed, and other differences in human experience and action.14 History has given us countless examples of crisis enabling policies and approaches that would be unthinkable under other circumstances. We must ensure that our climate fears are not used as justification for continued marginalization or even violence in the Global South and within marginalized communities of the Global North.

Conclusion This chapter problematizes population and environment discourses. It draws on research spanning multiple disciplines that shine a light on the constructed nature of population discourses and their consequences. Colonial powers and the international community have employed discourses linking population and environmental degradation for centuries. Not only have these discourses shaped the assumptions of numerous actors about how population trends relate to environmental concerns, they have also influenced policy-​making in both the Global North and Global South. Population policies intended to reduce fertility or curb immigration have tended to have outsized impacts on women, particularly women from marginalized communities. The harshest versions of this Malthusian discourses have fallen out of favor among scholars and most global IGOs and NGOs. However, alternative population and environment discourses remain widely used by these actors. At the same time, additional population and environment discourses have emerged that seek to cast the problem of overpopulation as one that can be addressed by female empowerment. Because population and environment discourses persist in the international community, it is essential that scholars carefully examine the content and implications of these discourses to ensure that policies designed to achieve environmental sustainability do not end up resulting in human insecurity for marginalized groups. Discourses are collective shorthand for understanding the world. They are fluid and malleable, yet we do not often think of them that way. They are the stories we tell that begin to acquire the shine of truth. It is our duty as social scientists to critically examine discourses that have come to be taken by many as unfortunate but unavoidable truth. We must ask ourselves about the implications of casting marginalized women as environmental burdens and ensure that any attempts to “put population back on the table” are met with careful evaluations of where environmental trouble comes from and how best to address it in ways that are both sustainable and just.

Gender and Comparative Environmental Politics    255

Notes 1. In fact, scholars and policy-​makers had traditionally considered a large population to contribute positively to state power (Sciubba, Lamere, and Dabelko 2013). 2. Between 2015 and 2020, the states with the highest average annual rate of change in their total population were Bahrain (4.26%), Oman (4.08%), Niger (3.81%), Equatorial Guinea (3.59%), and Angola (3.28%). By region, Africa recorded the highest average annual rate of change in its total population between 2000 and 2020 followed by Oceania and Latin America and the Caribbean (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2018). 3. Between 2015 and 2020, the states with the highest negative average annual rate of change of their total population were Latvia (−1.03), Bulgaria (−0.67), Croatia (−0.58), Lithuania (−0.55), and Romania (−0.50). By region, Europe had the lowest average annual rate of change of its total population between 1950 and 2020 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2018). 4. Some have also argued that China’s “one child” policy, which started in 1979—​later adapted to a “two child” policy in 2016—​was heavily influenced by 1960s and 1970s Northern population narratives, particularly the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report (Greenhalgh 2003). 5. The environmental conflict storyline has been closely associated with thinkers like Thomas Homer-​Dixon (1999), former director of the Project on Environment, Population and Security at the University of Toronto (known as the Toronto Group). 6. Hartmann (2010a, p. 199) argues that Homer-​Dixon’s work specifically had a large role in this. “His particular rendering of the degradation narrative found its way almost verbatim into speeches of top officials from the White House, State Department, CIA, and US Department of Defense, as well as into many academic, popular, and policy publications on population, environment, and security.” 7. An additional argument says that because immigrant communities “serve as an attractive source of low-​wage labor for many businesses, immigrant populations may inadvertently attract and support the development of industrial and manufacturing sectors of the labor market (e.g., meat processing, textile industries) that tend to contribute to pollution problems” (Price and Feldmeyer 2012, p. 123). 8. The report also included several recommendations about reducing or altering consumption patterns as well (President’s Council on Sustainable Development 1996). 9. Tanton was instrumental in the creation of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA, US Inc., the Immigration Reform Law Institute and Journal, the Social Contract, US English, and ProEnglish, as well as provide funding to numerous other immigration restrictionist organizations (Hultgren 2015). 10. John Hultgren (2015) points to US-​based examples like the Sierra Club, Alliance for a Sustainable USA, Californians for Population Stabilization, NumbersUSA, and Progressives for Immigration Reform as using an “ecocommunitarianism restrictionist” discourse. This discourse fits with Lohmann’s (2005) “daytime Malthusianism,” which present links between population change and environmental change in ways that are palatable to multiple communities, including some on the left of the political spectrum that would outright reject works like The Population Bomb.

256   Nicole Detraz 11. Some argue that the population, environmental health, and empowerment discourse serves to co-​ opt some of the language and storylines associated with women’s reproductive health discourses, but in some cases with ultimate goals that are antithetical to women’s agency. Sasser (2018) argues that some of the language of the RJ movement is used by environmental organizations like the Sierra Club; however, they also continue to highlight population growth in the Global South as an environmental “problem.” 12. Population control refers to “top-​down, coercive interventions (often rooted in imperialist foreign policy) that have an explicit goal of lowering birth rates; it designates ideologies shaped by eugenicist and neo-​Malthusian thinking; it delimits an arena of multi-​lateral activity; and it identifies a movement of heterodox actors including neo-​ Malthusians, donors, eugenicists, pro-​natalists, nativists, birth controllers and others who aimed to control the population of the world” (Bhatia et al. 2020, p. 335). 13. In 2016, the United States had 15.5 metric tons per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Other Global North states had similar levels: Australia (15.54) and Canada (15.09). China recorded 7.18 metric tons per capita CO2 emissions, while India had 1.81 (World Bank 2020). 14. This is why some scholars critique the label “Anthropocene” as glossing over some of these important social, economic, and political realities of human behavior. For instance, see Ojeda et al. (2020).

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Pa rt I I I


Chapter 14

E nvironm enta l J u st i c e , Cl imate Ju sti c e , a nd Animal Libe rat i on Movem e nts Confronting the Problems of Social Difference David N. Pellow Introduction In this chapter, I explore key points of tension and friction between the climate/​environmental justice and animal liberation movements. Animal studies scholars have pointed to the lack of engagement between and among these movements—​as well as the dearth of scholarship on their intersections (Fitzgerald and Pellow 2014; Pellow 2013, 2014, 2017). This chapter charts such crossings and missed opportunities, drawing on the literatures from environmental justice, climate justice, and critical animal studies. My primary contention is that the driving force behind the tensions among these movements is social difference—​in particular, how to engage questions of race, gender, and social class on the same discursive plane as the “animal question” or the category of species (and specifically as a social category). I examine sites and cases where scholars and activists might productively work through these thorny, sensitive, and controversial issues. While these points of conflict will continue to shape interactions and avoidances among key stakeholders in these communities, I argue that they are also a source for advancing intellectual and political agendas. Such opportunities can respond to Stephanie Malin and Stacia Ryder’s (2018) call for “deeply intersectional environmental justice” research. Scholars and advocates must engage these questions in order to develop more robust explanations for the drivers of—​and substantive responses to—​the multidimensional challenges of ecological inequality. I ground this analysis in the concept of “deeply intersectional environmental justice” because it offers a framework for addressing these tensions across movements. The starting

264   David N. Pellow point for this framework is Black feminist legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw’s (1991) pioneering concept of intersectionality, which refers to the ways in which different systems of oppression and privilege interlock to produce and reinforce inequalities along multiple axes, including race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability, citizenship, and much more (see also chapters by Detraz; Fuentes George; and Kronsell et al. in this volume). For example, the experience of living in this society as a Black, working class, queer woman is generally very different from that of a Black, middle-​class man, and certainly distinct from that of a White, wealthy, heterosexual man. Thus, being defined as Black or a woman is insufficient to understand the full complexity of one’s identities and one’s experiences with oppression and/​or privilege. That is to say, knowing someone’s race or gender alone cannot capture the range of intersecting social categories of difference that we embody. One of the most enduring and significant lessons from Crenshaw’s work is that various social identities or social categories of difference do not act independently of one another; they interrelate and work together to produce advantages and disadvantages. Thus, scholars should avoid essentializing entire communities and populations because there is a range of complex experiences and identities within each group. What this also means is that oppression cannot be reduced to a single fundamental type of inequality and that we are all multiply situated because we all inhabit many social categories of difference, which makes for infinite possibilities with respect to coalition building to confront oppression in all of its complexities. This applies to environmental justice movements, for example. Malin and Ryder (2018, p. 4) build on Crenshaw’s work (and the broader body of Black feminist scholarship out of which it emerges) and argue that the scholarship on environmental justice studies often avoids examining the ways in which environmental concerns intersect with a range of social identities and power structures that reveal how complex the origins and impacts of environmental injustices are on individuals and communities. They propose a “deeply intersectional” environmental justice methodology, which should “explicitly recognize and iteratively analyze the contextual/​historical, often mutually reinforcing, inseparable, and multiply oppressive structures that intersect to control and dominate marginalized individuals and communities while simultaneously privileging powerful actors.” Malin and Ryder (2018, p. 4) add that “deeply intersectional” approaches to environmental justice scholarship would best be served by a recognition that such injustices are “embedded in, inseparable from, and often exacerbated by particular conditions of social inequality, injustice, and oppression that precede environmental justice concerns.” For Malin and Ryder, these categories and conditions include racism, heteropatriarchy, ageism, ableism, colonialism, nativism, sexism, and much more. Even so, as expansive and critical as deeply intersectional environmental justice is, it stops its reach at the border of the human. Here I argue that we can build out Malin and Ryder’s concept a step further to include species and what scholars have called the “animal question.” If we are engaging in truly deeply intersectional environmental justice scholarship, then any discussion of social difference among humans is always predicated and premised on an implicit (if not explicit) reference point of the nonhuman—​whether that be nonhuman spaces, ecosystems, habitats that constitute “the environment,” or nonhuman animals. The very category of human is understood to be a figure that is explicitly set apart (and usually above) from the nonhuman animal. And the ideas of race and racial difference within the human family are always set against a backdrop of how certain humans—​non-​ Europeans, for example—​have long been defined as closer to nature, more proximal to

Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    265 nonhumans, and/​or as subhumans. The model of the Great Chain of Being, for example, for centuries, claimed that humans were superior to nonhumans and that white Europeans were superior to non-​Europeans (Kim 2015). Moreover, racial differences among humans were historically believed to be driven by environmental causes, thus revealing the many ways in which social categories of difference are—​at least in the popular and historical-​ scientific imagination—​linked to nonhuman bodies and forces. Therefore, I contend that “deeply intersectional” scholarship on environmental topics necessarily must engage with the human/​nonhuman divide. In the next sections, I consider the ways in which movements for environmental and climate justice and animal rights offer lessons for how activists might approach the challenge of deeply intersectional thinking and action in their work.

Social Movements, Disconnections, and Intersections Environmental Justice and Climate Justice Movements The environmental justice and climate justice movements are largely mobilized around a framing that threats to environmental and climate health are also disproportionately impacting marginalized populations around the globe (Bullard 2000; Sze 2020). Specifically, Indigenous people, immigrants, people of color, working class communities, women, disabled, and LGBTQ populations bear the brunt of a range of environmental and climate risks and harms and have the least resources to adapt to and mitigate these threats. These movements have successfully recast environmental and climate concerns as civil rights and human rights matters. These intersections of ecological damage and social inequality gave rise to the terms “environmental injustice,” “environmental racism,” and “climate injustice,” which also underscore the inequitable nature of these phenomena because the communities experiencing those hardships are the least responsible for producing environmental and climate disruptions in the first place. For example, many communities of color are located in close proximity to coal-​fired power plants, which are the leading contributor to global climate change and emit air pollutants that endanger the health of those same communities (whose residents frequently receive little access to the electricity generated by those power plants and pay disproportionately more when they do). Moreover, these movements argue that what might appear to be strictly minoritarian concerns are actually reflective of the driving forces causing our general ecological and climate crises: that is, racism and social inequality are the root causes of environmental disorganization, so it is in the majority’s interest to embrace and support environmental and climate justice (Bhavnani et al. 2019). Many climate justice activists articulate and experience “climate embodiment”—​the myriad ways in which ordinary people are impacted by and respond to the seemingly distant (and hotly contested) issue of anthropogenic climate disruption (Mendez 2020). These leaders from communities on the front lines of the movement also frequently frame their concerns in broader terms, including a critique that maintains that capitalism is the root cause of the climate crisis, thus pushing beyond a traditional environmental movement orientation that tends to work within the existing political economic system (Klein 2014).

266   David N. Pellow Environmental justice and climate justice movement activists are well-​ versed in articulating the myriad ways in which social difference matters to their cause. The majority of their leaders and supporters hail from demographically and culturally diverse backgrounds, and the very framing of their critique and vision of change centers around the ways in which culturally marginalized populations’ experiences and knowledges must be centered. But what these movements have not done so well is to take seriously the ways in which nonhumans have also been deeply impacted by our environmental and climate crises. This is an area of consideration that arises infrequently, and, when it does, it tends to be relegated to a secondary concern that follows a line of reasoning that nonhumans are “also” impacted by ecological and climate crises. For example, nonhumans are invoked in two of the guiding documents of these movements: the Principles of Environmental Justice (Principles 1991) and the Bali Principles of Climate Justice (International Climate Justice Network 2002). These documents were penned by activists seeking to provide a foundation for action that would be far reaching and intersectional, and the Principles of Climate Justice document builds directly on the Principles of Environmental Justice from a decade earlier. With respect to consideration of nonhumans, these documents invoke language in defense of “other life forms,” “a sustainable planet for all living things,” and the “interdependence of all species.” These are generally vague proclamations that fall short of demanding animal rights or liberation, but they do reveal concern for the protection of ecosystems and habitats required for the continued existence of nonhumans. In that regard, the environmental justice movement reflects a similar approach to nonhuman defense as the more mainstream, middle-​class, White environmental movement. Particularly noteworthy is Principle 13 in the Principles of Environmental Justice: “Environmental Justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.” What is fascinating about this demand is that there is no consideration of extending the same protections to nonhumans, when in fact it is nonhuman animals who are routinely subjected to these acts as a core practice of the medical industry. Thus, the environmental justice and climate justice movements have done well at reframing and refocusing what had previously been social causes dominated by White middle-​class activists who tended to ignore the ways in which social inequality and social difference intersect with and drive human society’s impacts on ecosystems, thus transforming environmentalism into a civil and human rights cause. Despite those advances, environmental and climate justice movements have not invested much energy in extending consideration directly to the question of animal rights, indicating that while basic intersectional environmental justice is clearly evident, deeply intersectional approaches have yet to take root.

Animal Welfare, Animal Rights, and Animal Liberation Movements There is a long history of individuals and organizations mobilizing for the protection and defense of nonhumans. In the nineteenth century, English activists like Edward Carpenter (1844–​1929) and Henry Salt (1851–​1939) supported animal rights and vegetarianism. They also variously worked for a range of other causes, including pacifism, LGBTQ rights,

Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    267 women’s rights, and socialism. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Britain (RSPCA) gained ground at that time, and its American offshoots—​the American Humane Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)—​frequently located the solution to animal welfare in changing the attitudes and practices of working-​class society rather than linking animal subjugation to capitalism or other larger social forces. Peter Singer, a philosopher and inspirational figure for the modern animal rights movement, celebrated the significant linkages between early animal protection leadership with women’s rights movements and abolitionist movements (Singer 1975, p. 234). For example, he noted that William Wilberforce and Fowell Buxton, two leaders of the British slavery abolitionist movement, were also co-​founders of the RSPCA. A number of foundational American women’s movement leaders such as Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton created enduring connections to both the vegetarian and antislavery movements. By the second half of the twentieth century, the animal advocacy movement evolved from a 1950s era framing of animal abuse as a result of troubling individual behavior to an understanding that institutions—​especially corporations—​and a broader ideological dynamic that permeated American culture were the primary culprits. Moreover, the idea was not just that animal exploitation was ethically objectionable, but that nonhumans themselves were sentient beings who should have rights under law. Since the 1960s through the present, animal rights and animal liberation activists have also drawn inspiration from the civil rights, Black Power, gay rights, and feminist movements to argue that animal rights are the logical end point in the centuries-​long struggles for justice among a spectrum of marginalized populations, be they human or nonhuman. Throughout this period, many animal rights activists have made comparisons between the suffering of nonhumans and humans in order to build support for their cause. For example, Singer (1975, p. ix) wrote, “This book is about the tyranny of human over nonhuman animals. This tyranny has caused and today is still causing an amount of pain and suffering that can only be compared with that which resulted from the centuries of tyranny by white humans over black humans.” And while this sort of framing surely touched and mobilized many people in favor of animal welfare, it also frequently alienated others who felt that it trivialized human suffering due to racism and state violence or created false equivalences. It should also be noted that there are numerous factions and divisions within animal rights movements. Peter Singer is widely viewed as a reformist since he has taken the position that as long as we act to minimize the suffering of animals then humans are free to use nonhumans to benefit society—​a school of thought and politics known as animal welfarism, which is undergirded by the philosophical school of utilitarianism. Groups like the Humane Society and the ASPCA fall under this banner, working to achieve their modest goals through legislation and public education campaigns. Other, more radical activists and scholars rejected this moderate orientation and articulated the position that the use of nonhumans for human benefit or interests is unacceptable under any circumstance. Authors like Tom Regan (2004) and activist groups like the Animal Liberation Front are typically associated with this perspective, widely known as animal liberationists or abolitionists. These groups advocate public education like the welfarists but also occasionally support and sometimes engage in property destruction, arson, and animal rescue/​liberation to achieve their goals and recruit supporters, which puts them into a category of activists that law enforcement has frequently labeled as “terrorists” (Best and Nocella 2004).

268   David N. Pellow If two of the many kinds of animal advocacy strains are welfarists and abolitionists, one organization that has served as a bridge between these different camps of animal advocates is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). While PETA is often thought of as an abolitionist group, they have joined with welfarists on many occasions to support animal protective legislation. In fact, PETA is often credited with spearheading the mobilization that led to the passage of the 1985 Animal Welfare Act. With respect to the sensitive topic of social difference, they have turned heads and angered many people with campaigns that distribute images and language comparing eating nonhumans with the treatment of Jews under the Nazi-​led Holocaust, likening the caging of farm animals to chattel enslavement experienced by peoples of African descent, and using nude women to capture the public’s attention. Unsurprisingly, many leaders of Jewish, African American, and feminist organizations have rejected and denounced these practices and the messages contained therein as insensitive and misguided. The obstinacy of PETA’s leadership in refusing to take these issues seriously is fairly reflective of the more pervasive problems of whiteness and heteropatriarchy that have long characterized animal advocacy movements. I interviewed a veteran leader in the animal rights movement (an elderly White man), who told me the animal rights movement . . . overwhelmingly tends to be a movement of highly privileged, primarily white people, with a great deal of economic privilege, who focus on the rights of animals or on issues relating to animals by virtue of the . . . level of privilege that prevents them from needing to address human injustices, and a social status that makes it in their interest to be blind to injustices against humans, because addressing those injustices would mean having to be accountable for their own unearned privileges. And, therefore, looking at animals becomes a way to maintain . . . to be angry about something without having to take accountability for things like race privilege or class privilege or gender privilege. (anonymous interview, June 20, 2010)

Building on that sentiment, a PETA staff member informed me that [b]‌ut we—​you know, a lot of scientists and a lot of people in general kind of still subscribe to this form of Cartesian dualism, where humans are on one side of the spectrum and animals are on the other side. And . . . I don’t see how this is different from, you know, from saying that because someone’s a woman, they’re morally inferior to a man. Or because someone’s Black, they’re morally inferior to someone who’s white. . . . I know that most people who are working on social justice issues for women and minorities are probably offended by the suggestion that—​you know, the fight for animal liberation is similar to the work they do. . . . I think it’s because we haven’t approached them in a way that’s respectful. (anonymous interview with PETA staff member, December 1, 2009)

An animal rights activist who is also a person of color told me [w]‌hen reaching out to those who have been historically disenfranchised, we need to remember where they are coming from and what issues they are dealing with now, as many are dealing with basic survival now. Many are living in communities surrounded by environmental injustice from oil refineries to toxic dumps. These are concerns that many of us take for granted because we do not have to deal with them. They have to worry about things such as just feeding their families. Accepting our privilege, I feel, is . . . .possibly the first step in understanding, and I include myself in this. I am a person of color, but I am a person of privilege

Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    269 who has been able to work in the animal rights movement for over twenty years now. Not for pay, but volunteering my time. (anonymous interview, January 11, 2010)

The divides and rancor within and among animal rights organizations and movements run even deeper in other cases. Paul Watson is the leader and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), a group that emerged after Watson was exiled from Greenpeace as a result of his openly confrontational tactics with seal hunters. Watson and SSCS exemplify the deep divides within the animal rights community because they insist on direct action and placing their bodies between nonhuman animals (e.g., seals and whales) and hunters, while most welfarists are generally content to promote legislation to address these concerns and may not support more adversarial approaches. And because of their work in various marine habitats on campaigns that many observers might define as “environmental” as much as “animal protection,” the Sea Shepherds are a group that serves as a conceptual “bridge” between animal rights and environmentalism. But the animosity between these strands of the movement runs deep and has frequently resulted in shouting matches, profanity-​laced communications, and polarization. In Peter Singer’s classic book, Animal Liberation, he directed harsh criticisms at a number of animal advocacy groups when he noted that the ASPCA, the American Humane Association, and the Animal Welfare Institute were “actively collaborating with those responsible for cruelty” such as rodeos and animal research laboratories, which “lent an air of respectability to practices that ought to be condemned outright” (Singer 1975, p. 231). Finally, animal liberation activist-​scholar Steven Best weighed in on what he sees as the key failures of mainstream animal advocacy: whatever PR gloss one cares to throw on the last few decades of the animal advocacy movement, one has to confront the startling facts that ever more animals die each year in slaughterhouses, vivisection labs, and animal “shelters,” while the fur industry has made a huge comeback. Similarly, after three decades of activity, the animal advocacy movement remains overwhelmingly a white, middle-​class movement that has gained few supporters in communities of color or among other social justice movements. So if we are counting the number of casualties in this war of liberation, to single out one criterion, our side is hardly winning. Over the past two decades, Americans have dropped $40 billion on animal protection issues, some $2 billion a year, as 3,000 volunteer organizations worked billions of hours. And for what? More death and bigger cages? (Best 2009)

These historical and contemporary stories indicate that deeply intersectional analysis and action within animal advocacy movements are still in their infancy. These stories also illustrate how deeply personal and fraught the differences regarding intersectionality can be within and between social movements and their participants. And yet, there are important lessons we can learn from the tensions, differences, and diverse approaches to social change within and across these movements. Holifield, Chakraborty, and Walker acknowledge the increasing diversity of approaches to environmental justice scholarship and advocacy across comparative contexts. [S]‌uch problems as toxic waste, air pollution, depletion or degradation of water resources or threats to biodiversity—​each present distinctive injustices, and for each the meaning of EJ

270   David N. Pellow may look slightly different. Moreover, as much prior work has now shown, the meanings and dimensions of EJ have undergone changes as the concept has travelled to different places. (Holifield, Chakraborty, and Walker 2017, p. 2)

Those diverse meanings and dimensions can facilitate boundary crossing and cross-​ fertilization among movements that have rarely seen points of collaboration until now. For example, while there are signs of missed opportunities for building these linkages (Pellow 2019b), a number of scholars conclude that segments of radical environmental and animal rights movements have converged around an integrated focus on social justice and earth/​ animal liberation in ways that reflect a deep engagement with and application of the concept of intersectionality (Fitzgerald and Pellow 2014; Pellow 2014, 2019a). Therefore, these diverse perspectives within and across animal rights, environmental justice, and climate justice movements might best be seen as a source of potential strength rather than purely as sites of division (see also Jasper and Poulsen 1995). In the following section, I offer a case where environmental justice, climate justice, and animal rights movements could converge and offer resources, energy, expertise, and wisdom for collaborations that would be deeply intersectional and materially impactful.

Proposed Connections and Opportunities for Collaboration: The Case of War Warfare and militarization are practices through which concerns over environmental and climate justice and animal liberation are evident (or at least should be), and these offer opportunities for thinking through deeply intersectional environmental justice.

Warfare as Environmental Threat and Environmental/​Climate Injustice Numerous scholars examining the linkages between warfare and environmental quality have concluded that militarization “is the single most ecologically destructive human endeavor” (Gould 2007, p. 331; see also Brauer 2009; Westing 1976). Furthermore, studies reveal that the world’s armed forces are the largest source of pollution on the planet (Renner 1991). There is a continuum of ecological impacts from the military, including those related to the manufacturing of weapons, the direct effects of military campaigns (e.g., bombing, explosives, etc.), and the massive volume of ecological materials necessary for maintaining military preparedness (also see Weinthal and Sowers chapter, this volume). The relatively recent emergence of nuclear power and atomic warfare has ushered in an even greater degree of ecological harm because, through the development of these weapons of mass destruction, military campaigns are frequently deliberately aimed at creating ecological disorganization in order to make certain places unlivable for humans (Hooks and Smith 2005). The problem of militarization and ecological harm for the United States and the rest of the world is not likely to improve in the short term, unfortunately, as natural resource

Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    271 scarcity is expected to increase and contribute to military conflicts in the future, which will, in turn, amplify threats to ecosystems. In other words, one could say that militarization is both a cause and consequence of ecological harm. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has documented specific ecological harms across a range of war-​torn nations, including, for example, land degradation (Afghanistan), deforestation (Haiti), depletion of fisheries (Somalia), increased threats to wildlife and marine resources (Sudan), the presence of depleted uranium weaponry and military ordnance (Bosnia, Herzegovina, Iraq, Lebanon, Serbia, Montenegro), and threats to drinking water (Occupied Palestinian Territories) (Conca and Wallace 2009). Furthermore, UNEP has also documented significant environmental effects related to human settlements and refugee crises associated with violent conflict, underscoring the impacts on vulnerable human populations (Conca and Wallace 2009). It should also be noted that, in some cases, the indirect effects of militarization have had positive impacts on certain species and habitats when, for example, an exclusion zone was generated (e.g., the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea), facilitating population recovery and growth (Lawrence et al. 2015), but there is little question that these improvements are more than offset on a global scale. From a comparative political perspective, one of the significant findings researchers have underscored is that, while war clearly has significant impacts on local ecosystems, the conditions of the pre-​conflict natural and political environments matter a great deal. In other words, in those nations where environmental degradation and/​or political mismanagement of ecosystems preceded war, the impacts of war were amplified that much more. For example, in Liberia, forest degradation was in evidence as a result of agricultural, mining, road construction, fuel production, and logging activities well in advance of violent conflict unfolding in that nation (United Nations Environment Program [UNEP] 2004). Similar dynamics have been observed in Macedonia, where the proliferation of illegal waste dumps and the lack of adequate hazardous waste management contributed to ecological degradation independent of armed conflict (UNEP 2001). Therefore, one conclusion we might draw from these cases is that stronger indicators of environmental protection and democratic governance across various nations might serve to reduce the anti-​ecological impacts of warfare. But these cases also serve to underscore Peluso and Watts’s (2001) conclusion that political violence and its relationship to the environment is best understood through consideration of site-​specific histories and contexts that contribute to such conflict. Unfortunately, while UNEP has paid close attention to this matter, many key international agreements like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) have paid insufficient attention to these relationships. In total, then, this body of evidence links militarization’s effects across nations, ecosystems, and human and nonhuman communities. There are numerous and infamous examples of the ecological harms associated with warfare. For example, the herbicide Agent Orange was used by US military forces during the Vietnam War to destroy forest cover and agricultural resources that were being used by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese militaries (Westing 1976). The US military dumped an estimated 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other toxins across landscapes and wetlands in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This campaign was called Operation Ranch Hand, and it resulted in physical disabilities among thousands of children in Vietnam, massive destruction of forests, and considerable harm to military personnel from all sides of the war (New York Times 2003). The various chemical components of Agent Orange have

272   David N. Pellow infiltrated the soil, water, and aquatic life across various parts of Southeast Asia, persisting in the ecosystem and the bodies of fish for generations (Olson and Morton 2019). Gregory Hooks and Chad Smith (2004) developed the concept of the treadmill of destruction to explain how militarism reflects geopolitical expansionary dynamics and produces environmentally unjust impacts on Indigenous and other vulnerable communities. In particular, they demonstrate that military sites, which are often rife with unexploded ordnance and other toxic substances, are disproportionately located in close proximity to Native American communities—​a clear example of environmental racism. The Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah and the Nellis Range in Nevada are both examples of US military testing sites that directly impacted Indigenous lands and/​or sacred sites. And from the Cold War era through the present, the ecological consequences and social inequalities associated with military activities have been increasingly located and concentrated in the Global South (Hooks and Smith 2012). For example, between the 1960s and the 1990s, France carried out dozens of nuclear tests affecting hundreds of Pacific Island communities, including Tahiti, which affected more than 100,000 people, many of whom developed cancer as a result (BBC News 2014; Kuletz 2002). More broadly, I argue that environmental racism can be reframed as a form of warfare because (1) it usually is occasioned by direct assaults by state and state-​supported organizations on entire communities, (2) it results in considerable negative physiological and psychological consequences for those populations and ecosystems, and (3) it is an effort intended to sustain the well-​being of populations deemed worthy and valuable. For observers concerned about the broader ecological and climate impacts of militarization, the relative size of a nation’s military contributes significantly to increases in energy consumption, per capita carbon emissions, and overall resource consumption (Clark, Jorgenson, and Kentor 2010; Jorgenson, Clark, and Kentor 2010). The US military is the largest consumer of oil on the planet, and all 50 US states’ economies are tightly linked to military industries, thus revealing how the overall American economy is committed to militarization and entrenched in a system that produces massive impacts on climate change (Shearer 2011). Thus, the data and a host of studies from Afghanistan to the Pacific Islands, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tibet, and more (Downey, Bonds, and Clark 2010) indicate quite strongly that warfare or militarization has devastating impacts on ecosystems and the climate and imposes particularly disproportionate risks on vulnerable human populations (Kuletz 2002; Mishra and Fitzherbert 2004; Saidajan 2012).

Warfare as Species Injustice Militarization and warfare affect nonhuman populations in myriad ways as well. Clark and Jorgenson write: “Military operations and war have long involved the degradation of land and ecosystems—​including scorched earth practices, the diversion of rivers, the destruction of plants (through defoliation) and animals (such as bison on the Great Plains), the burning of oil wells, and the use of chemical and biological weapons” (2012, p. 557, emphasis added). The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, located in Washington State, was a key site for the development of the Manhattan Project—​the US government’s secret program that generated the first nuclear weapons. Studies of the Hanford site’s impacts on nearby salmon

Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    273 and trout populations in the Columbia River reveal significant levels of radiation-​driven genetic mutations in offspring, which poses major threats to the entire region’s ecosystems (Brown 2013). Related studies found similar results in the bodies of predatory birds near the site (Fitzner et al. 1981, p. 56), and other studies have found significant levels of plutonium and other radionuclides in the bodies of deer that roam in the vicinity of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Arsenal in Colorado (Lengefeld 2020). Long before the Cold War, the expansion of civilizations and empires was facilitated by the use of nonhumans as laborers, protein sources, and instruments of war. Elephants, pigeons, camels, pigs, dogs, and horses were all used as tools of warfare during the Age of Antiquity, as the governments of ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, Syria, China, and India fought to retain and expand control of territory (Morrón 2014). The territorial expansion and influence of the Incan Empire was made possible largely by the use of llamas and alpacas as pack animals and food sources (D’Altroy 2002). Furthermore, the domestication of animals like cows actually promoted large-​scale violence and warfare against human societies because those food systems require considerable space for grazing and water sources (Nibert 2013). Horses and dogs have played particularly important roles in warfare and have paid dearly throughout the centuries. David Nibert writes of World War I: “Thousands of dogs were used as instruments of war by the British, Belgian, Italian, French, and German armies. It is estimated that 68,682 horses and mules were killed ‘in service’ of the US forces alone” (Nibert 2002, p. 71; see also McNeely 1994). The statistics of nonhuman suffering and death during World War II and the Vietnam War are similarly staggering: “it is known that a year after the United States entered the war [WWII] the government announced plans to use 125,000 dogs as guards, mine sniffers, scouts, and tactical fighters. . . . Four thousand dogs were later used as instruments of war by the United States in Vietnam. . . . Of the horses and mules used as tools by the US Army during World War II, more than 243,000 were reported killed” (Nibert 2002, p. 71; see also Cramer 2001 and McNeely 1994). These troubling facts and observations have prompted some scholars to coin the term military-​animal industrial complex to underscore that the “exploitation of nonhuman animals is a key feature of war” (Salter 2014, p. 6). Accordingly, Kenneth Gould (2007) makes a forceful argument for the sociological link between a peaceful world and an ecologically sustainable society. Hence, this growing body of scholarship documents and theorizes the myriad ways in which nonhuman animals have been conscripted into and harmed by warfare in the service of human supremacy and state power for millennia. Combining the insights from both segments of this section, then, warfare and militarization are, I contend, significantly productive sites for illuminating the deeply intersectional linkages between animal rights/​liberation and environmental and climate justice concerns. Warfare produces extraordinary violence against humans and nonhumans alike, while devastating ecosystems, critical habitat, and waterways, and contributing to global anthropogenic climate change. Moreover, the harms that warfare perpetrates against humans are highly uneven across dimensions of race, indigeneity, and class, revealing the relevance of the injustice frame for understanding militarization’s relevance for those grassroots movements focused on social equity through the lens of climate and environment. Movements for animal liberation, environmental justice, and climate justice could conceivably draw on this evidence to advance social change campaigns with considerable policy and material impacts by directing significant resources toward the goals of demilitarization, denuclearization, and peace-​making.

274   David N. Pellow In the next section, I offer a proposed framework for integrating the concerns among animal advocacy and environmental and climate justice movements around the concepts of multispecies justice and abolition.

Discussion and Conclusions: Multispecies Abolition Democracy as a Way Forward At some significant moments, movements for environmental and climate justice and animal liberation have overlapped and articulated shared concerns about the well-​being of vulnerable people, nonhumans, and our ecosystems and climate. But these linkages are few and far between, usually fleeting and made in passing, and therefore lacking in depth and durability. What I have attempted to do in presenting the case of warfare and militarization is to place an issue on the table that clearly and critically impacts the environment, the climate, marginalized humans, and nonhuman animals through means and consequences that are deeply impactful and long lasting. What is curious is how warfare and militarization—​with some notable exceptions—​have generally remained low on the agenda of the climate, environmental, and animal rights movements. Regardless of that fact, the data and trends are clear that war and militarization are sites of real potential for articulating and cultivating common interests and campaigns across these movements in ways that speak to and reflect a “deeply intersectional” analytical, methodological, theoretical, and political orientation that pushes the concept of intersectionality beyond its limited boundary of the human species. For scholars of comparative politics, it would be generative to explore whether, how, and when these intersections and concerns are raised among advocates within any of these movements and to offer an understanding of how these expressions might differ across national and cultural spaces. For example, there are advocacy groups supporting peace, environmental sustainability, and animal protection in the Israeli–​Palestinian conflict (Mountain 2014) and many organizations advocating for an equitable and just solution to the crisis rooted in a focus on a particular human community. But few if any organized interests have worked to bring these issues together in that particular terrain. It would be instructive to understand why this is the case and what factors might contribute to greater intersectional discourses and mobilizations across environmental, climate, and animal justice movements in Palestine, Israel, and elsewhere. Nations with strong traditions of animal welfare and social justice movements might be ideal sites for such comparative explorations, particularly where histories of sectarian violence and militarization are present (such as India). Countries with healthy democratic political traditions and reasonably strong environmental protection policies (including Scandinavian countries) might also be fertile ground for these sorts of studies. What I offer in this closing section of the chapter is a theoretical framework that considers the possibility for thinking through these challenges through the lens of abolitionism and multispecies justice. In a recent interview, prison abolitionist activist-​scholar Angela Davis explains what prison abolitionist movements seek to achieve in the twenty-​first century. She insists that policing and prisons can only deliver the illusion of safety and security: “Safety safeguarded

Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    275 by violence is not really safety. . . . Abolition is not primarily a negative strategy. It’s not primarily about dismantling, getting rid of. It’s about re-​envisioning, it’s about building anew” (Davis 2020). Davis argues that abolition constitutes “a methodological approach of understanding the intersectionality of struggles and issues. . . . Abolition is really thinking about what kind of future we want” (2020). That is to say, prison abolitionists seek to bring into existence a society in which social relationships and institutions are premised on meeting the needs of all denizens through the provision of healthcare, education, housing, food, and other basic requirements for a decent quality of life, with the assumption that doing so will reduce the level of conflict, crime, and the public desire for caging other human beings. Prison abolitionists are necessarily focused on racial, gender, class, Indigenous, immigrant, and LGBTQ justice because the prison systems in the United States and around the world tend to disproportionately target those populations. What can environmental and climate justice activists learn from prison abolition? First, a focus on improving the ability of ordinary people to survive and thrive is a time-​honored way to build grassroots participation and support from the general population. Second, the very populations most negatively impacted by the prison and policing system are the same communities hit hardest by the ravages of environmental injustice and climate disruption, so drawing these connections is a way of doing the important work of movement building. That observation also reflects the reality that climate and environmental justice struggles are never single-​issue concerns—​they are always entangled with multiple social, political, cultural, and economic struggles such as those focused on affordable housing, healthcare, food security, education, etc. Third, prison abolition adopts a much more radical stance on social change and the future than most environmental and climate justice movements, seeking to simultaneously build something entirely new while dismantling and refusing existing socio-​political arrangements. That is precisely what might be needed with respect to challenging—​rather than reforming—​capitalism and racial states, for example. Relatedly, Ranganathan and Bratman (2019) call for “abolitionist climate justice”—​a multi-​issue climate justice politics that addresses historical harms while investing in an ethic of care for those populations most affected by climate disruption. The writings of abolitionist scholars like Davis, Ranganathan, and Bratman are inspired by and rooted in the pioneering work of W. E. B. Du Bois (1935), who coined the term “abolition democracy” to underscore the importance of building democratic and inclusive institutions in order to create sustainable and enduring means of achieving freedom. In Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction, he argued that simply freeing enslaved African Americans via the Emancipation Proclamation would fail to result in more meaningful life chances for that population in particular and for the general public because (1) American society was still built on a foundation and premise of anti-​Blackness and (2) as a nation deeply stratified by race, class, and gender, there was (and remains) an urgent need for creating, building, and supporting democratic structures to provide all people with access to basic needs and rights. Abolition movements come in many forms: while the slavery abolition movement looms large in US and world history, and while the contemporary prison abolition movement has gained steady ground, many animal liberation activists have also called themselves abolitionists. As I have noted earlier and elsewhere, however, there are major limitations to this movement’s claims and methods of change-​making (Pellow 2013, 2014). Claire Jean Kim argues that one of the primary weaknesses of the animal liberationist/​abolitionist

276   David N. Pellow movement is its insistence that the struggles for human rights and racial justice have largely been victorious and that racial oppressions are primarily a problem of the past. Kim specifically laments the movement’s unwillingness to see how anti-​Blackness remains a dominant presence in society more generally and within the animal rights movement more specifically. She writes, Animal abolition’s radical instincts are entirely correct: it is right in its unforgiving critique of welfarism and right in its call for revolutionary change. The problem is not, as is sometimes argued, that it is too extreme, but rather that it is not extreme enough in its conceptualization of the problem, its sense of what needs to be done, and its vision of the future. By delinking their cause from black liberation, substantively if not rhetorically, animal abolitionists have to this point been “doomed to miss what is essential about the situation.” By relinking their cause to black liberation, animal liberationists can . . . achieve a clearer understanding of the structures of power they are struggling against by questioning its continuing humanist assumptions. (Kim 2018, p. 29)

Kim’s work aims to explicitly link racial justice and animal liberation, but there remains a need to more clearly articulate how these threads might converge. “Multispecies justice” or “ecological justice” are terms some scholars are grappling with as a way of addressing this challenge (Schlosberg 2014). Tschakert (2020) frames a vision of multispecies justice in the context of climate and environmental justice movements by pointing out that both of those movements have largely ignored nonhuman well-​being and that a more productive means of addressing our intersecting crises might be achieved by conceptualizing justice “as a matter of relations rather than merely an issue of unfair distribution of harmful emissions” (Tschakert 2020, p. 3). She frames multispecies justice and solidarity around “four types of encounters—​the visual, the embodied, the ethical, and the political—​to sketch a relational justice that involves an assembly of beings with agency with whom to inhabit and deliberate a space of co-​existence while confronting shared vulnerabilities and entrenched histories of exclusion, violence, and erasures” (Tschakert 2020, p. 15). What Tschakert is gesturing toward is the need for a way to realize multispecies justice on the ground, in a concrete material fashion. This idea is closely related to what I have called total liberation, which is an ethic of justice that is inclusive of humans, nonhumans, and ecosystems (Pellow 2014). Building on these ideas, I propose fusing the insights of abolitionists and multispecies justice scholars to offer a vision of what I call multispecies abolition democracy, which I define as those practices, institutions, and structures that enable and facilitate justice for humans and nonhumans in the context of recognizing that since our societies have always been multispecies in character and membership, our polities should be as well. And since abolition democracy was a framework intended for humans only, multispecies abolition democracy builds on that inspiring vision and extends and deepens it to allow for all beings and things to be recognized as members of our societies and that collaboration, rather than exclusion and domination, are practices and ethics that will strengthen our communities in ways that are truly “deeply intersectional” because they involve and include the vulnerable and the privileged within and across the human and species boundaries. For as much as prison and slavery abolitionists have articulated powerful narratives of freedom for people oppressed by institutions that cage and restrict their mobility, that political project is incomplete without a consideration of the fuller range of beings—​nonhumans—​who are also caged and consumed by structural

Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    277 violence. And as much as animal liberationists/​abolitionists have argued forcefully for an end to institutional violence against nonhumans, that political agenda will be necessarily limited in the absence of extending that freedom dream to vulnerable human beings who experience exclusion and othering based on the social categories they inhabit—​practices that are frequently undergirded by ideologies that view such humans as closer to nature (Pellow 2013, 2014, 2017). This is a vision that will require commitment and labor from advocates across movements for animal rights and environmental and climate justice who have thus far only taken modest steps in that direction. But I believe there are important opportunities and a clear and urgent rationale for pursuing that project.

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Environmental Justice, Climate Justice    279 Morrón, Ana Paulina. “Nonhuman Animals as Weapons of War.” In Animals and War: Confronting the Military-​Industrial Complex, edited by Anthony Nocella II, Colin Salter, and Judy K.C. Bentley, 55–​7 1. New York: Lexington Books, 2014. Mountain, Michael. “In Israel-​Gaza War, Animals Pay Price.” July 2014. New York Times. “More Were Exposed to Agent Orange,” April 17, 2003. New York Times. Nibert, David. Animal Rights, Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. Nibert, David. Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism, and Global Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Olson, Kenneth Ray, and Lois Wright Morton. “Long-​Term Fate of Agent Orange and Dioxin TCDD Contaminated Soils and Sediments in Vietnam Hotspots.” Open Journal of Soil Science 9, no. 1 (2019): 1 http://​​10.4236/​ojss.2019.91001. Pellow, David N. “Environmental Justice, Animal Rights, and Total Liberation: From Conflict and Distance to Points of Common Focus.” In Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology, edited by Nigel South and Avi Brisman, 331–​346. Routledge, 2013. Pellow, David N. Total Liberation: The Power and Promise of Animal Rights and the Radical Earth Movement. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. Pellow, David N. What is Critical Environmental Justice? London: Polity Press, 2017. Pellow, David N. “Eco-​Defense, Radical Environmentalism, and Environmental Justice.” In Routledge Handbook of Radical Politics, edited by Ruth Kinna and Uri Gordon, 107–​120. New York: Routledge, 2019a. Pellow, David N. “Linking Environmental Justice and Climate Justice through Academia and the Prison Industrial Complex.” In Climate Futures: Re-​Imagining Global Climate Justice, edited by Kum-​Kum Bhavnani, John Foran, Priya A. Kurian, and Debashish Munshi, 136–​ 144. London: Zed Books, 2019b. Peluso, Nancy, and Michael Watts (Eds.). Violent Environments. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001. Principles of Environmental Justice. First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. October 24–​27, 1991. Washington, DC. https://​​ej/​ pri​ncip​les.html. Ranganathan, Malini, and Eve Bratman. “From Urban Resilience to Abolitionist Climate Justice in Washington, DC” Antipode. 2019. https://​​10.1111/​anti.12555 Regan, Tom. The Case for Animal Rights. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. Renner, Michael. “Assessing the Military’s War on the Environment.” In State of the World, edited by Linda Starke, 132–​152. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991. Saidajan, Abdiani. “Effects of War on Biodiversity and Sustainable Agricultural Development in Afghanistan.” Journal of Developments in Sustainable Agriculture 7 (2012): 9–​13. Salter, Colin. “Introducing the Military-​ Animal Industrial Complex.” In Animals and War: Confronting the Military-​Industrial Complex, edited by Anthony Nocella II, Colin Salter, and Judy K.C. Bentley, 1–​17. New York: Lexington Books, 2014 Schlosberg, David. “Ecological Justice for the Anthropocene.” In Political Animals and Animal Politics, edited by Marcel Wissenburg and David Schlosberg, 75–​89. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Shearer, Christine. Kivalina: A Climate Change Story. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2011. Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation. New York: HarperCollins, 1975. Sze, Julie. Environmental Justice in a Moment of Danger. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020.

280   David N. Pellow Tschakert, Petra. “More-​Than-​Human Solidarity and Multispecies Justice in the Climate Crisis.” Environmental Politics. 2020. https://​​10.1080/​09644​016.2020.1853​448. United Nations Environment Program. UNEP Final Report: Strategic Environmental Policy Assessment—​FYR of Macedonia. Geneva: UNEP, 2001. United Nations Environment Program. Desk Study on the Environment in Liberia. Geneva: UNEP, 2004. Westing, Arthur. Ecological Consequences of the Second Indochina War. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1976.

Chapter 15

Civil So ciet y, Net works , and C ontenti on A rou nd Environmenta l I s su e s Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden Introduction A rich scholarship explores the contentious politics of environmental issues and has traced the evolution of non-​governmental organizations (NGOs) and movements dedicated to advancing environmental causes. Much work in this area has largely focused on establishing the importance of environmental NGOs (ENGOs) in influencing political outcomes at the international level (e.g., Lipschutz 1992; Princen and Finger 1994; Wapner 1996; Keck and Sikkink 1998; Epstein 2008; Betsill and Corell 2008; Arts and Mack 2003; Gulbrandsen and Andresen 2004). This scholarship blazed a path for more recent studies that treat ENGOs as central and influential actors across levels of political activity (e.g., Böhmelt et al. 2014; Downie; 2014; Carter and Childs 2018; Ganz and Soule 2019; Allan and Hadden 2017) as well as for studies that explore the strategic choices of ENGOs as political actors (e.g., Balboa 2018; Brulle 2013; Carmin and Basler 2002; Dalton et al. 2003; Diani 1995; Hadden 2015; Saunders 2004). Taking stock, we can also see that important (but more limited) scholarship has engaged in comparative cross-​national analysis (Böhmelt 2014; Dalton 1994; Rootes 2013) and comparative analysis across multiple issues within the environmental arena (Betsill and Corell 2008; Gulbrandsen and Andresen 2004; Princen and Finger 1994). Acknowledging the uneven coverage of existing work, this chapter will first explore three topics related to describing the evolution of environmental civil society, highlighting important changes in scholarly views over time. First, we show that early work emphasized a relatively small cohort of actors and focused on environmental issues, while more recent work shows a transition to a bigger and more diverse population. Second, earlier work focused on cohesive advocacy networks, whereas more recent work shows these networks to be highly complex. Third, early work emphasized a strategy of expertise-​based advocacy, whereas we see evidence of the growing centrality of contention.

282    Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden After offering a nuanced description of contemporary ENGO politics, the chapter will reflect on what these developments mean for scholarship in comparative environmental politics (CEP). We highlight three important implications for how scholars study environmental civil society, emphasizing the importance of focusing on events and institutions, the role for social network analysis, and the challenge posed by outcome complexity. Finally, we reflect on where the field can progress and what we consider to be important research frontiers in CEP. We first suggest that evolution in the character of environmental civil society makes it all the more important to reconsider the role of authority and legitimacy in this sphere. Second, we emphasize that too little is known about the environmental sector from a comparative perspective. We particularly emphasize the importance of developing more cross-​national comparative work, particularly in the developing world, as a way of balancing the field’s emphasis on international actors. We also think that work that compares ENGOs to other types of NGOs may be of great value. And finally, we emphasize the need to reconcile our understanding of environmental civil society with the rich and burgeoning literature on private authority to better understand how to achieve just environmental outcomes.

A Very Brief History of Environmental Civil Society Systematic environmental conservation efforts can be traced to the second half of the nineteenth century, culminating in the creation of organizations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK (1889), the Sierra Club in the United States (1892), and the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) in Germany (1899). These groups were largely domestic until the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was founded in Switzerland in 1961, with the mission of capitalizing on public interest to raise funds to support projects identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Schwarzenbach 2011, p. 19). The post-​World War II development of the ENGO sector introduced a number of different elements. Increasing ecological consciousness in the 1960s stimulated the creation of groups focused more directly on pollution issues, including Greenpeace International (1971) and the membership-​oriented group Friends of the Earth International (1971). The landmark 1972 Stockholm Conference spurred the creation of new groups—​especially in the developing world—​by initiating a global dialogue about the balance between environmental and development concerns (Longhofer and Schofer 2010; Hadden and Seybert 2016). The major conventions arising from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit stimulated the creation of new ENGOs and/​or the transnationalization of formerly domestic groups. NGOs also formed a numerous transnational networks to advance their causes during this time, including the Climate Action Network, the Pesticides Action Network, and a variety of regional coalitions. Much of the scholarship to date has focused on these large networks, international ENGOs, or ENGOs campaigning in the Global North. As we note later, our understanding of ENGOs and their evolution in developing countries is more limited (but see Henry, this

Civil Society, Networks, and Contention    283 handbook). Hochstetler and Keck (2007) demonstrate the development and importance of the domestic environmental movement in Brazil, challenging the idea that environmental change comes from abroad. Steinberg (2001), however, shows how in Costa Rica and Bolivia “bilateral activists,” those known and influential at home and abroad, can lead to developing countries undertaking world-​leading environmental policies. More work in this area could be extremely helpful in unpacking the role that transnationalism plays in driving environmental change in the developing world. Environmental civil society also contains a more critical and anti-​systemic component. Echoing environmental justice movement activists, activists in this area began to connect global justice concerns more centrally to the environment in the late 1990s (Hadden 2014). The tension between traditional ENGOs and those actors in civil society with a more critical orientation is often characterized as a major strategic division (Alcock 2008; Berny and Rootes 2018, Fisher 2010, Hadden 2015, Kashwan, this handbook, Smith et al. 2019).

How Should We Think About Environmental Civil Society Today? Acknowledging significant debate on the meaning of the term, we define civil society as “an arena in which people associate voluntarily to advance common interests” (Anheier 2004). This definition has the advantage of working across scales and spaces, encompassing local, purely domestic, transnational, and international activity. In practice, we often reference more abundant literature on international NGOs (INGOs) as a starting point for understanding civil society in the environmental realm. INGOs are independent, nonprofit organizations that work in multiple countries and whose primary aim is to advance their missions at the international level (Martens 2002, p. 282).

A Large and Diverse Population Environmental civil society has been growing and becoming more diverse over time. We can see this by examining data about the number of organizations that are explicitly identified with the environmental sector. Smith et al. (2018) find that the environmental sector grew faster than any other area of activity between 1950 and 2013, constituting 27.1% of the social change INGOs listed in the Yearbook of International Organizations in 2013. Longhofer and Schofer (2010) draw on organizational directories to track the development of domestic and international environmental organizations in industrialized and nonindustrialized countries from 1900 to 1990; their work ends before the critical post-​ Cold War period but suggests a large increase in foundings in the late 1970s and 1980s. Bush and Hadden (2019) similarly document a period of growth in internationally oriented environmental nonprofits between 1992 and the early 2000s in the United States and other developed countries, followed by a more recent stagnation. We can see similar trends by drawing on data about the number of organizations participating in important events to govern environmental issues—​a broader measure of

284    Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden environmental civil society. In climate change governance, the growth is remarkable. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat reports statistics on NGO participation. There were 2,628 representatives from non-​state actors present when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, and 9,411 in Paris 18 years later. Some of these newcomers are effectively tourists, interested in attending historic moments (Hanegraaff et al. 2019), but these groups cannot alone account for the more than tripling of civil society’s presence at UNFCCC meetings. Data are less easily available for the conferences held for other multilateral environmental agreements, but there are suggestions of growing NGO participation in the meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions on chemicals and wastes and perhaps other areas (IISD 2019). The growth of attendance is partly related to the rising diversity of civil society actors working on environmental issues. At the 2016 climate conference, ENGOs represented only 37.6% of participating NGOs.1 Muñoz Cabré (2011) identifies 22 categories of NGOs accredited to the UNFCCC from 1995 to 2009. After gaining permission to attend, NGO participation patterns also show considerable diversity, with NGOs with missions related to social issues such as gender, labor, or justice nearly rivalling the participation of their ENGO counterparts for some years (Allan 2018, 2020). Data on the expansion of NGOs in the Global South are more difficult to find, constituting another important research gap. Finger and Princen (2013) report remarkable growth in several countries across Latin America, Asia, and Africa between the 1970s and the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Asia, they suggest, may house the majority of ENGOs in developing countries. China has attracted particular attention. The first ENGO to register in China was Friends of Nature in 1994, which soon led campaigns to protect endangered species and later was part of the “China River Network,” a broad coalition of Chinese ENGOs campaigning against large-​scale dams (Hildebrandt and Turner 2009). The relationship of ENGOs to the Chinese government is complex, with ENGOs providing expertise and services and navigating the system through informal ties with party officials; the system is both conducive to their influence while also restricting their activities (Hildebrandt and Turner 2009; Ho and Edmonds 2007; Zhan and Tang 2013). The evolution of ENGOs varies across various autocratic regime types as each presents unique opportunities and constraints (Böhmelt 2014).

Network Complexity Our second observation is that ENGO networks have become more complex over time. Early work in this area focused on ENGO networks that were highly integrated and collaborative. Keck and Sikkink (1998) highlighted the importance of “shared values, a common discourse, and dense exchanges of information and services” in the case of the deforestation transnational advocacy network (TAN), setting expectations that other TANs might operate in the same way. Similarly, Wapner (1996) discussed the emergence of transnational environmental activist groups that create a “world civic politics” and influence widespread behavioral change. Other work in this area has revealed the emergence of deep tensions within environmental TANs. Murdie and Davis (2012) conducted a comparative study of the network structure of groups working in different areas of activity, drawing on data from the

Civil Society, Networks, and Contention    285 Yearbook of International Organization from 2002 to 2003. They found that the environmental network is organized into two largely separate components, contrasting with the more integrated human rights and health networks. Hadden (2015) found a similar network structure in the NGO network working on climate change, with divisions between the major environmental advocacy groups and the smaller global justice-​oriented groups, many of whom emerged to represent the growing Southern ENGO community. ENGOs from some countries—​notably the United States and European Union-​level actors—​have long been overrepresented in these networks, both numerically and (arguably) in terms of influence. These findings challenge the idea of the environmental network being cohesive (see also Duwe 2001). Scholarship has also revealed a great amount of unevenness in the distribution of network ties among groups participating in this network. Murdie and Davis (2012, p. 184) found that while the clustering coefficient for the environmental network was higher than for those in other sectors (reflecting a well-​connected core), the average path length in the network was much longer (reflecting that it is harder for peripheral groups to reach one another). This suggests that the environmental network that may be more hierarchical than horizontal. Hadden and Bush (2021) find similar results regarding extensive variation within the environmental population in the number of contacts with other INGOs, arguing that the environmental movement is exceptionally concentrated in terms of financial and relational resources. Balboa (2018) similarly finds that large conservation groups dominate the politics of biodiversity from the local to the global scale. In sum, these findings challenge the idea of the environmental network being organized “horizontally” and support the idea that the environmental sector is organized around a small set of “leading INGOs” (Stroup and Wong 2016). Smaller NGOs and local environmental movements have a role, but one that could be better defined in relation to their larger, more dominant counterparts. There are incentives for lower profile NGOs to specialize in a niche issue (Bush and Hadden 2019). Local movements feel acutely the effects of environmental degradation and fossil fuel extraction. For example, Neville (2021) documents how communities in coastal Kenya or northern Canada mobilize to oppose specific instances of biofuels and fracking, which entails working across geographic scales but maintains a fairly narrow issue focus.

Growing Centrality of Contention Existing scholarship tends to emphasize that ENGOs have become more institutionalized over time as they increasingly work within established institutions to influence environmental outcomes. Many scholars have observed that this trend applies generally across NGOs working in all sectors (Boli and Thomas 1999; Smith and Wiest 2012). But others see institutionalization as particularly prominent in the environmental area (Berny and Rootes 2018). There are a number of potential explanations for why this might be. First, it is sometimes argued that the UN Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 set up an inclusive UN Environmental Programme that helped spur the global norm of civil society participation through institutional channels (Bäckstrand 2006; Hironaka 2014). Second, the functional demands of environmental governance require a lot of technical input and may increase the usefulness of ENGOs to policy-​makers (Tallberg et al. 2018b). Third, and specific

286    Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden to the European Union, Fagan and Sircar (2015) have argued that the functional need to build a constituency to support the integration of existing environmental directives in the new Member States has led to an especially close relationship with the European Commission. We suspect that by focusing on the “demand” for NGOs, and often using UN and other official meetings as sites for research, we may have somewhat overstated the institutionalization—​and taming—​of civil society. We argue that, in parallel to growing institutionalization, we have seen growing contentiousness on environmental issues. Hadden (2015) draws on coding of media sources and the Earth Negotiations Bulletin to show how the number of protests around climate conferences has increased since 2009 (see also Fisher 2010). As Cheon and Urpelainen (2018) argue, activism against the fossil fuel industry has also exploded globally, and especially in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Waves of youth strikes across Europe and elsewhere, coal project protests in East Asia, and large transnational street demonstrations like the Peoples Climate March and Peoples Climate Strike have dominated the coverage of the environmental sector in both the developed and developing world in recent years. Even in China, where authoritarian restrictions on protest are severe (Teets 2014), protests on environmental issues including air and water quality are increasingly common (Steinhardt and Wu 2016).

How Should We Study Environmental Civil Society? These descriptive observations have implications for how scholars should approach the study of environmental civil society. We highlight three important implications here.

Focus on Events and Institutions Our first methodological point regards defining the boundaries of “environmental civil society.” One approach would be to look to groups that either self-​identify as “environmental” or are identified in institutional sources as “environmental” in order to draw conclusions about aggregate population characteristics. This approach has informed much useful scholarship in the area (e.g., Longhofer and Schofer 2010; Smith and Weist 2012) and has given us great insight into, among other things, how the distribution of these groups varies across countries and over time. Most of this work has focused on the global level. In an important exception, Dalton, Recchia, and Rorschneider (2003) drew a global survey of domestic environmental groups in 56 countries in the year 2000 based on environmental directories, including groups in Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific Rim, to examine the strategic choices of ENGOs. The findings indicate that in both the developed and developing world, the ENGO population is diverse and relies on a mixture of conventional and contentious tactics. More recently, direct action has been adopted by some “rowdy greens” to confront fossil fuel infrastructure (Bradshaw 2015). Our work proposes using environmental events and institutions as a focal point for civil society research (see also Diani 2015). This offers several advantages. First, as noted

Civil Society, Networks, and Contention    287 earlier, environmental events such as national days of action, EU Summits, and UN climate conferences are attracting an increasingly diverse constituency (Hadden 2009). Actors we would not traditionally consider “environmental” are making a large impact on discussions happening within environmental institutions. For example, programs of work on gender and Indigenous rights in the UNFCCC were established after sustained campaigns from gender NGOs and Indigenous Peoples organizations. Much work on environmental justice in the United States and elsewhere is driven by the advocacy of civil rights organizations. We argue that by focusing on NGOs that explicitly define themselves as “environmental,” our empirical view and our theories of contentious environmental politics are limited to a subset of civil society engaged in these issues. For example, Allan (2020) shows how non-​environmental NGOs such as Jubilee South, Focus on the Global South, and the International Trade Union Confederation sought to establish their authority on climate change through creating discursive frames, recruiting powerful allies, and leveraging institutions in the climate regimes. Second, contact through these events and institutions is diversifying the approaches that self-​identified environmental actors are themselves adopting. For example, ENGOs are increasingly including human rights and gender within their campaigns (Allan 2020; Ciplet 2014). The mainstreaming of “climate justice” across many developed-​country NGOs is another good example. This demonstrates that organizational learning is through shared participation in these events. We argue that scholars might otherwise miss these important developments if we did not have a view that encompassed the spillovers from other sectors.

Social Networks Our second methodological suggestion is that scholars of environmental civil society should focus much more on the relationships that exist among actors. Much work has tended to correlate the number of the ENGOs with the likelihood of environmental policy adoption (e.g., Pacheco-​Vega and Murdie 2020). But there is also increasing focus on how the structure of ENGO networks may influence the way they perform. Hadden (2015), for example, shows that divisions in the network of civil society actors working on climate change affected the way the network performed at the time of the Copenhagen Summit. This work also highlights how strategies diffused within this network, demonstrating that network position matters for understanding the adoption of innovations. Similarly, Kapstein and Busby (2013) engage in comparative analysis across issue areas and find that movement coherence is a critical part of success. This approach could be usefully applied to other non–​climate issue areas. The field of environmental politics would benefit greatly from more comparative network analysis (Berardo et al. 2016), both across issues and cross-​nationally. In our view, two of the most useful areas for the application of a network approach would be the conservation sector and the anti-​fossil fuel movement. Such analysis would be particularly useful to help understand (1) the ways in which key issues or frames diffuse among actors in hierarchical networks (Carpenter 2014) and (2) the conditions under which divisions in civil society networks can be strategically useful for some (creating a radical flank effect) and, potentially, overall strategically damaging (undermining one another’s work), thus contributing to a better understanding of complex outcomes.

288    Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden

Complex Outcomes Finally, we acknowledge here that taking a more complex view of civil society will make it difficult to trace the impact of civil society on environmental outcomes. Betsill and Correll (2001, p. 72) contend that “the notion of NGO influence has two dimensions (1) the intentional transmission of information by NGOs and (2) alterations in behavior in response to that information.” Much research in this field has adopted this approach to study particular campaigns and their impact, such as campaigns on deforestation, biodiversity, loss and damage, and fracking (Keck and Sikkink 1998; Allan and Hadden 2017; Neville and Weinthal 2016; Blasiak et al. 2017). However, our understanding of NGO influence becomes much more complicated when (1) multiple actors are transmitting information to the same targets, (2) all of those actors claim to represent civil society, (3) those actors are using different and competing means to express their claims, and (4) different actors are making different demands. For example, the effectiveness of emotive language and symbols (“mindbombs”) by anti-​sealing activists in Canada varies as the discursive environment becomes crowded with competing claims and approaches, and market prices and media preferences fluctuate (Dauvergne and Neville 2011). Such a situation, which is increasingly realistic, can confound our ability to assess influence. While careful process tracing can sometimes unravel the influence of particular political actors, we acknowledge that studies of civil society influence may be unable to definitively establish causal relationships in such settings. This may lead to the danger of scholars understating the importance of civil society influence when civil society is diverse and outcomes are complex. We caution against such outcomes.

What Are the Research Frontiers for CEP? In light of these reflections, we suggest three important research frontiers for scholars of comparative environmental politics.

Legitimacy and Authority Much work to date explores how NGOs can contribute to the legitimacy of institutions (Nasiritousi et al. 2015; Tallberg et al. 2018a) and, to a lesser extent to date, the basis on which NGOs can claim to speak for a group (but see Kuyper et al. 2017). For example, Tahkokallio and Nygren (2008) found that Costa Rican ENGOs had complex ideas about who they represented in wider civil society. It is this latter strand that we think would benefit from adopting a view that extends beyond a focus on ENGOs. With this lens, we can view legitimacy and authority as resources that are carefully constructed to appeal to a specific audience in a given context. This raises a number of compelling questions. What are the sources of ENGO legitimacy and authority, and how do they connect to influence? Do NGOs select among possible sources of authority for a given audience? With growing transnational movements joining an already diverse global set of NGOs engaged in climate and

Civil Society, Networks, and Contention    289 other environmental crises, who will have the legitimacy to speak for the environment (see Kauffman’s chapter in this handbook)? With what claims? How might internal divisions in civil society (between large and small groups, North and South) affect who speaks and who is heard? The politics among NGOs can, we suggest, influence legitimacy claims and perhaps feedback into cooperation or mutual antagonization. Cooperation and solidarity could dilute legitimacy in at least two scenarios: if NGOs take on causes on which they have a little claim (e.g., ENGOs speaking on forest issues central to Indigenous land rights), and if cooperation entails NGOs making claims that contradict the basis of their legitimacy. For example, as Thew, Middlemiss, and Paavola (2020) show, the justice claims of youth shifted from intergenerational justice claims to solidarity claims highlighting the plight of other groups here and now, potentially undermining their effectiveness as representative of future generations. Conversely, the legitimacy claims of those at the center of the network could influence the politics among NGOs in the network. Centralized networks allow for some NGOs to dominate agendas and make claims which the wider network may not support. There may be a tradeoff: centralized networks could be more effective but at the risk of being less legitimate. Duwe (2001) documents how WWF, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth vetted the agenda of the network throughout the 1990s. The dominance of a few conservation NGOs creates the conditions for a “transnational conservation elite” to set agendas and undertake projects based on Western, neoliberal ideas (Holmes 2011). More radical parts of the ENGO network can use these ideas as a basis to attack mainstream environmental movements. Centralized networks could be more prone to questions about their legitimacy and who they speak for by those marginalized in the network. Comparing intranetwork relationships across different networks could help us understand when marginalized actors follow central NGOs or when they question their legitimacy. The claims of central NGOs can also influence cooperation or contention between international and local scales of activity. The authority and legitimacy of leading NGOs does not necessarily travel easily to other issue areas (Allan 2020) or to other scales (Balboa 2018). While INGOs may be able to influence policy, their toolkit of skills does not enable them to effectively implement those policies on the ground (Balboa 2014). For local movements trying to find international support, appealing to the central NGOs’ preferences seems key. For example, the Ogoni people in Nigeria only gained the support of INGOs when they de-​ emphasized their ethnic struggle and instead highlighted the environmental destruction caused by Shell in their homeland (Bob 2005). While we’ve learned much to nuance and add power to the boomerang model put forward by Keck and Sikkink (1998), there is room for comparative work to learn more about how legitimacy and authority are constructed at various scales and among actors in the network.

Private Rule-​Making ENGOs have also taken matters into their own hands. Rather than try to influence governments or boycott corporations, they have directly intervened to conserve natural areas, promote sustainable forestry and fishing, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Several recent articles have traced the rise of transnational governance as a field of study

290    Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden (Hale 2020; Roger and Dauvergne 2016). Here, we argue that the rise of private governance is an important research frontier for the study of civil society. We suggest that focusing less on the initiatives themselves and more on the dilemmas and incentives NGOs face in creating and implementing these initiatives can yield new insights into legitimacy and equity in civil society. First, we suggest that private governance may also raise new explorations of legitimacy. The legitimacy of private rule-​making rests on acceptance of the rules themselves. In this context, both input and output legitimacy matter. NGOs are part of the rule-​making process, but the ultimate legitimacy of the rules depends on companies adopting the standards (Cashore 2002). How NGOs navigate this shift—​no longer watchdogs holding states to account but instead scrutinizing the effectiveness of their rules and those of other NGOs—​ can provide a window into the strategic choices of NGOs. Indeed, NGOs often struggle with the choice to target companies or work with them in certification programs, which can create mixed signals to potential corporate partners and perhaps undermine the private governance initiative, as Auld and Cashore (2013) found in the Canadian forestry and fisheries sectors. If an ENGO engages with governments or companies to directly govern the environment but the outcomes are paltry, what happens to the legitimacy of the scheme and, in turn, the NGO? This challenge becomes more acute when we consider that implementation of private initiatives may be uneven across different national contexts. Chan et al. (2018) show that while many non-​state initiatives on climate focus on action in low-​ income and lower-​middle-​income countries, the implementation gap in these countries remains greater. Even among emerging economies, uptake varies. Uptake of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification scheme is stronger in China than India in part due to market forces but also government support (Schleifer and Sun 2018). Second, only a small segment of NGOs take on this work, leading to questions of representation, equity, and accountability. Some of these questions resemble those explored in relation to international development and humanitarian NGOs (e.g., see Steffek and Hahn 2010). Most of these NGOs are based in the Global North (Bulkeley et al. 2014), creating the possibility of an accountability gap between local ENGOs and environmental users and the transnational ENGOs running these projects (Balboa 2018). Conservation and climate practices such as national parks and, more recently, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+​) projects, have had the support of INGOs. Some of these large NGOs directly implement the projects, putting them in conflict with local NGOs and potentially undermining local environmental knowledge and rights (Aguilar-​Støen 2017; Beymer-​Farris and Bassett 2012; Mathur et al. 2014). When working with local communities, conservation NGOs can face a dilemma, torn between donor demands for a conservation project and local communities’ land tenure and livelihood needs (Aldashev and Vallino 2019). For certification schemes founded through partnerships with corporations, negotiations between the NGOs and companies are a primary driver of rule development and legitimacy (Bernstein and Cashore 2007). Local NGOs and communities are often excluded. Directly engaging in rule-​making and implementation opens new questions of how NGOs navigate competing demands and who they represent and how. Here, there may be fruitful avenues to collaborate with political ecology. Such collaboration could help explore the power-​laden relationships between global and local actors. It could also help uncover how social inequities could undermine the realization of private governance projects capable of protecting nature or reducing emissions.

Civil Society, Networks, and Contention    291

Cross-​Sectoral Analysis Finally, we suggest that scholars of CEP may learn a lot by examining environmental civil society in comparison to the civil society actors working in other issue areas. We think this comparative, cross-​sectoral perspective is a worthwhile agenda for both theoretical and practical reasons and that such research could take place at the national or international level. The first question for such an approach is whether there are, in fact, significant differences across the environmental sector and other sectors of civil society in terms of networks, strategy, and organizations. That such differences exist is not necessarily obvious. All NGOs share some common challenges, such as the need to raise funds, demonstrate their authority to key audiences, and gain access to the countries overseas where they conduct their work (Mitchell and Schmitz 2014). These challenges flow from the legal structure of nonprofit organizations and expose them to common constraints that shape their work. Despite these commonalities across NGOs, Hadden and Bush (2021) find that the international environmental sector is distinguished by having an exceptionally high degree of resource concentration. In comparison to other areas, like human rights or development, the environmental sector is characterized by a small number of groups that have access to a large percentage of the sector’s resources and network relationships. Allan’s (2020) comparison of six NGO networks engaging in climate politics suggests that the environmental sector might be less prone to buck-​passing—​that is, leaving some pressing issues to other NGOs to campaign on—​than other networks. While the human security network actors buck-​pass (Carpenter 2014), and the human rights network largely avoided climate change until after the Paris Agreement was signed (Allan 2020), environmental and other NGOs engage on a wide range of issues, from trade to human rights and development. Theoretically, cross-​sectoral approaches can also help us think about how institutions can shape the strategies of NGOs. Our tendency to study environmental groups and their work precludes a study of how differing institutions can influence similar groups of NGOs. Multiple institutional entry points, issue complexity, political salience, and even the membership of an organization could lead NGOs to select different strategies. NGOs can be influential in expanding regime complexes. Much of the literature on regime complexes neglects non-​state actors (but see Green and Auld 2017). NGOs can link regimes or facilitate cooperation among international organizations in pursuit of their agendas (Orsini 2013). Since we have a good understanding of how NGOs can influence one regime, it is reasonable to expect that they can influence multiple regimes, even linking regimes that were previously unrelated, such as gender and climate change (Allan 2020). The extent of influence that NGOs can exert across forums, the conditions that enable such wide-​ranging influence, and the implications of this possible influence for the fragmentation of environmental governance is a challenging area of cross-​sectoral research. Such descriptive matters also have theoretical and policy relevance because they help us to better understand how useful theory from other issue areas is for the study of environmental politics and, in turn, how generalizable our findings about ENGOs might be to the study of other kinds of groups. With better data, much more could be done to expand this kind of work. There are also practical reasons to expand this kind of work. Stroup and Wong (2016) make the point that organizations are increasingly working across sector boundaries.

292    Jen Iris Allan and Jennifer Hadden Understanding how sectors differ may help us to better understand how the interaction of NGOs in different areas of activity will influence environmental governance (Allan 2018). Moreover, cross-​sectoral analysis might help us to identify whether challenges faced by environmental groups are common or distinctive to this area of activity. For example, Berny and Rootes (2018) identify a number of challenges facing ENGOs “at a crossroads,” including how ENGOs respond to policy failure. Looking at examples from other areas may help us to better understand the options.

Conclusion In sum, we suggest that the study of environmental civil society has been a rich area of inquiry. Such work can be pushed forward through explicit attention to relations among actors in the sector, comparative approaches that examine ENGOs across issue areas or in relation to other sectors of international activity, and through a closer attention to contestation and complexity. We also argue in favor of greater attention to the development and deployment of legitimacy and authority in this arena, focused particularly on the opportunities and challenges of private governance. Doing so may require scholars to address a number of data gaps in the field. In particular, our review suggests that we could benefit from much more scholarship on environmental civil society in the developing world. Our work also highlights that a great deal of our knowledge of environmental civil society focuses on the case of climate change and, to a lesser extent, biodiversity. Broadening scholarly research to other environmental issue areas is critically important. In addition, a greater focus on comparative and relational data would help to advance work in this field, especially given data gaps on the number and type of ENGOs in the Global South. Particular attention should be paid to (1) the role of ENGOs in the developing world, (2) comparative social network analysis across issue areas and countries, and (3) cross-​sectoral analysis that allows scholars to compare ENGOs to NGOs working in other areas. One theme of this chapter has been that work on environmental civil society has been more developed at the international scale than in comparative politics. More attention to comparative politics would be valuable in its own right (as described earlier) but would also strengthen the existing literature in international relations in several ways. First, scholars on TANs would benefit from a greater understanding of the uneven participation of actors from different countries, the distribution of their grievances, and their preferred modes of action. This would help to evaluate the representativeness and legitimacy of TANs as actors in global civil society. Second, scholarship on private governance would benefit from a deeper understanding of the potential (and perhaps perils) of civil society engagement in less developed contexts, offering a fuller appraisal of the possibilities and limitations of this approach. There is a strong “local-​to-​global” aspect of transnational civil society, perhaps bolstered by the ease of information sharing in the modern world. Comparative inquiry can help us better understand these dynamics as they unfold in various institutional contexts.

Civil Society, Networks, and Contention    293

Note 1. UNFCCC Statistics on Non-​Party Stakeholders. https://​unf​​proc​ess-​and-​meeti​ ngs/​part​ies-​non-​party-​stake​hold​ers/​non-​party-​stake​hold​ers/​sta​tist​ics-​on-​non-​party-​ stake​hold​ers#eq-​2

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