Emerging economies have fundamentally transformed global environmental politics. Led by China and India, they increasingly make or break international negotiations, which now require agreement among a large number of governments with widely varied preferences. Emerging economies – which still suffer from widespread poverty and frequently struggle with policy implementation – often feel that Western-led initiatives neglect their needs. What does the global environmental policy landscape look like in the age of a rising Global South?
This book explains why emerging economies have come to dominate global environmental politics and examines the implications for future international cooperation. Johannes Urpelainen shows that emerging economies continue to prioritize economic growth and often have limited institutional capacity to contain the environmental destruction that it causes. However, he argues, despite barriers to cooperation, innovative bargaining and institutional design offer a way forward. Bottom-up agreements that respect national sovereignty and invest in capacity building hold more promise than traditional top-down treaties with binding commitments.
The book features detailed discussions of attempts to address hazardous chemicals, loss of biodiversity, and climate change; a comparative analysis of China and India; and case studies of nine other emerging economies around the world. Global Environmental Politics is an essential, forward-looking overview of today's most pressing international issue.
List of Abbreviations
1. International Political Economy and Global Environmental Politics
2. Global Environmental Politics in the American Century
3. Global Environmental Politics for a New Century
4. The Evolution of Three Global Environmental Regimes
5. China and India in Global Environmental Politics
6. The Rise of the Rest
Conclusion: Bringing It All Together
Johannes Urpelainen is the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the founding director of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Renewables: The Politics of a Global Energy Transition (2018) and Escaping the Energy Poverty Trap: When and How Governments Power the Lives of the Poor (2018).
"Urpelainen provides a masterful primer for the challenges of the new global environmental governance. As developing countries get wealthier, their capacity to destroy the environment increases, but compared to advanced industrialized countries they have weaker environmental preferences and less state capacity to address environmental problems. These developments complicate how global challenges like climate change can be addressed."
– Joshua Busby, University of Texas at Austin
"Emerging economies are critically important to the future of the planet's health. Their economic success and growing energy and resource consumption have turned them into pivotal players in international environmental negotiations. Johannes Urpelainen's excellent new book provides an essential guide to this new reality of environmental diplomacy."
– Robert Falkner, London School of Economics and Political Science