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Studies show that institutions play a role both in causing and in
addressing problems arising from human-environment interactions. But, the nature of this role is complex and not easily described. This book presents an overview of recent research on how institutions matter in efforts to tackle such environmental problems as the loss of biological diversity, the degradation of forests, and the overarching issue of climate change. Using the tools of the "new institutionalism" in the social sciences, the book treats institutions as sets of rights, rules, and decision-making procedures.
Individual chapters present research findings and examine policy implications regarding questions of causality, performance, and institutional design as well as the themes of institutional fit (or misfit), interplay, and scale. "Institutions and Environmental Change" is the product of a decade-long international research project on the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC) carried out under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme. The book's policy insights demonstrate that research on institutions can provide the basis for practical advice on effective ways to deal with the most pressing environmental problems of our times.
Oran R. Young is Professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is also Codirector of the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development. He is the author of The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental Change (2002) and many other books. Leslie A. King is Vice President, Academic, of Malaspina University-College in British Columbia. Heike Schroeder is Tyndall Research Fellow in the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University's Centre for the Environment.
"21st century environmental problems can't be solved with 20th century bureaucracies. The contributors to Institutions and Environmental Change have identified the key societal challenge facing governments at the onset of the 21st century. While many environmentalists point to 'tipping points' of global environmental change, the authors in this volume search for and identify bureaucratic 'choke points' that serve to block necessary institutional change. This book will be a clarion call for governments and practitioners worldwide trying to address growing climate and climate-related crises."
– Michael H. Glantz, Senior Scientist, The National Center for Atmospheric Research
"This project report from the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Project is exciting, important, and at the forefront of research. The editors provide an excellent theoretical overview backed up with strong empirical evidence. It is addressed to a broad group of social scientists, ecologists, and environmental scientists interested in environmental change. A wonderful achievement."
– Elinor Ostrom, Co-Director, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University
"This book is a noteworthy contribution to understanding the role of regimes as institutions attempting to respond to the complexities of global environmental change."
– Edward L. Miles, School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington