Today most major cities have undertaken some form of sustainability initiative. Yet there have been few systematic comparisons across cities, or theoretically grounded considerations of what works and what does not, and why. In Taking Sustainable CitiesSeriously, Kent Portney addresses this gap, offering a comprehensive overview and analysis of sustainability programs and policies in American cities.
How do different societies respond politically to environmental problems around the globe? Answering this question requires systematic, cross-national comparisons of political institutions, regulatory styles, and state-society relations. The field of comparative environmental politics approaches this task by bringing the theoretical tools of comparative politics to bear on the substantive concerns of environmental policy.
Since the 1970s, conservative activists have invoked free markets and distrust of the federal government as part of a concerted effort to roll back environmental regulations. They have promoted a powerful antiregulatory storyline to counter environmentalists’ scenario of a fragile earth in need of protection, mobilized grassroots opposition, and mounted creative legal challenges to environmental laws. But what has been the impact of all this activity on policy?
Coming Clean is the first book to investigate the process of information disclosure as a policy strategy for environmental protection. This process, which requires that firms disclose information about their environmental performance, is part of an approach to environmental protection that eschews the conventional command-and-control regulatory apparatus, which sometimes leads government and industry to focus on meeting only minimal standards.
Climate change represents a "tragedy of the commons" on a global scale, requiring the cooperation of nations that do not necessarily put the Earth's well-being above their own national interests. And yet international efforts to address global warming have met with some success; the Kyoto Protocol, in which industrialized countries committed to reducing their collective emissions, took effect in 2005 (although without the participation of the United States).
During the George W. Bush administration, politics and ideology routinely trumped scientific knowledge in making environmental policy. Data were falsified, reports were edited selectively, and scientists were censored. The Obama administration has pledged to restore science to the policy making process. And yet, as the authors of Knowledge and Environmental Policy point out, the problems in connecting scientific discovery to science-based policy are systemic.
The United States, once a world leader in addressing international environmental challenges, became a vigorous opponent of action on climate change over the past two decades, repudiating regulation and promoting only ineffectual voluntary actions to meet a growing global threat. Why has the United States failed so utterly to address the most pressing environmental issue of the age? This book argues that the failure arose from an unyielding ideological stance that embraced free markets and viewed government action as anathema.
More than ever, Americans rely on independent special districts to provide public services. The special district—which can be as small as a low-budget mosquito abatement district or as vast as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—has become the most common form of local governance in the United States. In Governing the Tap, Megan Mullin examines the consequences of specialization and the fragmentation of policymaking authority through the lens of local drinking-water policy.
This analysis of U.S. environmental policy offers a conceptual framework that serves as a valuable roadmap to the array of laws, programs, and approaches developed over the last four decades. Combining case studies and theoretical discussion, the book views environmental policy in the context of three epochs: the rise of command-and-control federal regulation in the 1970s, the period of efficiency-based reform efforts that followed, and the more recent trend toward sustainable development and integrated approaches at local and regional levels.
Many predict that by the end of this century water will dominate world natural resources politics as oil does today. Access to water is widely regarded as a basic human right and was declared so by the United Nations in 1992. And yet the water crisis grows: although the total volume of water on the planet may be sufficient for our needs, much of it is misallocated, wasted, or polluted, and the poorest of the poor live in arid areas where water is scarce.
Scholars, scientists, and policymakers have hailed ecosystem-based management (EBM) as a remedy for the perceived shortcomings of the centralized, top-down, expert-driven environmental regulatory framework established in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. EBM entails collaborative, landscape-scale planning and flexible, adaptive implementation. But although scholars have analyzed aspects of EBM for more than a decade, until now there has been no systematic empirical study of the overall approach.
The "golden era" of American environmental lawmaking, between 1964 and 1980, saw twenty-two pieces of major environmental legislation (including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act) passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress and signed into law by presidents of both parties. But since then environmental issues have divided the parties and engendered bitter interest-group politics, with most new proposals blocked by legislative gridlock.
Most of us are familiar with the terms climate change and global warming, but not too many of us understand the science behind them. We don't really understand how climate change will affect us, and for that reason we might not consider it as pressing a concern as, say, housing prices or the quality of local education. This book explains the scientific knowledge about global climate change clearly and concisely in engaging, nontechnical language, describes how it will affect all of us, and suggests how government, business, and citizens can take action against it.
It is well known that American businesses make an effort to influence environmental policy by attempting to set the political agenda and to influence regulations and legislation. This book examines what is not so well known: the extent to which business succeeds in its policy interventions.
Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation introduces an approach to environmental regulatory planning founded on a creative, interactive relationship between business and government. The authors argue that regulation—often too narrowly defined as direct, command-and-control standard-setting and enforcement—should include the full range of activities intended to influence private behavior to conform to public goals. The concept of strategic regulatory planning that the book introduces provides a model for designing more effective environmental regulation.
Buying land to conserve it is not a recent phenomenon. Buying Nature chronicles the evolution of land acquisition as a conservation strategy in the United States since the late 1700s. It goes beyond the usual focus on conservation successes to provide a critical assessment of both public and private land acquisition efforts.
In recent years, water resource management in the United States has begun a shift away from top-down, government agency-directed decision processes toward a collaborative approach of negotiation and problem solving. Rather than focusing on specific pollution sources or specific areas within a watershed, this new process considers the watershed as a whole, seeking solutions to an interrelated set of social, economic, and environmental problems.
This survey of current issues and controversies in environmental policy and management is unique in its thematic mix, broad coverage of key debates and approaches, and in-depth analysis of concepts treated less thoroughly in other texts. The contributing authors, all distinguished scholars or practitioners, offer a comprehensive examination of key topics in environmental governance today, including perspectives from environmental economics, democratic theory, public policy, law, political science, and public administration.
The United States in recent years has been abandoning its historical role as a leader in environmental regulation. At the same time, the European Union, spurred by political integration, has enacted many new environmental laws and assumed a leadership role in promoting global environmental sustainability.
In the last two decades, people in a growing number of localities in the United States have developed grassroots ecosystem management (GREM) as a means to resolve policy problems affecting their environment, economy, and communities. Ad hoc and voluntary groups of environmentalists, developers, businesspeople, federal and state resource managers, farmers, loggers, local citizens, and those representing recreation interests use deliberation and consensus to enhance public policy performance.
Today at least twenty-five major U.S. cities have pursued some form of sustainability initiative. Although many case studies and "how-to" manuals have been published, there has been little systematic comparison of these cities' programs and initiatives. In this book Kent Portney lays the theoretical groundwork for research on what works and what does not, and why.
The world's industrialized nations are the major consumers of the Earth's resources and major sources of environmental pollution. Environmental protection plays an important role in the politics of most of these nations. Although a large and growing body of literature exists on environmental problems and policies in the developed world, most of it focuses on government policy in individual nations. A smaller body of literature compares specific environmental policies in two or more nations.
In the absence of world government, effective national policy is essential to the success of international environmental initiatives. Yet research on global environmental cooperation has proceeded without models of policy change in developing countries, where most of the world's people, land, and species are found. In this book Paul Steinberg provides a theoretical framework to explain the domestic responses of developing countries to global environmental concerns.
The fluidity of transboundary waters perfectly represents contemporary challenges to modern governance. This book offers conceptual and empirical support for the idea that the human relationship with water must move beyond rationalist definitions of water as product, property, and commodity. Depending on context, water may be a security issue, a gift of nature, a product of imagination, or an integral part of the natural or cultural ecology.