Global environmental governance reconsidered by Frank Biermann & Philipp Pattberg.

Author:Hoff, Samuel B.
Position:Book review

Biermann, Frank, and Philipp Pattberg, eds. Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. xvi + 301 pages. Cloth, $25.00.

This compendium of studies edited by political scientists Frank Biermann and Philipp Pattberg reports the results of the decade-long Global Governance Project, an effort led by the editors and including forty researchers at thirteen European locations. The purpose of the project was to examine the subject of global environmental governance from the standpoint of three new trends: greater participation of non-state actors; increasing public-private partnerships; and more segmentation of the layers of rulemaking. These trends are used to structure the text in three parts.

Part I deals with new actors in global environmental governance and includes chapters on international bureaucracies, global corporations, and science networks. The researchers who investigated international bureaucracies report that structure and internal factors determine the influence of these organizations. Other chapters present case studies detailing the success of global policy on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and biodiversity. Global corporations are active on environmental issues as lobbyists, communicators, and regulators. These same corporations, however, can be limited by industry conflict and by countervailing forces such as non-government organizations (NGOs). Science networks are also part of the changing landscape of global environmental governance, and reflect the greater institutionalization of science and the augmented uses of advisory bodies. Case studies in this area include the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Whaling Commission, and trade policy dealing with genetically modified organisms. Overall, science's sway on policy is dependent on the inclusiveness of the investigatory process and its pertinence to politics.

Part II details research findings pertaining to new mechanisms or forms of cooperation in global environmental governance. Transitional environmental regimes resemble international regimes but without legally binding rules. Examples of such agreements are the Forest Stewardship Council and the Forest Alliance. Other case studies include the transnational public-private partnerships emanating from the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. Researchers studying this area maintain that these partnerships, although...

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