Politically, the world is composed of states. Environmentally, the world is made up of ecosystems. This disconnection between ecological and political systems makes addressing environmental issues at the global level both more difficult and more necessary. This volume examines how we should set about addressing the problems that face the environment internationally. The field of international environmental politics draws on a variety of academic traditions. It uses international relations theory to look at the concerns and actions of states; but it also uses variety of new perspectives to explain issues that are unique to the study of the environment. Elizabeth DeSombre explores four important approaches to the field: International environmental cooperation; the relationship between the environment and security; the issues of science, uncertainty and risk; and the role of non-state actors. She explores these approaches with the help of case studies on specific problems facing the global environment, focusing in particular on ozone depletion and global climate change; the politics of whaling; the protection of Amazonian biodiversity; and acid rain in Europe and North America.
Elizabeth R. DeSombre is Frost Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Associate Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College, USA.