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This will be our last post on the Environmental Security blog.

Changes to the Environmental Security unit in the Centre of Criminology are due to take place and our programmes, as a result, will also be changing.

We trust that you have found this a valuable resource and we thank you for your support.

The Environmental Security Team

New Article: “Global Environmental Change and Human Security”

O’Brien, K. & Barnett, J., 2013. Global Environmental Change and Human Security. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 38(1): 373–391.

Abstract: This article reviews research on global environmental change and human security, providing retrospective and tentative prospective views of this field. It explains the roles that the concept of human security has played in research on environmental change, as well as the knowledge that it has contributed. It then discusses the Global Environmental Change and Human Security (GECHS) project as an example of how this research has encouraged a more politicized understanding of the problem of global environmental change, drawing attention to the roles of power, agency, and knowledge. Finally, the article considers new research frontiers that have emerged from this field, including research on social transformations as a means of promoting, sustaining, and enhancing human security in response to complex global environmental challenges. The potential contributions of human security approaches to the next generation of global change research are discussed.

Available for download with subscription here.

New Article: “Alleviating Barriers to Urban Climate Change Adaptation through International Cooperation”

Oberlack, C. & Eisenack, K., 2013. Alleviating Barriers to Urban Climate Change Adaptation through International Cooperation. Global Environmental Change, 1–14.

Abstract: International cooperation on climate change adaptation is regarded as one of the major avenues to reduce vulnerability in developing countries. Nevertheless, it remains unclear which design properties of international arrangements match with specific problems in local adaptation processes. This paper analyses conditions and institutional design options under which international cooperation can facilitate climate adaptation in urban areas in developing countries. We conduct a qualitative meta-analysis of empirical evidence from 23 cases. Using the archetype approach, we identify re-appearing barriers and change factors in urban squatter settlements and municipal public sectors in developing countries. We characterise five generic modes of international cooperation for climate adaptation based on UNFCCC documents, process observation, and literature review. Combining these analyses, we develop testable propositions that explain how specific design options of international arrangements can alleviate barriers and make use of change factors for urban adaptation in developing countries. We find, first, that international cooperation has the most potential to tackle adaptation barriers in squatter settlements if its institutional mechanisms support improvements of procedures and rights in localised state–society interactions. Second, national or regional centres of competence may foster endogenous dynamics in municipal public sectors. Third, national adaptation policies can enable and incentivise municipal adaptation. Fourth, flexible indicators of adaptation benefits are instruments to tailor international decision making and monitoring systems to local needs. We conclude that these insights, the archetypes approach, and a multi-level study design can be used to advance research on international cooperation, barriers, and success factors for climate change adaptation.

Available for download with subscription here.

New Book: ‘Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security’

Redclift, M.R. & Grasso, M. (2013). Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security. Edward Elgar Publishing. 

Description: The Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security is a landmark publication which links the complexities of climate change to the wellbeing and resilience of human populations. It is written in an engaging and accessible way but also conveys the state of the art on both climate change research and work into human security, utilizing both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Organized around thematic sections, each chapter is written by an acknowledged expert in the field, and discusses the key concepts and evidence base for our current policy choices, and the dilemmas of international policy in the field.

For more information click here.

New Book: ‘Business and Climate Change Governance: South Africa in Comparative Perspective’

Börzel, T.A. & Hamman, R. (2013). Business and Climate Change Governance: South Africa in Comparative Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. 

Why do business organisations contribute to climate change governance in areas of limited statehood? In many countries, governments are too weak and often also not willing to set and enforce climate change regulations. While companies have the capacities to fill the resulting governance gap, conventional wisdom expects them to take advantage by relocating their production sites in order to escape strict national regulation. Studies on South Africa, Kenya and Germany demonstrate that business contributions to the mitigation and adaptation to climate change vary significantly between countries, sectors and firms. In order to explain these variations, the contributors bring together two important literatures that rarely speak to each other – governance and business management – arguing that the threat of public regulation has an important role in motivating business efforts.

For more information click here.

New Article: ‘Corporate Corruption of the Environment: Sustainability as a Process of Compromise’

Nyberg, D. & Wright, C. (2013). Corporate Corruption of the Environment: Sustainability as a Process of Compromise. The British Journal of Sociology. 64 (3): 1-20.

Abstract: A key response to environmental degradation, climate change and declining biodiversity has been the growing adoption of market principles in an effort to better value the social good of nature.Through concepts such as ‘natural capitalism’ and ‘corporate environmentalism’, nature is increasingly viewed as a domain of capitalist endeavour. In this article, we use convention theory and a pluralist understanding of social goods to investigate how the social good of the environment is usurped by the alternate social good of the market.Through analysis of interviews with sustainability managers and corporate documentation, we highlight how organizational actors employ compromise to temporally settle disputes between competing claims about environmental activities. Our findings contribute to an understanding of the processes of empirically grounded critique and the undertheorized concept of compromise between social goods. Rather than protecting the environment, the corporate promotion of sustainability facilitates the corruption of the social good of the environment and its conversion into a market commodity.

Available for download with subscription here.


New Article: ‘Urban Environmental Challenges and Climate Change Action in Durban, South Africa’

Roberts, D. & O’Donoghue, S. (2013). Urban Environmental Challenges and Climate Change Action in Durban, South Africa. Environment and Urbanization. DOI: 10.1177/0956247813500904

Abstract: This paper reflects on the progress made in climate change adaptation in the city of Durban since the launch of the Municipal Climate Protection Programme in 2004. This includes the initial difficulties in getting the attention of key sectors within municipal government, and how this was addressed and also served by the more detailed understanding of the range of adaptation options and their cost-benefits. There is also a better understanding of the potentials and constraints on community-based adaptation and the opposition from some landowners to measures to protect and enhance ecosystem services. The paper ends with lessons learnt that contradict some common assumptions – for instance, what approaches best build support for climate change adaptation within local governments, what measures work and from where lessons can be drawn. It also describes the perhaps unexpected linkages between local action and international influence and highlights the need for international climate change negotiations to recognize the key roles of urban governments in developing locally rooted adaptation and resilience.

Available for download with subscription here.


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