New Publication – ‘The New Environmental Governance’

The New Environmental Governance (by Gunningham N, Holley C and Shearing C) is a bold and profoundly new way of governing environmental problems is palpable around the globe and aims to overcome the limitations of the interventionist state and its market alternative to offer more effective and legitimate solutions to today’s most pressing environmental problems. The ‘new environmental governance’ (NEG) emphasises a host of novel characteristics including participation, collaboration, deliberation, learning and adaptation and ‘new’ forms of accountability. While these unique features have generated significant praise from legal and governance scholars, there have been very few systematic evaluations of NEG in practice, and it is still unclear whether NEG will in fact ‘work’, and if so, when and how.

This book offers one of the most rigorous research investigations into cutting edge trends in environmental governance to date. Focusing its inquiry around some of the most central, controversial and/or under researched characteristics of NEG, the book offers fresh insights into the conditions under which we can best achieve successful collaboration, effective learning and adaptation, meaningful participatory and deliberative governance and effective forms of accountability. The book synthesizes its findings to identify eight design principles of ‘good’ NEG that are central to its success and will provide useful guidance for policymakers and scholars seeking to apply new governance to a wide range of environmental and non-environmental policy contexts. The book also advances our understanding of State governance and will be a valuable reference for scholars, researchers and students working in law and regulation studies – especially in the field of environmental law.

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New Report – ‘Ecosystems for water and food security’

A new report titled Ecosystems for Water and Food Security published by United Nations Environment Programme,  aims at illustrating the importance of healthy ecosystems for the provisioning of key services that contribute to food security. Such ecosystem services are water provisioning and food production. In this regard the publication will provide an overview of the linkages between ecosystems, water, and food security. The publication further will explore how to manage ecosystems for a variety of ecosystem services such as provisioning of water and food, and how to manage ecosystems in a sustainable way so they can substantially contribute to enhancing current and future food security.

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‘Reconsidering Copenhagen’

Abstract: The voluntary emission reductions pledged under the Copenhagen Accord are almost certainly insufficient to limit global warming to 2 °C. However, using the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund for mitigation efforts could achieve the reductions needed to fill the gap.

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‘SA to benefit should climate funding target be met, Manuel says’

Engineering News, 25 August 2011

If the proposed Green Climate Fund committee were able to raise the $100-billion-a-year targeted for disbursement among developing countries by 2020, South Africa stood in line to receive between $1-billion and $2-billion of that amount, Minister in The Presidency Responsible for the National Planning Commission Trevor Manuel reports.

As a disclaimer, Manuel added that the “if” was a “big if”, because, as a part of the transitional committee aiming to raise fast-start finance under the climate regime, he realised that it was “easier extracting teeth than getting them [developed countries] to part with their money.”

“It is going to be a world where there isn’t much sympathy, where wealthy countries are not going to be taking any prisoners, but it does require us to position ourselves, so that we can benefit.”

South Africa would also need to think about how it would extract and use those resources to drive the changes that the country requires. Strong project plans and the capacity to carry those out would be required, while the appropriate legal and financial instruments would also need solid governance arrangements.

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New Article – ‘Global Democracy and Earth System Governance’

Abstract: The issue of climate change confirms the global reach of earth system governance, whose legitimacy and effectiveness could gain from democratisation. While electoral democracy as practised in states provides no model for global democracy, lessons drawn from the performance and history of states prove helpful in identifying the elements that a well functioning ecological democracy ought to strive for. We capture these elements through reference to the idea of a deliberative system, and show how the idea of such a system can be used to analyse, evaluate, and provide prescriptions for the global governance of climate change.

Full Citation: Dryzek, J.S. and Stevenson, H. (2011). Global democracy and earth system governance, Ecological Economics, 70 (11): 1865-1874 (Available with full subscription at:


‘Food system sustainability: Questions of environmental governance in the new world (dis)order’

Abstract: In a time of climate emergency, the question of environmental governance is not only critical, but also epistemic. How ‘environment’ is represented is as critical as how environmental crisis is managed. This essay addresses a debate of this kind by considering the complementary and contradictory relations between the concepts of ‘multi-functionality’ and ‘food sovereignty,’ as they define the global landscape. The juxtaposition of these concepts and their practical implications for political economy and ecology has its formative origins in a European-led debate over the role of agriculture, as a critical dimension of environmental governance. In this chapter I examine this debate as posing questions with broader, global significance.

McMichael, P. (2011). Food system sustainability: Questions of environmental governance in the new world (dis)order, Global Environmental Change, 21 (3): 804-812 (Available with subscription from: 

‘Calculated risks’

Extract:  Brisbane, a floodplain city on the coast of Queensland, Australia, is an appropriate location for a meeting to discuss the link between extreme weather events and climate change. Widespread floods across Queensland this year claimed many lives and caused some $30 billion1 of damage. Then in February came the brutal Cyclone Yasi, one of the most powerful to hit Australia. In the past two years, the country has experienced record levels of drought, wildfires and sea temperatures.

The Brisbane meeting, held in May, was organized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to finalize its new special report on extreme climatic events — expected to be published in February next year. It brought together climate scientists and experts in disaster response. The IPCC process demands consensus, but this has proved awkward on some aspects of this topic, according to John Handmer, director of the Centre for Risk and Community Safety at RMIT University in Melbourne. “And I think it will until the final plenary sign off.”

Full Citation: Petherick, A. (2011). Calculated Risks, Nature Climate Change, 1: 188-189 (Available with full subscription at: 



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