Theories of International Relations

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1 Theories of International Relations Green Theory in IR Běla Plechanovová

2 you should understand the concerns and contributions of green theory appreciate the challenge this presents to traditional IR theory recognise that there are internal tensions regarding the role of the state appreciate the relevance of green IR theory in selected case study, e.g. climate change

3 structure of the lecture environment and IR historical context demographic and resources availability issues environmental issues in international politics streams of environmental/green thought current standing of the green thought in IR debate

4 environment and IR social natural processes time horizons backward 19th century, industrial revolution forward years world population will grow by ⅓ to more than ½ accompanied by major redistribution depletion of main traditional non-renewable energy resources (oil, coal, gass) growth of productivity of agricultural soil will stop

5 historical context 1960s growing awareness of imminent problems demographic growth, unequal distribution of world s wealth, degradation of traditional resources critique of the side-effects of rapid economic growth 1970s - Limits to Growth debate Dennis and Donnela Meddows, Jorgen Randers s - green parties struggle for approach to environmental issues 1990s - challenge to liberalism and socialism, 3rd/4th debate context

6 key issues in environmental/international politics debates Garett Hardin (1968) Tragedy of the Commons abandoning the commons of breeding as well as pollution life-boat ethics debate unequal distribution of wealth, foreign aid; the wealthy will not be able to support the growing numbers of the poor - limits to growth debate (Donella & Dennis Meadows (1970)) Paterson, in Burchill sustainable development concept since 1980s ecological modernization since 1990s economic competition and constant technological innovation produce economic growth that uses less energy and resources (EU, OECD) key political issue attitude towards the concept of economic growth i.e. IPE agenda

7 first wave green theory emerged in the social sciences and humanities green scholarship has grown apace with: increasing global economic and ecological interdependence the emergence of uniquely global ecological problems such as: climate change thinning of the ozone layer erosion of the Earth s biodiversity

8 streams of environmental/green thought environmentalism change in value-orientation of Western philosophical tradition (both conservative and liberal) humans as indiviaduals or society as a basis of hierarchy of values non-human nature is ascribed a value per se neoliberal privatization of responsibility for both resources and the externalities etatist the nature of important ecological goods air, water etc. is not suitable for private transactions (distribution, exclusion from consumption) public goods sustainable development strategy (Gro Brundtland Our Common Future, 1987) neoliberal institutionalism

9 green theory explanation of the process of destruction of nature by human societies normative theory providing an instruction how to reverse the process of destruction and build sustainable community challenges current political, social, economic and normative structures of current international politics as they are part of the problem, generating the process of destruction

10 green political theory ecocentrism declares original moral value of the whole ecosystems and all living creatures (non-derived from the value these have for humans) value is given by the natural process (not by human act, work or relation to) holistic perspective every creature is embedded in its environment (ecosystems, species, populations) from liberal democracy to ecological democracy Eckersley, R.(1992) Environmentalism and Political Theory: Toward an Ecocentric Approach Eckersley, R. (2004) Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty see chapter 1 Goodin, R.E. (1992) Green Political Theory

11 second wave more transnational and cosmopolitan produced new global conceptualizations of: environmental justice environmental activism environmental rights green states environmental citizenship environmental democracy debates on relationship between capitalist development and environmental protection: highlighted sustainable development paradox environmental protection through (albeit more environmentally efficient) growth generation of more aggregate environmental problems (albeit at a slower rate)

12 green IR theory global ecology critique of sustainable development concept (break-away part of green movement) back to limits to growth concept process of enclosure process of transformation of common spaces to private goods back to commons not an open-access resource (Hardin) IPE: Alternative analysis of global ecological problems to that of regime theory Normative: Articulates new norms of environmental justice and green democracy at all levels of governance Sachs, W. (1993) Global Ecology: A New Arena for Political Conflict Whose Common Future? Reclaiming the Commons (The Ecologist, 1993)

13 green IR theory challenges to mainstream rationalist approaches exposed the problematic environmental assumptions and ethical values in neorealism and neoliberalism added to the critique of positivist IR theories highlighted social agents and social structures that have systematically blocked the negotiation of more ecologically enlightened regimes explored the role of non-state forms of deterritorialised governance however, internal disputes remain in terms of the role of the state in a greener world

14 case study Climate Change United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed at the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries agreed to reduce their aggregate levels of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by an average of 5.2 percent. At COP13 held in Bali in December, 2007 the parties agreed on a broad roadmap, known as the Bali Action Plan, to guide the negotiations towards a new treaty, which was to be signed at Copenhagen in December 2009 but was signed only in 2015 in Paris. The role of United States in climate change negotiations are central but US reluctance to sign the agreements have created problems for the negotiations. Neorealists and neoliberals fail to adequately understand developments in negotiations. Green IR theorists give prominence to the role of justice norms in their analysis. This normative framework is essential to understanding why a majority of states have ratified the Protocol.

15 contribution to IR theory new green discourses/concepts environmental justice sustainable development reflexive modernisation ecological security recast of the roles of the state, economic actors and citizens new analytical and normative insights into global environmental change

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