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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 2, FEBRUARY 1997

BOOKS AND PROCEEDINGS...
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT


Item #d97feb37

Green Backlash: Global Subversion of the Environmental Movement, A. Rowell, 504 pp., 1996, $65/45 hbk., $18.95/12.99 pbk. (Routledge).

(See related NEWS item on science and policy, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Feb. 1997.) This book is the result of a two-year investigation, commissioned by Greenpeace, into the activities of the "anti-environmental movement," which the author claims is a coalition of right-wing organizations, big businesses and governments.

Reviewed by J. Morris (Nature, pp. 325-326, Nov. 28, 1996), who agrees that the author is right to criticize those who make scientifically unjustified statements about the state of the world. However, he undermines his own valiant effort to to condemn these non-scientific claims by littering his book with statements of dubious validity, and by taking a dogmatic view that alleged environmental problems, such as man-made global warming, should be seen as fact, not theory. The book's demand for scientific consensus would preclude criticism and kill off the very spirit of science.

Another perspective is offered in correspondence to Nature by C. Bates (ibid., p. 290, Jan. 23, 1997), who disagrees with much of the Morris review. Bates sees the book as an attempt to examine the way in which scientific knowledge is translated into a policy response and how this is open to abuse. Bates argues that proper application of the scientific method strengthens the case for strong action to respond to climate change. Morris, according to Bates, is a proponent of alternative hypotheses that attempt to explain how anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions do not lead to rising atmospheric concentrations, but these alternative hypotheses are challenged by plenty of confounding evidence.


Item #d97feb38

Institutions for Environmental Aid: Pitfalls and Promise, R.O. Keohane, M.A. Levy, 480 pp., 1996, $45 hbk./$22.50 pbk. (MIT).

Draws on research in economics, international relations, development assistance, and international environmental relations to evaluate the effectiveness of international institutions that facilitate the transfer of resources from richer to poorer countries. The author asks if institutions like the Global Environmental Facility increase concern, improve the contractual environment, and increase national capacity. Although there is some evidence of effectiveness in these terms, conflicts of interests within and between states, and involving nongovernmental and governmental organizations, are frequently debilitating.


Item #d97feb39

Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor, T. Athanasiou, 385 pp., 1996, 20.50 (Little-Brown).

"Feel good" environmentalism, such as recycling garbage or buying energy efficient products, makes little difference to the overall global environmental picture. The core problems, global warming and ozone depletion among them, can be overcome only through radical social and economic changes. The environmental crisis lies in the planetary divide between rich and poor.


Item #d97feb40

Principles of Sustainable Development, F.D. Muschett, Ed., 200 pp., 1996, $49.95 (St. Lucie).

Written for professionals in government and industries faced with environmental issues. Addresses the need for developed and developing countries to enter into a new phase of global trade and economic development. Included in the book's features is an analysis of critical elements of sustainable development, including environmental limits, population, and efficient use of natural resources.


Item #d97feb41

Nature, State and Economy: A Political Economy of the Environment, 2nd Ed., R.J. Johnston, 312 pp., 1996, 18.50 (Wiley).

The first edition was published as Environmental Problems: Nature, Economy and State. Provides insight into the problems of society which explain why environmental problems are getting worse even though they are ostensibly high on the political agendas of many developed countries.


Item #d97feb42

Environmental Management and Governance, P. May, R. Burby et al., 254 pp., 1996, US$74.95/Can.$104.95 hbk., US$24.95/Can.$34.95 pbk. (Routledge).

There is a growing recognition of the failures of current environmental policy mandates, and of the importance for environmental sustainability of decisions made by local governments about land use and development. At issue is how policies can be better designed and implemented to increase shared commitment between different layers of government. This book considers a different form of policy that uses flexibility rather than prescription and coercion, and examines these issues by analyzing cooperative policies in New Zealand and Australia that empower local governments to manage the environment sustainably. Contrasts this with the more coercive approaches used in corresponding programs in the U.S.


Item #d97feb43

Environmental Issues and Sustainable Futures: A Critical Guide to Recent Books, Reports and Periodicals, M. Marien, Ed., 157 pp., 1996, $35 (World Future Soc.).

Summarizes the latest in environmental literature.


Item #d97feb44

UNEP's New Way Forward: Environmental Law and Sustainable Development, 420 pp., 1996, $80 (UN Pubs.).

Addresses the challenges of sustainable development and effective implementation of the principles of environmental law. Topics include environmental equity and international law, liability for environmental damage, and foreign investment and international law.


Item #d97feb45

Just Environments: Intergenerational, International and Interspecies Issues, D.E. Cooper, J.A. Palmer, Eds., 1995 (Routledge).

A book for students in several disciplines, which attempts to answer questions about our responsibilities to future generations and to less developed nations, and how they are to be discharged. Also examines whether we should be concerned with the impact of our way of life on the rest of the living world.


Item #d97feb46

The Third World in Global Environmental Policies, M.A.L. Miller, 181 pp., 1995, $14.95 pbk. (L. Reiner Pubs., Boulder, Colo.).

This book won the International Studies Association's 1995 Sprout Award for the Best Environmental Book. Uses regime theory to look at ozone depletion, waste trade, and biodiversity, taking each case through the three stages: problem definition, bargaining, and transformation. Reviewed by L.A. Strohm (Environment, p. 31, No. 9, 1996), who considers this book a most interesting application of regime theory, highlighting a new "negative power leverage" the third World can use with common-pool, open-access resources where its cooperation is required to solve a global problem. Also reviewed by A. Najam (Intl. Environ. Affairs, pp., 92-95, Winter 1996), who says the book is a welcome contribution because of the way it poses and answers its central question.

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