alexa Greening a Machiavellian State? Insights for International Environmental Governance

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Greening a Machiavellian State? Insights for International Environmental Governance

The age of climate change that we live in has forced scholars and policymakers to rethinking fundamental tenets of international environmental governance. Moving beyond the ‘pure modes of governance, in which either state or market actors play a leading role, scholars now recommend co-management, public-private partnerships, or social-private partnerships, each of which accord significant space to non-state actors. Such propositions and the numerous ongoing attempts to implement them have in turn led to concerns about the accountability of the non-state actors involved. Others have put forth proposals for ‘stakeholder democracy’, with an added emphasis on democratic representation and accountability of civil society participants in international environmental governance. In this article, I argue that important as these proposals are, they have detracted from a critical scrutiny of the continuing dominance of the state, and the need to hold the state to account. I argue that to aid the agenda of state accountability, scholars and policymakers will need to address two fundamental aspects of contemporary international environmental governance: first, the dominant discourses of environmentalism that inform policies of international environmental governance need to be questioned; second, the top down efforts of international agencies must give way to interventions that aid politically mobilized groups of citizens capable of pressuring governments to adopt nationally suitable environmental action. 

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