Earth system governance: A research framework

Frank Biermann, Michele M. Betsill, Joyeeta Gupta, Norichika Kanie, Louis Lebel, Diana Liverman, Heike Schroeder, Bernd Siebenhüner, Ruben Zondervan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Earth System Science Partnership, which unites all major global change research programmes, declared in 2001 an urgent need to develop "strategies for Earth System management". Yet what such strategies might be, how they could be developed, and how effective, efficient and equitable such strategies would be, remains unspecified. It is apparent that the institutions, organizations and mechanisms by which humans currently govern their relationship with the natural environment and global biochemical systems are not only insufficient-they are also poorly understood. This article presents the science programme of the Earth System Governance Project, a new 10-year global research effort endorsed by the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). It outlines the concept of earth system governance as a challenge for the social sciences, and it elaborates on the interlinked analytical problems and research questions of earth system governance as an object of study. These analytical problems concern the overall architecture of earth system governance, agency beyond the state and of the state, the adaptiveness of governance mechanisms and processes as well as their accountability and legitimacy, and modes of allocation and access in earth system governance. The article also outlines four crosscutting research themes that are crucial for the study of each analytical problem as well as for the integrated understanding of earth system governance: the role of power, knowledge, norms and scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-298
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

Keywords

  • Accountability
  • Adaptiveness
  • Agency
  • Allocation and access
  • Architecture
  • Earth system analysis
  • Earth system governance
  • Global governance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law

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  • Cite this

    Biermann, F., Betsill, M. M., Gupta, J., Kanie, N., Lebel, L., Liverman, D., Schroeder, H., Siebenhüner, B., & Zondervan, R. (2010). Earth system governance: A research framework. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 10(4), 277-298. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10784-010-9137-3