Global Environmental Politics in the Twenty-First Century

Book Presentation

Bonn, 28.09.2017


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Johannes Urpelainen, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment and the Founding Director of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Washington, DC), is presenting his new book on Global Environmental Politics in the Twenty-First Century.

Global environmental politics has undergone a series of fundamental changes since the first international summit on the environment in Stockholm in 1972. During the first two decades of post-Stockholm global environmental politics, negotiations over agreements to mitigate environmental problems were dominated by industrialized countries, while the developing world adopted a hostile position and expressed concerns about environmental constraints on economic growth.

Since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio, developing countries have become both more pivotal and more active in international environmental negotiations. Spearheaded by China, economic activity in the developing world has raised their importance as sources of pollution, consumers of renewable and non-renewable resources – and strategic actors with bargaining power.

What are the fundamental drivers of this change? How will global environmental politics evolve in the future?

In his book project on Global Environmental Politics in the Twenty-First Century, Johannes Urpelainen argues that the single most important driver of changes in global environmental politics is the growing importance of developing countries. First with China's economic transformation and then with the economic success of other developing countries, mitigating environmental issues such as climate change now revolves around finding ways to support sustainable economic growth in poor countries. The number of countries on the verge of rapid, sustained economic growth is by now large, and the growth and consumption trajectories of these countries shape the future of the planet. As the number of relevant actors increases, global environmental agreements must consider the needs and constraints of countries (i) that have only recently begun to see rapid economic growth (ii) and the governments of which increasingly depend on the spoils of economic growth for their legitimacy and political survival.


  • Clara Brandi, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)


  • Johannes Urpelainen, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies


  • Manjiao Chi, Xiamen University
  • Fariborz Zelli, University of Lund

Q&A with the audience

Reception with drinks and fingerfood

Hinweis / Please note

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Datum / Uhr
28.09.2017 / 19:30 - 21:00


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Tulpenfeld 6
53113 Bonn


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