Research in our Environmental Governance theme pursues an explicit focus on the complex interlinkages between environmental problems caused by human actions, and issues surrounding governance processes, including planning, at various scales and in different geographical settings.
Our research here has made a number of major contributions. For example, our work on climate governance and energy transitions has produced the first global analysis of factors shaping the design of national emissions trading schemes, and has developed new insights on how justice is contested in debates on climate and renewable energy policy. Further, our research into community-level socio-environmental resilience, undertaken in collaboration with national and international partners, has developed and applied resilience concepts across a range of communities, using interdisciplinary frameworks to explore the importance of social and economic resilience in conserving underpinning ecosystem services (e.g. soil conservation) in developing countries.
Emerging and future research areas here include:
- the development of further ground-breaking approaches to environmental governance by driving new understandings of how to manage the effects of issue-attention cycles on policies affecting plastics and climate change
- the dynamics of local authority net-zero carbon initiatives
- furthering understandings of the role of discourse and political bargaining in enabling advances in climate and energy policy
- the ways in which transport policy is developed and delivered in devolved political systems
- reconceptualising conservation-facing initiatives associated with ecological and protective bordering (e.g. rewilding, area designation), ecosystem services, and natural capital.
We will continue to lead in social-ecological systems research to meet the ambitious challenges of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘triple bottom line’ of economic development, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion.