chapter  5
37 Pages

Political parties and the environment

Political parties are central to the working of Western liberal democracies. Almost always, the party that gets the most votes in an election forms a government. The act of governing is then driven by the governing party’s platform and by confrontation between the governing and the other major political parties in the political system. In the past, electoral responses that included environmental concerns have been almost exclusively a Western phenomenon in multi-party democratic states. This largely remains the case, and this fact is reflected in the content of this chapter. However, there have been three important developments since the turn of the new millennium:

● A party political response to environmental problems has emerged in non-Western democracies, such as evidenced by the fascinating party developments in places such as, for example, Taiwan, Israel and Brazil;

● For the first time, we have also seen one-party states such as Cuba and China having to confront and address environmental politics in a serious way; and

● Even electoral politics is not immune from the processes of globalization. In the past, political parties almost exclusively reflected the domestic political terrain within nation states. The emergence in 2001 of the Global Greens – a coalition of green parties around the world – challenges this traditional picture.