The term Anthropocene denotes a new geological epoch characterized by the unprecedented impact of human activities on the Earth’s ecosystems. While the natural sciences have advanced their understanding of the drivers and processes of global change considerably over the last two decades, the social sciences lag behind in addressing the fundamental challenge of governance and politics in the Anthropocene.

This book attempts to close this crucial research gap, in particular with regards to the following three overarching research themes: (i) the meaning, sense-making and contestations emerging around the concept of the Anthropocene related to the social sciences; (ii) the role and relevance of institutions, both formal and informal as well as international and transnational, for governing in the Anthropocene; and (iii) the role and relevance of accountability and other democratic principles for governing in the Anthropocene. Drawing together a range of key thinkers in the field, this volume provides one of the first authoritative assessments of global environmental politics and governance in the Anthropocene, reflecting on how the planetary scale crisis changes the ways in which humans respond to the challenge.

This volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of global environmental politics and governance, and sustainable development.

chapter |12 pages

Global environmental governance in the Anthropocene

An introduction
ByPhilipp Pattberg, Fariborz Zelli

part |66 pages

Making sense of the Anthropocene

chapter |16 pages

The Anthropocene and the body ecologic

ByMarcel Wissenburg

chapter |16 pages

Nature and the Anthropocene

The sense of an ending?
ByManuel Arias-Maldonado

chapter |15 pages


Delusion, celebration and concern
BySimon Hailwood

chapter |17 pages

Fair distribution in the Anthropocene

Towards a normative conception of sustainable development
BySimon Meisch

part |85 pages

Institutions in the Anthropocene

chapter |22 pages

Mapping institutional complexity in the Anthropocene

A network approach
ByOscar Widerberg

chapter |24 pages

Transnational governance towards sustainable biofuels

Exploring a polycentric view
ByChristine Moser, Robert Bailis

chapter |18 pages

Governing the Arctic in the era of the Anthropocene

Does corporate authority matter in Arctic shipping governance?
ByJudith van Leeuwen

chapter |19 pages

International river governance

Extreme events as a trigger for discursive change in the Rhine river basin
ByChristine Prokopf

part |78 pages

Accountability and legitimacy in the Anthropocene

chapter |17 pages

Democratic accountability in the Anthropocene

Toward a non-legislative model
ByWalter F. Baber, Robert V. Bartlett

chapter |14 pages

Monitoring commitments made under the Kyoto Protocol

An effective tool for accountability in the Anthropocene?
ByMartina Kühner

chapter |15 pages

The legitimacy and transformation of global climate governance in the Anthropocene

Implications for the global South
ByMarija Isailovic

chapter |18 pages

The practices of lobbying for rights in the Anthropocene era

Local communities, indigenous peoples and international climate negotiations
ByLinda Wallbott

chapter |12 pages


Complexity, responsibility and urgency in the Anthropocene
ByFariborz Zelli, Philipp Pattberg