This special section of Ecological Economics focuses on the analytical challenge of accountability, legitimacy and the democratic quality of earth system governance. It is intended to be a first comprehensive attempt to bring a variety of perspectives to bear on questions of accountability and legitimacy, which are still comparatively under-analysed in global change and governance literatures.
The first article by Frank Biermann and Aarti Gupta lays out a research agenda for analysis of accountability and legitimacy of earth system governance, drawing also on the contributions to the remainder of the special section.
This introductory contribution is followed by in-depth analysis of deliberative democracy and its relationship to earth system governance by John S. Dryzek and Hayley Stevenson (An earlier version of this article has been published in the Earth System Governance Working Paper Series). The role for global administrative law in securing more accountable and legitimate earth system governance is the topic of the contribution by Francesca Spagnuolo, and the complex inter-linkages between transparency, accountability and effectiveness of multilevel environmental governance arrangements are addressed in the contribution by Ronald B. Mitchell.
These conceptual contributions are complemented by analyses of accountability and legitimacy challenges in a broad array of public and private governance arrangements in specific issue-areas, including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (Greetje Schouten and Pieter Glasbergen); the new climate mitigation mechanism of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) (Markus Lederer, and G Kristin Rosendal and Steinar Andresen); and transnational public–private partnerships as a tool of water governance (Eleni Dellas).
This Special Issue with Ecological Economics is the fourth special issue developing the research agenda of the Earth System Governance Project as outlined in its Science and Implementation Plan. Previous special issues are:
- International Environmental Agreements (Volume 10, Number 4) – On the concept and analytical problems of Earth System Governance. Edited by Frank Biermann and Ruben Zondervan.
- International Environmental Agreements (Volume 11, Number 1) – On the analytical problem of Agency in Earth System Governance. Edited by Michele M. Betsill, Philipp Pattberg, and Eleni Dellas
- Environmental Science & Policy (Volume 14, Number 2) – On governing and implementing REDD+. Edited by Esteve Corbera, Heike Schroeder and Oliver Springate-Baginski.