Country: United Kingdom (Wales)
I study the global politics of climate change, biodiversity, and wastes (e.g., plastics, e-waste). My publications focus on countries' negotiation strategies, and how environmental movements try to influence global environmental negotiations. A regular at UN negotiations, I've attended over 30 meetings to study how global rules for the environment are made and remade.
Energy And Climate Policy
International Law & Organization
The Paris Agreement is a form of dangerous incrementalism in two ways. First, it builds upon existing institutions, which already have a track record of failing to address the climate crisis. Second, states, NGOs, and others continue to uncritically support the Agreement, conferring legitimacy on a solution that looks destined to fall short.
Today's global climate movement is substantial and diverse. In the mid‐2000s, an influx of activists and organizations advancing social issues, such as gender, labor, justice, development and indigenous rights (to name a few) arrived at the UN climate negotiations, fragmenting civil society. I argue that, in part, the rise of these ‘new’ climate activists can be explained by the ongoing negotiations for a legally binding treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which added new issues that became ‘discursive hooks’ for NGOs’ claims to belonging in the climate regime. Linking to a specific institution had two effects: it served as an entry point to frame climate issues as social issues; and it helped NGOs carve a niche in climate policy in which they were authorities. In the Paris regime, this history matters, as some NGOs will fare better under the new rules than others. First, those established in institutions enshrined in the Paris Agreement will continue to have a foothold in the regime. Second, those that built their authority on their expertise or their capacity to deliver mitigation results may find more opportunities than those making moral claims.
The Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions are engaged in a path-breaking “synergies” initiative that coordinates and even integrates parts of their administration, operation, and implementation. This includes holding TripleCOPs during which their Conference of the Parties meet together in sequential and simultaneous sessions. This article provides a preliminary analysis of this unprecedented experimentation. We find several important positive and negative procedural, political, and policy consequences of the new format, including: countries with large delegations hold a variety of advantages; developing countries can potentially leverage negotiating strength in one convention to advance concerns in another; it is easier to address the environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes holistically as well as specific technical issues that involve two or more of the treaties; and new opportunities exist for brinkmanship, obstruction, and cross-treaty negotiating that can make reaching agreement on some issues more difficult.
Jennifer Hadden and I argue that environmental NGOs were able to influence the "loss and damage" provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change by making the issue a matter of justice, not legality.
Why Malaysia is turning back plastic waste from rich countries, and how plastic recycling is contributing to the plastic pollution problem. (starting at 34:38)
The Philippines is threatening war with Canada over a waste shipment. I spoke about how this shipment highlights many problems with the extensive illegal waste trade. (starting at 2hr 10 mins)
The Philippines and Canada's dispute over an illegal waste shipment sent in 2014 and rotting in the sun since. We spoke about the scale of global waste trade, how much of it is illegal and why these global waste disputes might be just the beginning. (starting 6:48)
A new UN decision on plastic waste can empower developing countries, and help make the global recycling system more just.