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The New Accountability: environmental responsibility across borders

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Michael Mason|    
Earthscan (17 February 2005)

The twenty-first century will see a fundamental global shift in human understanding of, and engagement with, cross-border environmental risks, as their increasing severity threatens to render existing political mechanisms for addressing them redundant. 

Various international agreements exist between countries to reduce risks to their populations arising from, for example, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, transboundary pollution and movements of genetically modified organisms. However, there is a clear mismatch between state responsibilities and transboundary hazards - a divergence that has allowed the growth of a global 'accountability deficit' in which state priorities do not correspond with the interests of those affected by environmental damage. These affected publics usually have little recourse against major offenders, such as polluting transnational corporations. 

Drawing on a wide range of case studies, this book provides a fresh understanding of democratic accountability for transboundary and global harm. It argues that environmental responsibility should be established in open public discussions about harm and risk. Most critically, it makes the case that, regardless of nationality or residence, affected parties should be empowered to seek answerability and redress from those responsible for major environmental degradation. 

Dr Michael Mason is a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE. 

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Book launch

The New Accountability: environmental responsibility across borders is launched at LSE on Thursday 17 February from 6-7.30pm in the Graham Wallas Room (A550), Old Building, LSE.

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