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State and EnvironmentThe Comparative Study of Environmental Governance$
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Andreas Duit

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027120

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027120.001.0001

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Comparing Environmental Performance

Comparing Environmental Performance

Chapter:
(p.27) 2 Comparing Environmental Performance
Source:
State and Environment
Author(s):

James Meadowcroft

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027120.003.0002

This chapter deals with an important theme in the study of environmental governance: the comparative assessment of environmental performance. It discusses conceptual and methodological issues involved in the attempt to compare environmental performance from one period to another and from one jurisdiction to another. After a general consideration of the challenge of assessing comparative environmental performance, the chapter examines two well-known efforts to provide a comprehensive assessment of national environmental performance: the ecological footprint, a useful tool for illustrating the extent to which current consumption and production patterns exceed the long-term bio-capacity at the local or global level, and the Environmental Performance Index, which takes into account “Environmental Health” and “Ecosystem Vitality.” These two examples highlight the difficulties and complexities associated with environmental assessment. The chapter concludes by outlining four interdependent areas of “environmental performance”: environmental governance, quality of the lived environment, ecosystems and natural resources, and contribution to global environmental issues.

Keywords:   environmental governance, comparative assessment, environmental performance, ecological footprint, Environmental Performance Index, environmental health, ecosystem vitality, environmental assessment, ecosystems, natural resources

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