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Environment: International Political Economy

  1. Andrew K. Jorgenson,
  2. Brett Clark

Published Online: 29 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670590.wbeog172

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization

How to Cite

Jorgenson, A. K. and Clark, B. 2012. Environment: International Political Economy. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 FEB 2012


A new era, the Anthropocene, began in the late eighteenth century, marking the turning point when human actions became the primary driver of environmental change, transforming the structure and functioning of the world's ecosystems. Natural scientists warn that humanity is increasingly transgressing “planetary boundaries” – “the safe operating space for humanity with respect to the Earth system and … the planet's biophysical subsystems and processes” – threatening to undermine the relatively stable, interglacial geological epoch that has supported human civilization (Rockström et al. 2009: 472). The political-economic organization of societies remains at the nexus of the global ecological crisis, whether it is climate change, biodiversity loss, the overloading of the nitrogen cycle, ocean acidification, deforestation, or the decline in fresh water. Macro-level perspectives within environmental sociology – such as the treadmill of production, treadmill of destruction, metabolic rift, and ecologically unequal exchange – analyze how specific political-economic structures and relationships influence environmental and ecological change.


  • ecology;
  • global warming;
  • globalization;
  • international trade;
  • political economy