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2 - Toward Consensual Earth System Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2021

Walter F. Baber
Affiliation:
California State University, Long Beach
Robert V. Bartlett
Affiliation:
University of Vermont
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Summary

The concept of consensus must be understood in a more complex and contingent way than it often is. Consensus is that level of agreement among all parties to the decision process that allows them to “hang together” as they move from one stage of that process to the next. Consensus in governance is not, and never could be usefully thought of as, synonymous with simple unanimity. The major elements of consensus – the normative, the political, and the social – all relate to different kinds of agreement, each with its own regulative standard.

Analysis of the concept of transparency provides an illustration of the role of consensus in democratic earth system governance, which must confront five core analytical problems identified in the first Science Plan of the Earth System Governance Project: architecture, adaptiveness, accountability, access and allocation, and agency. The character of each distinct analytical problem of governance places its own demands and limitations on governance by transparency policy.

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Chapter
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Democratic Norms of Earth System Governance
Deliberative Politics in the Anthropocene
, pp. 23 - 46
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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