Frank Biermann

Frank Biermann
Utrecht University | UU · Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development

Professor

About

267
Publications
153,576
Reads
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11,926
Citations
Citations since 2017
80 Research Items
7249 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
Introduction
I am a research professor of Global Sustainability Governance with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. I am also the director of the GLOBALGOALS research programme on the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals, supported by a European Research Council 'Advanced Grant'; the founder and first chair (2008-2018) of the Earth System Governance research alliance, a global transdisciplinary research network; and the editor-in-chief of EARTH SYSTEM GOVERNANCE, the new peer-reviewed journal with Elsevier.
Additional affiliations
December 2015 - present
Utrecht University
Position
  • Research Professor of Global Sustainability Governance
January 2011 - December 2015
Lund University
Position
  • Visiting Professor of Earth System Governance
August 2003 - November 2015
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Policy Analysis

Publications

Publications (267)
Article
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The effective integration of the environmental with the economic and social dimensions of sustainability will only succeed when the core problem perceptions of professionals in these fields adjust as well. Yet, while sustainability integration in general has been thoroughly researched, few studies have analysed the specific role of subjective under...
Article
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The millennium development goals (MDGs) were an important precursor to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Hence, identifying the conditions that made the MDGs successful enhances our understanding of global goal‐setting and informs the global endeavour to achieve the SDGs. Drawing on a comprehensive review of 316 articles published between 2...
Article
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Recognizing two decades of failure to achieve global goals and targets, parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are in the final phase of negotiating a Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework for the conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing of biodiversity. The framework attempts to set out pathways, goals and targets for the nex...
Article
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While most of today's global challenges are deeply interconnected, international organizations often operate in silos. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations in 2015, have been advanced as a new agenda to break up these silos and to better integrate environmental, social and economic policies. Yet little is known ab...
Article
A recent article in this journal (Jackson 2021 Jackson, M. 2021. On decolonizing the Anthropocene: Disobedience via plural constitutions. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 111 (3):698–708. doi: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1779645.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®] , [Google Scholar]) validly emphasized that debates about the An...
Article
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The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, paved the way for a new hybrid global climate governance architecture with both bottom-up and top-down elements. While governments can choose individual climate goals and actions, a global stock-take and a ratcheting-up mechanism have been put in place with the overall aim to ensure that collective efforts will...
Book
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Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the first comprehensive global assessment of the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were launched by the United Nations in 2015. It explores in detail the political steering effects of the Sustainable Devel...
Chapter
Full-text available
Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the first comprehensive global assessment of the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were launched by the United Nations in 2015. It explores in detail the political steering effects of the Sustainable Devel...
Chapter
Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the first comprehensive global assessment of the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were launched by the United Nations in 2015. It explores in detail the political steering effects of the Sustainable Devel...
Chapter
Full-text available
Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the first comprehensive global assessment of the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were launched by the United Nations in 2015. It explores in detail the political steering effects of the Sustainable Devel...
Chapter
Full-text available
Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the first comprehensive global assessment of the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were launched by the United Nations in 2015. It explores in detail the political steering effects of the Sustainable Devel...
Article
Negative emissions are increasingly seen as a policy option to limit climate change. However, the most readily available technologies that could deliver negative emissions require, if deployed at scale, large amounts of land, with huge risks for livelihoods and the environment. This land is often assumed to be in the Global South. This article anal...
Article
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It is widely assumed that the fragmentation of global governance can affect coordination efforts among international institutions and organisations. Yet, the precise relationship between the fragmentation of global governance and the extent to which international organisations coordinate their activities remains underexplored. In this article, we o...
Article
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Global sustainability governance is marked by a highly fragmented system of distinct clusters of international organizations, along with states and other actors. Enhancing inter-organizational coordination and cooperation is thus often recognized as an important reform challenge in global sustainability governance. The 17 Sustainable Development Go...
Article
Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the first comprehensive global assessment of the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were launched by the United Nations in 2015. It explores in detail the political steering effects of the Sustainable Devel...
Article
Full-text available
In 2015, the United Nations agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals as the central normative framework for sustainable development worldwide. The effectiveness of governing by such broad global goals, however, remains uncertain, and we lack comprehensive meta-studies that assess the political impact of the goals across countries and globally. We...
Article
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Solar geoengineering is gaining prominence in climate change debates as an issue worth studying; for some it is even a potential future policy option. We argue here against this increasing normalization of solar geoengineering as a speculative part of the climate policy portfolio. We contend, in particular, that solar geoengineering at planetary sc...
Chapter
The last few years have witnessed a flurry of activity in global governance and international lawseeking to address the protection gaps for people fleeing the effects of climate change. This book discusses cutting-edge developments in law and policy on climate change and forced displacement, including theories and potential solutions, issues of gov...
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The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) sets standards to improve the governance of extractive industries and thereby stimulate sustainable development. Member countries implement this standard through a multi-stakeholder group (MSG) which facilitates deliberation between government, civil society and business representatives. This...
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We performed a comparative analysis of eight case studies worldwide from the perspective of transboundary aquifer governance efficacy. First, we mapped variation in institutional design, applying institutional design criteria in four dimensions linked to The OECD Principles on Water Governance. We then identified explanatory factors: (1) physical v...
Article
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed in 2015, chart an integrated and universal policy agenda to be realised by 2030. To this end, policy coherence for sustainable development is embedded in the SDGs as both an end in itself and a means through which to ensure that the fulfilment of some goals does not come at the expense of others. Yet...
Article
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The Anthropocene requires of us to rethink global governance challenges and effective responses with a more holistic understanding of the earth system as a single intertwined social-ecological system. Law, in particular, will have to embrace such a holistic earth system perspective in order to deal more effectively with the Anthropocene's predicame...
Article
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While the analysis of peace often stops with "negative peace" in conflict studies (Shields 2017), critical structural analyses of a transition towards peace risk to analytically emphasize how wartime structures extend into post-conflict times (see e.g. Lee 2020). In this article, by engaging with the two fields of conflict studies and political eco...
Article
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In global sustainability governance, many actors have emphasised the need for policy integration across the economic, social, and environmental dimensions. In 2015, the United Nations agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advance such integration. But have international organisations responded to this call, and can we observe any int...
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Non-state and subnational climate actors increasingly commit to act across borders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to help communities adapt to climate change, and to push governments into more ambitious climate policies. The effectiveness of such transnational climate initiatives, however, is still largely unknown. Current studies often only s...
Article
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Global civil society is often uncritically seen as a democratic force in global governance. Civil society organizations claim to hold states and intergovernmental institutions accountable and channel the voices of the world’s poorest people in policy making. Yet to what extent do they succeed in performing that role? This article assesses the repre...
Article
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The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard that aims to improve governance quality in the extractive industries sector, particularly through enhanced transparency, participation and accountability. This article analyses to what extent and how the EITI improves governance quality and thereby addresses the environme...
Article
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What is the future of 'environmental' policy in times of earth system transformations and the recognition of the 'Anthropocene' as a new epoch in planetary history? I argue that fifty years after the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, we need to revisit the 'environmental policy' paradigm because it falls short on five grounds. The...
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In times of accelerating earth system transformations and their potentially disruptive societal consequences, imagining and governing the future is now a core challenge for sustainability research and practice. Much social science and sustainability science scholarship increasingly engages with the future. There is, however, a lack of scrutiny of h...
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We are in the middle of a planetary crisis that urgently requires stronger modes of earth system governance. At the same time, calls for justice are becoming increasingly pronounced in sustainability research: there can be no effective planetary stewardship without planetary justice. Rapid planetary-scale processes have reinforced and further creat...
Article
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In 2009, a group of 29 scholars argued that we can identify a set of “planetary boundaries” that humanity must not cross at the cost of its own peril. This planetary boundaries framework has been influential in generating academic debate and in shaping research projects and policy recommendations worldwide. Yet, it has also come under heavy scrutin...
Article
Equity is an essential element in the implementation of policies related to ecosystem services. With the rapid expansion of commercial land use into tropical forest regions, the urgency and importance to integrate equity issues in space and time in decisions and actions stand without doubt. However, data scarcity in these regions limits the underst...
Article
Die Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung ist allumfassend und kann deshalb nur in einem effektiven Zusammenspiel zwischen einer Vielzahl politischer und gesellschaftlicher Akteure erreicht werden. Die Zivilgesellschaft muss ihre Regierungen auf lokaler, regionaler und nationaler Ebene zur Umsetzung antreiben.
Article
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This article identifies diverse rationales to call for anticipatory governance of solar geoengineering, in light of a climate crisis. In focusing on governance rationales, we step back from proliferating debates in the literature on ‘how, when, whom, and where’ to govern, to address the important prior question of why govern solar geoengineering in...
Article
Der neue Ansatz des globalen Regierens durch internationale Zielvereinbarungen hat eine Reihe von Kernmerkmalen. Erstens sind die Ziele nicht rechtsverbindlich, auch wenn sie auf internationalem Recht und Beschlüssen der Vereinten Nationen basieren. Regierungen sind nicht rechtlich verpflichtet, die Ziele formell in ihre nationalen Rechtssysteme zu...
Article
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We develop a conceptual framework to empirically analyse conceptualizations of ‘justice’ in the context of profound transformations of the earth system. Equity and justice have become central issues in public discourses, political documents and research agendas. However, what justice implies in practice is often elusive. The conceptual framework th...
Chapter
Architectures of Earth System Governance - edited by Frank Biermann & Rakhyun E. Kim
Chapter
Full-text available
Frank Biermann & Rakhyun E. Kim (editors)
Chapter
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Frank Biermann & Rakhyun E. Kim (editors)
Chapter
Architectures of Earth System Governance - edited by Frank Biermann May 2020
Book
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International institutions are prevalent in world politics. More than a thousand multilateral treaties are in place just to protect the environment alone, and there are many more. And yet, it is also clear that these institutions do not operate in a void but are enmeshed in larger, highly complex webs of governance arrangements. This compelling boo...
Chapter
Frank Biermann & Rakhyun E. Kim (editors)
Article
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The study of planetary justice is an emerging research field that explores questions of justice on a planetary scale, particularly in the context of the profound global environmental and systemic challenges our earth system is facing. The connection between environmental conditions, human well-being, and justice and equity has been established over...
Article
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The Anthropocene as a new planetary epoch has brought to the foreground the deep-time interconnections of human agency with the earth system. Yet despite this recognition of strong temporal interdependencies, we still lack understanding of how societal and political organizations can manage interconnections that span several centuries and dozens of...
Article
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Over the past three decades, policy integration has become a key objective for guiding and harmonizing policies for sustainable development. Most recently, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals have added new impetus to efforts of integrating competing objectives of environmental sustainability, social development, and economic growth, as well as...
Article
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p>The social sciences have engaged since the late 1980s in international collaborative programmes to study questions of sustainability and global change. This article offers an in-depth analysis of the largest long-standing social-science network in this field: the Earth System Governance Project. Originating as a core project of the former Interna...
Article
In September 2018, following over a decade of informal discussions, the United Nations General Assembly launched an intergovernmental conference to address the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. This process is scheduled to take two years and is structured around four themes: marine genetic resources, are...
Article
In this Perspective, we discuss whether in times of quickly proceeding global environmental change, radical global interventions like “climate engineering” may gain legitimacy in China and eventually be deployed or supported. We argue that one cornerstone for whether climate engineering, and solar radiation management in particular, could gain legi...
Article
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Numerous recent studies project that ‘climate engineering’ technologies might need to play a major role in the future. Such technologies may carry major risks for developing countries that are often especially vulnerable to, and lack adaptive capacity to deal with, the impacts of such new technologies. In this situation, one would expect that devel...
Article
Non-renewable resources must be used as economically as possible, to prevent their rapid exhaustion and ensure they benefit all humankind and future generations. Yet, in this paper we make plausible that several mineral resources may be depleted within the next 100 years unless effective policies help reduce extraction to more sustainable levels. I...
Chapter
Anthropocene Encounters: New Directions in Green Political Thinking - edited by Frank Biermann February 2019
Article
The process of setting the Sustainable Development Goals through the United Nations marks a sea change in how the UN conducts multilateral diplomacy. Key participants from governments, the UN Secretariat, and civil society tell their story of the tedious negotiations.
Article
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At the Climate Change Conference in Montréal in 2005, the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change decided to start a dialogue to exchange experiences and analyse strategic approaches for long-term cooperative action to address climate change.1 The Parties did not have to start their dialogue from scratch. In the last few years, policy...
Article
Private governance, in the form of certification schemes, has grown remarkably in the past decades as a response to some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges. Certification schemes denote steering mechanisms that allow enterprises to voluntarily adhere to a set of verifiable principles. While certification has global aspirations...
Chapter
The concept of an Anthropocene is now widely used in a variety of contexts, communities, and connotations. This chapter explores the possible consequences of this paradigmatic turn for the field of International Political Theory (IPT), arguing that the notion of an Anthropocene is likely to change the way we understand political systems both analyt...
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This article argues that groundwater—accounting for 98% of all fresh water on earth—is central to human development. Drawing upon studies at the regional and sub-regional level, this review article explores synergies and trade-offs between groundwater development and human development. On one hand, groundwater exploitation may enhance human develop...
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Targets are widely employed in environmental governance. In this paper, we investigate the construction of the 2 °C climate target, one of the best known targets in global environmental governance. Our paper examines this target through a historical reconstruction that identifies four different phases: framing, consolidation and diffusion, adoption...
Article
Although numerous studies have been conducted in recent years on energy transitions, they have been predominately developed and applied in industrialized countries. It is, however, important to examine the applicability of transition theories, as they are currently formulated, beyond OECD countries. This paper analyses renewable energy transitions...
Article
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations present a novel approach to global governance where goal-setting features as a key strategy. ‘Governance through goals’, as exemplified by the SDGs, is new and unique for a number of characteristics such as the inclusive goal-setting process, the non-binding nature of the goals, the...
Chapter
This chapter lays out a research agenda to assess conditions, challenges, and prospects for the Sustainable Development Goals to pursue this aim. First, the chapter discusses goal setting as a global governance strategy. Second, to contextualize the Sustainable Development Goals, it discusses the unique nature of the modern challenges that the Sust...
Chapter
The chapter focuses on the inclusion of “governance goals” in global goal-setting mechanisms, especially the Sustainable Development Goals, and is centred on a question; can better governance, in itself, be a subject for global goal setting? We focus in this chapter on three core qualities of governance, which are good governance, effective governa...
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This chapter summarizes some key findings of the book, discuss the challenges for, and opportunities of, the Sustainable Development Goals by identifying several conditions that might determine their successful implementation, and also suggest some possible avenues for further research. The approach of “global governance through goals”—and the Sust...
Article
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Over the past decades, numerous science institutions have evolved around issues of global sustainability, aiming to inform and shape societal transformations towards sustainability. While these science-based initiatives seem to take on an ever growing active role in governance for sustainable development, the question arises how they can claim any...
Chapter
Transnational environmental governance is the collective steering of societal processes by public and private actors in order to prevent, mitigate, and adapt to environmental change, involving two or more countries. Such processes typically involve a variety of actors. In addition to the traditional role of states, environmentalist groups, science...
Book
In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals built on and broadened the earlier Millennium Development Goals, but they also signaled a larger shift in governance strategies. The seventeen goals add detailed c...
Article
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The scale, rate, and intensity of humans' environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overl...
Article
During the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations consulted worldwide nearly ten million people for their views. Such proliferating megaconsultations are often uncritically accepted as a remedy for an assumed democratic deficit of intergovernmental institutions. We argue, however, that the potential of civil society c...
Article
Information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly used to engage civil society in intergovernmental negotiations on sustainable development. They have emerged as a potential remedy to the democratic legitimacy deficit that pervades traditional mechanisms for civil society representation and, ultimately, intergovernmental policymakin...
Article
In an Editorial now published in “Global Environmental Change”, 18 climate policy researchers argue that analyses of equity and justice are absolutely essential for our ability to understand climate politics and contribute to concrete efforts to achieve adequate, fair and enduring climate action for present and future generations. Climate change ac...
Article
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The 'Anthropocene' is now being used as a conceptual frame by different communities and in a variety of contexts to understand the evolving human-environment relationship. However, as we argue in this paper, the notion of an Anthropos, or 'humanity', as global, unified 'geological force' threatens to mask the diversity and differences in the actual...
Article
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Since it was first proposed in 2000, the concept of the Anthropocene has evolved in breadth and diversely. The concept encapsulates the new and unprecedented planetary-scale changes resulting from societal transformations and has brought to the fore the social drivers of global change. The concept has revealed tensions between generalized interpret...
Article
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The recent shift from the Millennium Development Goals to the much broader Sustainable Development Goals has given further impetus to the debate on the nexus between the multiple sectors of policy-making that the Goals are to cover. The key message in this debate is that different domains—for instance, water, energy and food—are interconnected and...
Chapter
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This chapter serves as an epilogue to the edited volume "New Earth Politics: Essays from the Anthropocene." The chapter offers a careful, systematic overview of the book's various contributions, looking at what the book contributes to thinking about life on a fundamentally transformed planet. The author unpacks the ecological and conceptual meaning...
Article
Critical Dialogue - Democratizing Global Climate Governance. By Stevenson Hayley and Dryzek John S. . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 256 pp. 18.99£ (paperback), 55.00£ (hardback). - Volume 14 Issue 1 - Frank Biermann
Article
Response to John S. Dryzek’s review of Earth System Governance: World Politics in the Anthropocene - Volume 14 Issue 1 - Frank Biermann
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The private sector's role in climate finance is increasingly subject to political and scientific debate. Yet there is poor empirical evidence of private engagement in adaptation and its potential contribution to the industrialised countries' mobilisation of USD 100 billion of annual climate finance from 2020 onwards to support developing countries...
Chapter
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The article gives an overview of global sustainability policy and politics. It is shown how international policy making on sustainable development has progressed from environmental policy toward recent approaches of Earth system gov-ernance. Key challenges of international sustainability politics are discussed, and institutional and instrumental op...