Understanding Environmental Policy After Covid-19

by Ömer UĞUR (Volume editor) Emre Cengiz (Volume editor)
©2021 Edited Collection 286 Pages


Environmental and climate problems have gained a global dimension and constitute
one of the important issues of world politics and economies. The necessity of all
states to act together on these problems, which threaten the present and future of humanity,
and find the solution has revealed the “global” character of the process. The
interdependence created by economic development and environmental problems
brought a new meaning and dimension to both national and international politics.
Especially the recent pandemic has made the global nature of environmental issues
more understandable. In this context, it seems necessary to create a work that deals
with current debates in the field, which will help identify the problems in the field
and find solutions to them.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Authors Contributing to the Book
  • Understanding Environmental Policy After Covid-19: An Introduction (Omer Ugur and Emre Cengiz)
  • Recommendations for the Post-Corona Era Within the Scope of Preventive and Reactive Environmental Policies (Muhammed Yunus Bilgili)
  • Network Governance in Urban Environmental Management (Nisa Erdem)
  • Environmental Governance: From International Environmental Regimes to Multi-stakeholder/Multi-level Collaborations (Suna Ersavaş Kavanoz)
  • Climate Change and Migration: Positions of the Political Groups in the European Parliament on Climate Refugees (Kamber Güler)
  • Environmental Policies, Climate Change Perception and Trust (Candan Yılmaz Ugur)
  • Wind as a Renewable Energy Resource: The Outlook and Incentive Policies in Turkey (Gökhan Zengin)
  • Rethinking Environment and Fossil Energy in COVID-19 Era (Merve Suna Özel Özcan)
  • Ombudsman as an Actor in Environmental Governance: A Conceptual Introduction (Kadir Caner Doğan)
  • Competitive Powers in the Arctic Region and the Effect of the Climate Change (Sıla Turaç Baykara)
  • The Environmental Politics in East Asia: Issues and Discussions through Covid-19 Pandemic (Hatice Çelik)
  • Invasive Urbanization and It’s Environmental Impacts: Istanbul Case (Pelin Pınar Giritlioğlu)
  • Tourism and Environment: Environmental Impacts, Ecological Footprint, Transport Capacity of Tourism, and Its Relation with Global Warming (Elif Acuner)
  • From Mega-Projects and Environmental Sustainability Perspective an Artificial Waterway Project Overview: Canal Istanbul Project (Pelin Pinar Giritlioglu)

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Authors Contributing to the Book

Elif Acuner: Asst. Prof., Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, Ardeşen Tourism Faculty, elif.acuner@erdogan.edu.tr, ORCID: 0000-0002-7769-8705

Sıla Turaç Baykara: Assist. Prof. Dr., Izmir Demokrasi University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations, silaturac.baykara@idu.edu.tr

Muhammed Yunus Bilgili: Asst. Prof. Dr., Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Public Administration, mybilgili@ktu.edu.tr, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6062-8858

Hatice Çelik: Asst. Prof. Dr., Social Sciences University of Ankara, Institute for Area Studies, Department of Asian Studies, hatice.celik@asbu.edu.tr, ORCID: 0000-0003-1409-8865

Emre Cengiz: Asst. Prof. Dr., Gümüşhane University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Gunushane/Turkey, emrecengiz_58@hotmail.com

Kadir Caner Doğan: Assoc. Prof. Dr., Gümüşhane University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Gunushane/Turkey, kadircanerdogan@gumushane.edu.tr

Nisa Erdem: Res. Asst., Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Public Administration, asenhu5@gmail.com

Pelin Pınar Giritlioğlu: Assoc. Prof. Dr., Istanbul University, Faculty of Political Sciences Department of Political Sciences and Public Administration Urbanization and Environmental Problems Branch, pinozden@istanbul.edu.tr

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Kamber Güler: Dr., Post Doc Researcher, Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies, University of Neuchâtel, kamberguler@gmail.com

Suna Ersavaş Kavanoz: Asst. Prof. Dr., Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Public Administration, sunaersavas@hotmail.com

Merve Suna Özel Özcan: Asst. Prof. Dr., Kırıkkale University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations, mervesuna@yahoo.com

Candan Yılmaz Ugur: Asst. Prof. Dr., Gumushane University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Public Finance, candanyilmaz@hotmail.com

Omer Ugur: Assoc. Prof. Dr., Gümüşhane University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Gunushane/Turkey, omerugur@gumushane.edu.tr

Gökhan Zengin: Asst. Prof. Dr., Trakya University, Economic and Administrative Sciences, Public Administration Department, g_zengin@yahoo.com

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Omer Ugur and Emre Cengiz

Understanding Environmental Policy After Covid-19: An Introduction

Human beings have been interacting with the environment since the moment they appeared on the stage of history and they have continued their life by taking advantage of the blessings offered by the environment.

Looking at the process until the industrial revolution, the damage caused by humanity to the environment did not exceed the ability of the environment to renew itself, and even if there was pollution, the environment was able to absorb a large part of this pollution. When the environmental pollution in the early 1900s and the environmental pollution in the 1970s are compared, the pollution increased 2.7 times in the last 70 years (Turner, 2008: 407). With the industrial revolution, the pressure on the environment has started to increase. All components of nature have begun to face the process of being negatively affected by this situation. The increase in production has increased the pressure on natural resources, and the increase in population has accelerated the transformation of agricultural areas into residential areas. As a natural consequence of this situation, environmental problems have started to occur, which is well above the rate of renewal of the environment/nature.

Tab. 1 shows the real-time population of the world population from 1950 to 2020 and the probable projection population until 2100. The table reveals how high the world population growth rate is.

It would not be wrong to say that the necessary perception about the environment was not formed in the world until the 1970s. The economic policies followed during the process have also been of a nature to prevent the formation of this perception. As a matter of fact, when we look at the economic policies of classical and Keynesian economists, we see that the issues of increase in production, prevention of unemployment and development are intensively covered. As for the environment, there is a prevailing opinion that “damages to the environment are the result of development and this situation is bearable”. Again, in the process until the 1970s, environmental problems were considered on a local scale and a policy of treating after pollution was adopted (Uğur and Doğan, 2015: 46). However, by the 1970s, we can see that there is a transformation of thought about the environment in the world. Ecological problems experienced also demonstrate that environmental problems do not affect a single state or a ←9 | 10→single society anymore, on the contrary, each action that have cross-border effects independent from their origins and that is taken by a society or a state, gains a global dimension in the sense of affecting other societies and states seriously. As a result of this, the treatment policy for the emerging environmental pollution has also changed and took the form of prediction and prevention (Yildız and Yılmaz, 2015: 103). On the other hand, these years are also crucial in terms of addressing and attracting the attention of the world public to environmental problems. Cross-border effects of environmental problems, mutual interdependence between states and the necessity to fight against environmental problems collectively made reconciliation of mutual interdependence of states’ independence and environment. The great shock after the report “Limits to Growth” published by the Club of Rome in 1972 is an indicator of this. The report, which was prepared in 5 sections, includes the following sections;

Tab. 1: World Population

The Nature of Exponential Growth

The Limits to Exponential Growth

Growth in the World System

Technology and the Limits to Growth

The State of Global Equilibrium

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After the report was published, it brought with it discussions. For instance, in the part about natural resources; it is stated that if the use of non-renewable natural resources continues in the same way with the growth rate, it will be exhausted over the years. It can be said that this situation, which has a great impact in the world, has been beneficial to the development of environmental perception.

With the Stockholm Conference held by the UN in the same year, we can see that environmental problems have now been being discussed at the international level. As one of the important outputs of the Stockholm declaration; the protection and improvement of the human environment has been identified as an important issue affecting the welfare and economic development of all humanity and the protection of the human environment were declared as the common duty of all humanity and governments (UN, 1973: 3). In the light of these developments, which attract the attention and interest of all countries to the environmental issue, the point the world has reached is the emergence of the concept of “sustainable development”. Sustainable development was used in the report “Our Common Future” -also known as the Brundtland Report- published by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987 under the chairmanship of Norwegian Prime Minister Harlem Brundtland. In the 27th article of the Our Comon Future report, sustainable development is explained as follows

“Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The concept of sustainable development does imply limits – not absolute limits but limitations imposed by the present state of technology and social organization on environmental resources and by the ability of the biosphere to absorb the effects of human activities. But technology and social organization can be both managed and improved to make way for a new era of economic growth.” (UN, 1987:8).

Sustainable development is an important concept for the environment and people. Both production and population growth have increased the pressure on the environment and natural resources. This pressure on natural resources and the environment means the destruction of the world by human hands.

When we look at the world-wide comparison of biocapacity and ecological footprint (Fig. 1); a graphic above the biocapacity has emerged since the 1970s. This is another factor that shows us how important the concept of sustainable development is.

Despite the fact that after 1970’s it started to be discussed among the states that there is a close relationship between environment and economy, and it is necessary to generate an absolute compliance between environment protection efforts ←11 | 12→and development initiatives in order to eliminate the environmental threats arising in consequence of aforementioned relationship, they were not able to obtain significant results until 1990’s. Certainly the reason of this situation is as also expressed by Giddens (2013) closely related with the fact that the hazards generated by environmental problems are substantial, urgent and prominent in daily life (Giddens, 2013: 12). However, in 1990’s environmental problems, which emerged at global level, started to affect economic, political and social structures directly and generated the collapse indisputably, necessitates to take environmental issues into consideration more seriously. In this process, global climate change, which initiated the emergence of many environmental hazards as a direct consequence of basic production and consumption system and which affects all the relevant and irrelevant states and societies, generated the field that states wish to cooperate in the most during the establishment stage of international environment regime (Axelrod et al., 2005; Orhan et al., 2017; Susskind, 1994). This kind of desire was arisen because climate change both causes many global environmental problems and also because the increasing demand on natural resources that are gradually become more limited generate the risk of conflict between states (Swanson, 1999: 212; Yılmaz and Çiftçi, 2013: 3). And since complicated environmental problem is composed of problems that have ←12 | 13→no borders nor nations and that are connected with each other, states’ addressing these problems within the framework of global cooperation creates a balance both in solution of problems that they are not able to solve by themselves and also between the conflicting economic and political interest of the states and therefore, initiated to find a fair solution. At this point, in spite of a fragmented and generally conflicting international system, which comprises of a large number of sovereign states, states constituted international cooperation and political coordination in the matter of solving problems of a global scale and that are affecting them or have a potential to affect them and therefore, enabled environmental issues to become a significant title in global politics (Vig., 2005: 4).

Fig. 1: Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity. Source: Ecological Footprint, https://theanthropocenedashboard.com/2019/08/02/ecological-footprint/

In this context, many conferences have been organized by the United Nations since 1972 to solve the environmental problems in the world (Tab. 2). Another important conference was held in Rio de Jenario in 1992. The Summit Agenda includes the following 4 main topics (For detailed information, see Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Vol. 1, United Nations, New York, 1993).

Rio Declaration,

Climate Change Convention,

Convention on Biological Diversity,

Agenda 21

After ensuring that environmental issues become a significant title of global politics and that sustainable development is important for the future of the world in solving the problem; it was emphasized that countries should act in accordance with the basic principles adopted in line with the UN Conferences. It has been mentioned that development is substantial, but that it should be created by paying attention to the concept of sustainability while implementing development policies and that countries should fulfill their responsibilities. It has been stated as an action that especially developed countries’ transfer of resources and technological aids to developing and least developed countries will offer important solutions to the environmental problems of the world. In addition, it was emphasized that global warming, climate change and the protection of biodiversity have emerged as the most essential problems of the world in the last 30 years and the necessity of finding solutions to them (Şahin and Yılmaz, 2017: 51).

Although providing the cooperation necessary for international climate regime, mobilized the states in the last period, due to a number of conflicts of interest dilemmas and complicated and problematical nature of the process itself, it does not come to fruition easily. Particularly the fact that negotiation of conflicting interests of so many states is virtually impossible and also the ←13 | 14→insufficiency of scientific knowledge and technological infrastructure affects the process negatively. Nevertheless, states and other actors enable the continuation of the process by reaching an agreement on least common denominator against the fact of climate change. However, at this point, agreeing on least common denominator or acting accordingly will not be enough to overcome the rapidly increasing environmental problems. This, on the other hand, will bring economic, social and political problems in the global sense and lead ←14 | 15→to the emergence of greater problems. Indeed, the Covid-19 outbreak that we are experiencing today – which we can say is narrower when compared to environmental problems – has caused serious social, economic and political problems in the world and has brought about a great chaos in the world, albeit temporarily. Considering this situation, it can be said that increasing environmental problems and the economic, social and political problems it will cause will bring about more irreversible destruction in the world than the Covid-19 outbreak process. As a matter of fact, it is seen that the recent climate change and events related to global warming, beyond affecting all developed and least developed nations and societies, cause serious damages and losses.

Tab. 2: Sustainable Development and Climate Change Conferences (UN)

Sustainable Development

Climate Change (Conference of the Parties COP)

Stockholm 1972

COP 1 Berlin 1995

Rio 1992

COP 2 Geneva 1996

New York 1997

COP 3 Kyoto 1997

New York 2000

COP 4 Buenos Aires 1998

Johannesburg 2002

COP 5 Bonn 1999


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (December)
Economics and Finance Public Administration The European Union
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 286 pp., 24 fig. b/w, 17 tables.

Biographical notes

Ömer UĞUR (Volume editor) Emre Cengiz (Volume editor)

Ömer Ug˘ur is an associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, at Gümüshane University, Turkey. He Works on The European Union, climate change, global environmental governance, and environmental law. Emre Cengiz is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, at Gümüshane University, Turkey, where he teaches urbanization courses. Emre Cengiz works on urban politics, urban renewal, mega events, governance.


Title: Understanding Environmental Policy After Covid-19