Stock image of a coin and the globe
Stock image of a coin and the globe

CIGI Working Group on Environment and Resources

Compiled and edited by Jennifer Clapp with the assistance of Linda Swanston. This Foreword was offered by guest contributor, Louise Fréchette, CIGI’s Distinguished Fellow, and former UN Deputy Secretary-General

Global problems are rarely as discrete from one another as we might think. They are often, in fact, linked in complex ways. Both the emergence of global crises, and the policies put in place to address them, can and often do overlap in important ways. Such is the case with the global financial crisis and the broader ongoing global environmental crisis.  As the financial crisis has grabbed headlines over the past year, it has overshadowed global environment and resource issues, which is not surprising given that such issues typically take a back seat in times of economic instability. But, ecological havoc caused by climate change, dramatically increased global food insecurity, rising environmental protectionism, and volatile energy prices accompanied by a changing geopolitics of energy security, have only intensified over the past year, while financial markets tumbled, banks failed and governments enacted economic stimulus legislation. On closer inspection of these apparently separate crises occurring in tandem, we see remarkable overlap and interconnectedness between the global financial crisis on one hand, and emerging and escalating environment and resource issues on the other. It is not surprising, then, that the proposed policy solutions to the economic crisis have important implications for policy solutions to these broader environmental issues.

This publication, with contributions from The Centre for International Governance Innovation’s research group on Environment and Resources, highlights the intersection of the financial crisis and its policy responses with broader environment and resource issues and policies. It shines a bright light on the ways in which these multiple crises are related to one another, and how international policy responses to them must take account of these linkages. While economic policies have the potential to work against broader environment and resource goals, this need not be the case. This publication maps out how both economic and environmental goals can be pursued in ways that are mutually supportive of each other. Such integrated responses are vital in the current context of multiple, complex, interlinked crises.


Overview - Jennifer Clapp and Linda Swanston

The Greening of International Financial Regulation - Eric Helleiner and Jason Thistlethwaite

Protectionism, Climate, Environment and the Crisis - John Whalley

Sustainability and the Canadian Stimulus Package - Ian H. Rowlands

(Re)Centralization and Environmental Policy in North America: Missed Opportunities? - Debora L. VanNijnatten

The Financial Crisis and Food Security - Jennifer Clapp

Energy Markets and the Crisis: Is the US Status as a Superpower at Risk? - Annette Hester

Complex Lessons of the Financial Crisis - Thomas Homer-Dixon

Download:  Environmental Sustainability and the Financial Crisis: Linkages and Policy Recommendations

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.