The Political Prospects of a Sustainability Transformation: Moving Beyond the Environmental State

Daniel Hausknost, Marit Hammond

Publication: Book/Editorship/ReportEdited book (editorship)


Half a century ago, many democratic states started to respond to environmental pressures that had arisen in the wake of rapid industrialization. They set up environmental ministries and agencies and issued legislation to control the pollution of air and water and to manage industrial processes, wastes and toxic substances. This was the birth of the environmental state, as we know it today. With planetary ecological challenges like climate change spiraling out of control and dwarfing the environmental state’s classical tasks of environmental management, new questions about the transformative capacities of the state are becoming acute today. How large is the state’s capability to transform enhanced industrial societies into sustainable post-carbon societies? Do its new environmental functions empower the state to prioritise ecological goals over economic growth? Can the state’s environmental management capabilities be radicalised to turn it into a ‘sustainability state’? Can democracies be enhanced to enlarge the state’s transformative capacities?
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAbingdon and New York
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-67671-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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