A Tribute to Pier Vellinga
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This issue is dedicated to Prof. Pier Vellinga, Founding Editor-in-Chief of International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics on the occasion of his retirement.
Some twenty years ago, I went to the office of Pier Vellinga, Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, to ask him how I could get on to the editorial board of a journal. In typical critical and entrepreneurial style, Pier said we should then think of creating a new multidisciplinary journal on environmental governance and that I should write a proposal and he would pursue the matter with Kluwer. To cut a long story short, International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics was born in 1999 and the first issue came off the press in 2001. Of course there were long debates about the title and the need to find a title that would cover the disciplinary competence of the journal and not compete with other journals in the field. Pier Vellinga became Editor-in-Chief and Richard Howarth and I joined him as Associate Editors. Five years later, I took over from Pier as Editor-in-Chief.
Professor Vellinga received his Doctor’s degree at the Delft University of Technology in 1986, following which he joined the Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in 1988 to help develop an international climate strategy. I joined his team as a junior staff member in that year. He participated in epistemic communities on climate change—the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases and later the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; organized high-level political meetings that preceded the climate change negotiations; negotiated on behalf of the Netherlands; and promoted and managed academic research in various capacities in the Netherlands University System.
This introduction tells you a little about both Prof. Vellinga the scientist and Prof. Vellinga the person. As a scientist and engineer, Prof. Vellinga is committed to multi-, inter- and transdisciplinarity and is convinced that without scholarly engagement between different disciplines global environmental problems would not be solved. As an engineer Prof. Vellinga is also an entrepreneur and designer. In the case of this journal, he would take an active role in designing it and also making a business case for its survival. And as a person, he would not just consider and advise his former PhD student, he would help create the conditions to make a dream a reality.
This Special Issue has been edited by two long-term friends of Pier—Jean-Charles Hourcade and P.R. Shukla—and is on his favourite topic—climate change. They propose a way to move the climate negotiations out of its current deadlock! Joining me in thanking Pier Vellinga are the Associate Editors, Prof. Oran Young, Prof. Peter Sand and Prof. Richard Howarth, all old friends and colleagues of Pier.