Advertisement

Global networks and global change-induced tipping points

  • Victor GalazEmail author
  • Henrik ÖsterblomEmail author
  • Örjan Bodin
  • Beatrice Crona
Original Paper

Abstract

The existence of “tipping points” in human–environmental systems at multiple scales—such as abrupt negative changes in coral reef ecosystems, “runaway” climate change, and interacting nonlinear “planetary boundaries”—is often viewed as a substantial challenge for governance due to their inherent uncertainty, potential for rapid and large system change, and possible cascading effects on human well-being. Despite an increased scholarly and policy interest in the dynamics of these perceived “tipping points,” institutional and governance scholars have yet to make progress on how to analyze in which ways state and non-state actors attempt to anticipate, respond, and prevent the transgression of “tipping points” at large scales. In this article, we use three cases of global network responses to what we denote as global change-induced “tipping points”—ocean acidification, fisheries collapse, and infectious disease outbreaks. Based on the commonalities in several research streams, we develop four working propositions: information processing and early warning, multilevel and multinetwork responses, diversity in response capacity, and the balance between efficiency and legitimacy. We conclude by proposing a simple framework for the analysis of the interplay between perceived global change-induced “tipping points,” global networks, and international institutions.

Keywords

Global environmental change Anthropocene Planetary boundaries Global networks Earth system governance Adaptive governance 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by Mistra through a core grant to the Stockholm Resilience Centre, a cross-faculty research centre at Stockholm University, and through grants from the Futura Foundation. H. Ö. was supported by Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management (BEAM) and the Nippon Foundation. Ö. B. was supported by the strategic research program Ekoklim at Stockholm University. B. C. was supported by the Erling-Persson Family Foundation. We are grateful to colleagues at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and to Oran Young, Ruben Zondervan and Sarah Cornell for detailed comments on early drafts of the article.

References

  1. Adger, W. N., Eakin, H., & Winkels, A. (2009). Nested and teleconnected vulnerabilities to environmental change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 150–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agnew D. J. et al. (2009). Estimating the world-wide extent of illegal fishing. PLoS ONE, 4. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004570.
  3. Ansell, C. (2006). Network institutionalism. In R. A. W. Rhodes, S. A. Binder, & B. A. Rockman (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of political institutions (pp. 75–89). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baird, R. (2004). Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing: an analysis of the legal, economic and historical factors relevant to its development and persistence. Melbourne Journal of International Law, 13, 299–335.Google Scholar
  5. Balkundi, P., & Kilduff, M. (2006). The ties that lead: A social network approach to leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(4), 419–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barrett, S., & Dannenberg, A. (2012). Climate negotiations under scientific uncertainty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(43), 17372–17376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benford, R. D., & Snow, D. A. (2000). Framing processes and social movements: An overview and assessment. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 611–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Biermann, F. (2007). ‘Earth system governance’ as a crosscutting theme of global change research. Global Environmental Change, 17(3–4), 326–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Biermann, F. (2012). Planetary boundaries and earth system governance: Exploring the links. Ecological Economics, 81, 4–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Biermann, F., Abbott, K., Andresen, S., et al. (2012). Navigating the anthropocene: Improving earth system governance. Science, 335, 1306–1307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Biermann, Frank., & Pattberg, Philipp. (2012). Global environmental governance reconsidered. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bodin, Ö., & Crona, B. (2009). The role of social networks in natural resource governance: What relational patterns make a difference? Global Environmental Change, 19, 366–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bodin, Ö., & Prell, C. (2011). Social networks and natural resource management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Boin, A., ‘t Hart, P., Stern, E., & Sundelius, B. (2005). The politics of crisis management—Public leadership under pressure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brook, B.W., Ellis, E. C., Perring, M. P., Mackay, A. W., & Blomqvist, L. (2013). Does the terrestrial biosphere have planetary tipping points? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 16. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.01.016.
  16. Campbell, J. L. (2002). Ideas, politics, and public policy. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cash, D., Adger, N. W., Berkes, F., et al. (2006). Scale and cross-scale dynamics: Governance and information in a multilevel world. Ecology and Society, 11(2), 8.Google Scholar
  18. Chan, E. H., et al. (2010). Global capacity for emerging infectious disease detection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(50), 21701–21706. 10.1073/pnas.1006219107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Claessens, S., Dell’Ariccia, G., Igan, D., & Laeven, L. (2010). Cross-country experiences and policy implications from the global financial crisis. Economic Policy, 25(62), 267–293.Google Scholar
  20. Comfort, L. K. (1988). Designing policy for action: The emergency management system. In L. K. Comfort (Ed.), Managing disaster: Strategies and policy perspectives (pp. 3–21). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Constable, A. J., de la Mare, W. K., Agnew, D. J., Everson, I., & Miller, D. G. M. (2010). Managing fisheries to conserve the Antarctic marine ecosystem: Practical implementation of the convention on the conservation of Antarctic Marine living resources (CCAMLR). ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57(3), 778–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cox, et al. (2000). Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model. Nature, 408(6809), 184–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cross, M. K. D. (2012). Rethinking epistemic communities twenty years later. Review of International Studies, 39(01), 137–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Curley, M. G., & Herington, J. (2011). The securitisation of avian influenza: International discourses and domestic politics in Asia. Review of International Studies, 37(1), 141–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dietz, T., Ostrom, E., & Stern, P. C. (2003). The struggle to govern the commons. Science, 302(5652), 1907–1912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dimitrov, R. S., Sprinz, D. F., DiGiusto, G. M., & Kelle, A. (2007). International nonregimes: A research agenda. International Studies Review, 9, 230–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dodds, P. S., Watts, D. J., & Sabel, C. F. (2003). Information exchange and the robustness of organizational networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(21), 12516–12521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Downs, G. W. (2000). Constructing effective environmental regimes. Annual Review of Political Science, 3, 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dry, S., & Leach, M. (2010). Epidemics—Science. Earthscan: Governance and Social Justice.Google Scholar
  30. Duit, A., & Galaz, V. (2008). Governance and complexity—Emerging issues for governance theory. Governance, 21(3), 311–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Edelenbos, J., Van Buuren, A., & Klijn, E.-H. (2013). Connective capacities of network managers. Public Management Review, 15(1), 131–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Emirbayer, M., & Goodwin, J. (1994). Network analysis, culture, and the problem of agency. American Journal of Sociology, 99, 1411–1454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fallon, L., & Kriwoken, K. (2004). International influence of an Australian nongovernment organization in the protection of Patagonian toothfish. Ocean Development & International Law, 35, 221–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. FAO (2005) Report of the Technical consultation to review progress and promote the full implementation of the international plan of action to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and the international plan of action for the management of fishing capacity. FIPL/R753. FAO Fisheries Report No. 753, FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  35. Fidler, D. (2004). SARS, Governance and the Globalization of Disease. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Fidler, D. (2008). Influenza virus samples, international law, and global health diplomacy. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 14(1), 88–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Folke, C., Hahn, T., Olsson, P., & Norberg, J. (2005). Adaptive governance of social-ecological systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 30, 441–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Galaz, V. (2009). Pandemic 2.0: Can information technology really help Us save the planet?”. Environment, 51(6), 20–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Galaz, V. (2011). Double complexity—Information technology and reconfigurations in adaptive governance. In E. Boyd & C. Folke (Eds.), Adapting institutions—Governance, complexity and social-ecological resilience (pp. 193–215). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Galaz, V. (2014). Global environmental governance, technology and politics: The Anthropocene gap. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  41. Galaz, V., Biermann, F., Crona, B., et al. (2012). Planetary boundaries—exploring the challenges for global environmental governance. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4(1), 80–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Galaz, V., Crona, B., Daw, T., Bodin, Ö., Nyström, M., & Olsson, P. (2010a). Can web crawlers revolutionize ecological monitoring? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8, 99–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Galaz, V., Crona, B., Österblom, H., Olsson, P., & Folke, C. (2011). Polycentric systems and interacting planetary boundaries: Emerging governance of climate change–ocean acidification–marine biodiversity. Ecological Economics, 81, 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Galaz, V., Hahn, H., Olsson, P., Folke, C., & Svedin, U. (2008). The problem of fit between ecosystems and governance systems: Insights and emerging challenges. In O. Young, L. A. King, & H. Schroeder (Eds.), The institutional dimensions of global environmental change: principal findings and future directions (pp. 147–186). Boston, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Galaz, V., Moberg, F., Olsson, E. K., Paglia, E., & Parker, C. (2010b). Institutional and political leadership dimensions of cascading ecological crises. Public Administration, 89(2), 361–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Gardiner, S. M. (2009). Saved by disaster? Abrupt climate change, political inertia, and the possibility of an intergenerational arms race. Journal of Social Philosophy, 40(2), 140–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Gehring, T., & Oberthür, S. (2009). The causal mechanisms of interaction between international institutions. European Journal of International Relations, 15(1), 125–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Gerring, J. (2004). What is a case study and what is it good for? American Political Science Review, 98(2), 341–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Gullett, W., & Schofield, C. (2007). Pushing the limits of the law of the sea convention: Australian and French cooperative surveillance and enforcement in the Southern Ocean. International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 22, 545–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Haas, P. M. (1992). Banning chlorofluorocarbons: epistemic community efforts to protect stratospheric ozone. International Organization, 46(1), 187–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Heymann, D. L. (2006). SARS and emerging infectious diseases: A challenge to place global solidarity above national sovereignty. Annals Academy of Medicine Singapore, 35, 350–353.Google Scholar
  52. Hoegh-Guldberg, O., et al. (2007). Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification. Science, 318(5857), 1737–1742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Holling, C. S. (1978). Adaptive environmental assessment and management. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  54. Hoppe, B., & Reinelt, C. (2010). Social network analysis and the evaluation of leadership networks. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(4), 600–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hulme, M. (2012). On the two degrees climate policy target. In O. Edenhofer, J. Wallacher, H. Lotze-Campen, M. Reder, B. Knopf & J. Müller (Eds.), Climate change, justice and sustainability: Linking climate and development policy, (pp. 122–125). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  56. Hutchings, J. A., & Reynolds, J. D. (2004). Marine fish population collapses: Consequences for recovery and extinction risk. BioScience, 54(4), 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. IOM (Institute of Medicine) and National Research Council (NRC). (2008). Achieving sustainable global capacity for surveillance and response to emerging diseases of zoonotic origin: Workshop report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  58. Jessop, B. (1998). The rise of governance and the risks of failure: The case of economic development. International Social Science Journal, 50(155), 29–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kanie, N., Betsill, M. M., Zondervan, R., et al. (2012). A charter moment: Restructuring governance for sustainability. Public Administration and Development, 32, 292–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Kinzig, A. P., Ryan, P., Etienne, M., et al. (2006). Resilience and regime shifts: Assessing cascading effects. Ecology and Society, 11(1), 20.Google Scholar
  61. Knopf, B., Flachsland, C., & Edenhofer, O. (2012). The 2C target reconsidered. In O. Edenhofer, J. Wallacher, H. Lotze-Campen, M. Reder, B. Knopf, & J. Müller (Eds.), Climate change, justice and sustainability: Linking climate and development policy (pp. 121–137). Dordrecht: Springer, Netherlands.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Koppenjan, J., & Klijn, E.-H. (2004). Managing uncertainties in networks: A network approach to problem solving and decision making. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  63. Lenton, T. M., Held, H., Kriegler, E., et al. (2008). Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105, 1786–1793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Low, B., Ostrom, E., Simon, C., & Wilson, J. (2003). Redundancy and diversity: Do they influence optimal management? In Fikret. Berkes, Johan. Colding, & Carl. Folke (Eds.), Navigating social-ecological systems—Building resilience for complexity and change (pp. 83–114). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Lynam, T., & Brown, K. (2011). Mental models in human-environment interactions: Theory, policy implications, and methodological explorations’. Ecology and Society, 17(3), 24.Google Scholar
  66. Milkoreit, M. (2013). Mindmade politics: The role of cognition in global climate change governance. Ph.D. Thesis presented to the University of Waterloo in fulfillment of the thesis requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Global Governance.Google Scholar
  67. Miller, D. G., Slicer, N., & Sabourenkov, E. (2010). IUU fishing in antarctic waters: CCAMLR actions and regulations. In D. Vidas (Ed.), Law, technology and science for oceans in globalization (pp. 175–196). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Mitchell, R. B. (2002). A quantitative approach to evaluating international environmental regimes. Global Environmental Politics, 2(4), 58–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Monge, P. R., & Contractor, N. S. (2003). Theories of communication networks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Moynihan, D. (2008). Learning under uncertainty: Networks in crisis management. Public Administration Review, 68(2), 350–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Oberthür, S., & Stokke, O. S. (2011). Managing institutional complexity—Regime interplay and global environmental change. Massachusetts: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. OECD. (2011). Future Global ShocksImproving Risk Governance. OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies, OECD Publishing, Paris.Google Scholar
  73. Orsini, A., Morin, J., & Young, O. (2013). Regime complexes: A buzz, a boom, or a boost for global governance? Global Governance, 19, 27–39.Google Scholar
  74. Österblom, H., & Bodin, Ö. (2012). Global cooperation among diverse organizations to reduce illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean. Conservation Biology, 26(4), 638–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Österblom, H., Constable, A., & Fukumi, S. (2011). Illegal fishing and the organized crime analogy. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 26, 261–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Österblom, H., & Sumaila, U. R. (2011). Toothfish crises, actor diversity and the emergence of compliance mechanisms in the Southern Ocean. Global Environmental Change, 21, 972–982.Google Scholar
  77. Österblom, H., et al. (2010). Adapting to regional enforcement: Fishing down the governance index. PLoS ONE, 5, e12832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Pahl-Wostl, Claudia. (2009). A conceptual framework for analyzing adaptive capacity and multi-level learning processes in resource governance regimes. Global Environmental Change, 19, 345–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Pauly, D., Alder, J., Bennett, E., Christensen, V., Tyedmers, P., & Watson, R. (2003). The future for fisheries. Science, 302, 1359–1361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Pearson, C. M., & Clair, J. A. (1998). Reframing crisis management. Academy of Management Review, 23(1), 59–76.Google Scholar
  82. Plummer, R., Crona, B., Armitage, D. R., Olsson, P., & Yudina, O. (2012). Adaptive comanagement: A systematic review and analysis, Ecology and Society, 17(3), 11. doi: 10.5751/ES-04952-170311.
  83. Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K. et al. (2009b) Planetary boundaries: Exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society, 14(2): 32. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art32/.
  84. Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., et al. (2009). A safe operating space for humanity. Nature, 461, 472–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. SC-CAMLR (Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources). (1997). Report of the sixteenth meeting of the scientific committee. Hobart: SC-CAMLR.Google Scholar
  86. SC-CAMLR (Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources). (2002). Report of the twenty-first meeting of the scientific committee. Hobart: SC-CAMLR.Google Scholar
  87. Scheffer, M., Bascompte, J. B., Brock, W. A., et al. (2009). Early-warning signals for critical transitions. Nature, 461(7260), 53–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Scheffer, M., & Carpenter, S. R. (2003). Catastrophic regime shifts in ecosystems: Linking theory to observation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 18(12), 648–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Schlesinger, W. H. (2009). Planetary boundaries: Thresholds risk prolonged degradation. Nature Reports Climate Change, 3(0910), 112–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Steffen, W., Persson, Å., Deutsch, L., et al. (2011). The anthropocene: From global change to planetary stewardship. Ambio, 40, 739–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Suchman, M. C. (1995). Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571–610.Google Scholar
  92. Swartz, W., Sala, E., Tracey, S., Watson, R., & Pauly, D. (2010). The spatial expansion and ecological footprint of fisheries (1950 to Present). PLoS ONE, 5(12), e15143. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. UN-FSA. (1995). The United Nations agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations convention on the law of the sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. United Nations General Assembly, New York.Google Scholar
  94. van Baalen, P. J., & van Fenema, P. C. (2009). Instantiating global crisis networks: The case of SARS. Decision Support Systems, 47(4), 277–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. van Kersbergen, K., & van Waarden, F. (2004). “Governance” as a bridge between disciplines: Cross-disciplinary inspiration regarding shifts in governance and problems of governability, accountability and legitimacy. European Journal of Political Research, 43, 143–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Walker, B., Barrett, S., Polasky, S., et al. (2009). Looming global-scale failures and missing institutions. Science, 325(5946), 1345–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Walker, B. H., Gunderson, L., Kinzig, A. et al (2006). A handful of heuristics and some propositions for understanding resilience in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 11(1): 13. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art13/.
  98. Wallinga, J., & Teunis, P. (2004). Different epidemic curves for severe acute respiratory syndrome reveal similar impacts of control measures. American Journal of Epidemiology, 160(6), 509–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. WHO. (2005). WHO global influenza preparedness plan—The role of WHO and recommendations for national measures before and during pandemics. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  100. Winter, G. (Ed.). (2006). Multilevel governance of global environmental change—Perspectives from science, sociology and the law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  101. World Economic Forum. (2013). Global risks 2013 (8th ed.). Geneva: Switzerland.Google Scholar
  102. Young, O. R. (2008). Building regimes for socioecological systems. In O. R. Young, L. A. King & H. Schroeder (Eds.), The institutional dimensions of global environmental change: Principal findings and future directions (pp. 115–144). Boston, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  103. Young, O. R. (2010). Institutional dynamics: Resilience, vulnerability and adaptation in environmental and resource regimes. Global Environmental Change, 20(3), 378–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Young, O. R. (2011). Effectiveness of international environmental regimes: Existing knowledge, cutting-edge themes, and research strategies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 4, 1–8.Google Scholar
  105. Zarocostas, J. (2011). WHO processes on dealing with a pandemic need to be overhauled and made more transparent. BMJ, 2011, 342. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3378.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stockholm Resilience CentreStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Global Economic Dynamics and the BiosphereRoyal Swedish Academy of SciencesStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations