The ‘New’ Environmental Narratives and the Resurgence of Old Debates

Research output: Working paper


The paper takes a critical view of the narrative of sustainable development and argues that three different environmental narratives – ecomodernism, environmental authoritarianism, and degrowth – are now providing alternative problem-solving accounts of environmental governance. The paper analyses the three narratives according to a common set of categories. Furthermore, it argues that these three narratives are bringing again to scholarly attention debates – over the limits to growth, the limits to technological innovation, and the potential limits of democracy in guiding environmental politics – which, at the end of the last century, had been effectively defused by the hegemonic sustainable development narrative. Finally, the paper explores the significance of the resurgence of these debates for environmental politics.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDuisburg
PublisherCentre for Global Cooperation Research
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGlobal Cooperation Research Papers
PublisherCentre for Global Cooperation Research
ISSN (Print)2198-1949
ISSN (Electronic)2198-0411


  • degrowth
  • environmental authoritarianism
  • ecomodernism
  • sustainable development
  • geoengineering

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