Increasingly, political and social issues are viewed through the prism of their environmental impact - and none more so than global development.
We are warned that if countries like China and India were to achieve the standard of living enjoyed in the West, this would hasten environmental catastrophe. Rising carbon emissions, natural resource depletion and bio-diversity loss in the developing world are thus cast as global problems demanding global solutions.
Environmental concerns have joined terrorism and nuclear proliferation as key preoccupations in international affairs since the end of the Cold War.
Free from the political constraints of the 'old world order', UN officials, Western politicians and NGOs frequently argue that the 'international community' has a responsibility to intervene in the affairs of 'rogue' sovereign states.
Should industrial pollution and the destruction of natural habitats be seen as 'crimes against nature' (ecocide), justifying ecological interventions similar to humanitarian ones?
Is the use of force to prevent serious and immediate environmental harm something we should now seriously consider?
Or would this amount to 'eco-imperialism', transgressing international legal and political norms and state sovereignty?- Battle of Ideas
Ross Clark is a frequent contributor to the Times, the Spectator and other national newspapers on current affairs, especially on matters of domestic policy, free trade and globalisation. He is the author of three political books: How to Label a Goat: the silly rules and regulations that are strangling Britain (Harriman House 2006); The Road to Southend Pier: one manâ€™s struggle against the surveillance society (Harriman House 2007) and The Great Before, a satire on the anti-globalisation movement (www.greatbefore.com) 2005).
Philip Cunliffe is a PhD student at the Department of War Studies, King's College London. He co-convenes the Sovereignty And Its Discontents (SAID) working group. Educated at Somerville College, Oxford, he graduated with a First in Politics, Philosophy and Economics in 2002. He also holds an MScEcon in International Politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Philip has been awarded a number of academic prizes and scholarships, including most recently a '+3' award from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Philip is currently completing his doctoral dissertation, an investigation into the politics of peacekeeping.
Philip writes widely on current affairs and international politics, and his articles and essays have appeared both in print and on the web in publications around the world, including spiked, Culture Wars, the American Prospect, Novo and Arena magazines. His personal homepage can be found here.
Andrew Holden is Professor of Environment and Tourism, University of Bedfordshire, and also the Director for the Centre for Research into the Environment and Sustainable Tourism Development (CREST). He is a graduate in environmental sciences, his PhD was undertaken within the Department of Geography at the University of Reading, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He has authored 3 text books, including the Environment and Tourism produced by Routledge, the second edition of which has just been published.
He has held research fellow positions in several British universities and previously worked in the private sector, for the Economic Studies Group, as a consultant for development projects. His research and consultancy work has been undertaken in Indonesia, Nepal, Turkey, Russia and Cyprus, alongside the United Kingdom. He is particularly interested in the relationship between natural resource conservation and poverty reduction, and currently has several PhD students working in this area, including two senior officials on secondment from Ministries in Ghana and Kenya.
He acts as a referee for academic journals; for research bids from the Nuffield Foundation and sits on the editorial board of three academic journals. His invited key note talks at international conferences have included the Arctic Research Institute in Finland; the World Wide Fund for Nature in Athens; and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in Madrid..
Kirk Leech is a freelance journalist and researcher. For many years, Kirkâ€™s energies were devoted to revolutionary politics in the UK. He was the National Organiser for the Irish Freedom Movement, a solidarity campaign that supported Irish national self determination, seeking to win British workers to the cause of Irish Freedom.
Latterly his interests have expanded to issues in the developing world, having travelled and researched in Brazil, Ghana and India with the international educational NGO WORLDwrite. He is currently undertaking postgraduate research in development and environment at Kingâ€™s College London on the impact of global environmental concerns on state sovereignty. He is a regular contributor to spiked and the Guardianâ€™s Comment is Free. Kirk has written extensively on development and environmental issues.
Kirk is currently employed as Project Manager for the Research Defence Society (RDS). RDS represents UK medical researchers in public debates about the use of animals in medical research.
Ross Clark argues that after failing to reduce carbon emissions under the Kyoto treaty, the West has shifted the burden onto developing nations - along with the blame for current high levels of CO2 output.