Confronting the nitrogen challenge: Options for governance and target setting

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The release of excessive anthropogenic nitrogen contributes to global climate change, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of ecosystem services. Despite being an urgent global problem, the excess nitrogen is not governed globally. This paper considers possible governance options for dealing with excessive nitrogen through target setting, which is an approach commonly adopted to address global environmental problems. The articulation of the nitrogen problem and the numerous international institutions dealing with it, provide evidence of a nitrogen regime characterised by limited coordination and targets covering sources and impacts only partially. This calls for improving the nitrogen governance in the direction of more integrated approaches at the global scale. In this vein, the paper investigates two opposite governance options – here labelled as ‘holistic’ and ‘origin-based’ – and evaluates them for their capability to define solutions and targets for human-induced nitrogen. From the analysis, it emerges that origin-based solutions can be preferable to holistic solutions as they can be more specific and potentially have greater immediate results. Independent from which governance arrangement is chosen, what matters most is the speed at which an arrangement can deploy solutions to combat (fast-growing) nitrogen pollution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-49
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume54
Issue number2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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governance
nitrogen
biodiversity
environmental impact
climate change
regime
target setting
integrated approach
ecosystem service
evidence
global climate
pollution
degradation

Keywords

  • Targets; Excessive anthropogenic nitrogen; Governing by targets; Nitrogen governance; Nitrogen regime; Evaluation of governance options

Cite this

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title = "Confronting the nitrogen challenge: Options for governance and target setting",
abstract = "The release of excessive anthropogenic nitrogen contributes to global climate change, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of ecosystem services. Despite being an urgent global problem, the excess nitrogen is not governed globally. This paper considers possible governance options for dealing with excessive nitrogen through target setting, which is an approach commonly adopted to address global environmental problems. The articulation of the nitrogen problem and the numerous international institutions dealing with it, provide evidence of a nitrogen regime characterised by limited coordination and targets covering sources and impacts only partially. This calls for improving the nitrogen governance in the direction of more integrated approaches at the global scale. In this vein, the paper investigates two opposite governance options – here labelled as ‘holistic’ and ‘origin-based’ – and evaluates them for their capability to define solutions and targets for human-induced nitrogen. From the analysis, it emerges that origin-based solutions can be preferable to holistic solutions as they can be more specific and potentially have greater immediate results. Independent from which governance arrangement is chosen, what matters most is the speed at which an arrangement can deploy solutions to combat (fast-growing) nitrogen pollution.",
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Confronting the nitrogen challenge: Options for governance and target setting. / Morseletto, P.

In: Global Environmental Change, Vol. 54, No. 2019, 01.2019, p. 40-49.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - The release of excessive anthropogenic nitrogen contributes to global climate change, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of ecosystem services. Despite being an urgent global problem, the excess nitrogen is not governed globally. This paper considers possible governance options for dealing with excessive nitrogen through target setting, which is an approach commonly adopted to address global environmental problems. The articulation of the nitrogen problem and the numerous international institutions dealing with it, provide evidence of a nitrogen regime characterised by limited coordination and targets covering sources and impacts only partially. This calls for improving the nitrogen governance in the direction of more integrated approaches at the global scale. In this vein, the paper investigates two opposite governance options – here labelled as ‘holistic’ and ‘origin-based’ – and evaluates them for their capability to define solutions and targets for human-induced nitrogen. From the analysis, it emerges that origin-based solutions can be preferable to holistic solutions as they can be more specific and potentially have greater immediate results. Independent from which governance arrangement is chosen, what matters most is the speed at which an arrangement can deploy solutions to combat (fast-growing) nitrogen pollution.

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