Governing global telecoupling toward environmental sustainability

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Telecoupling constitutes a particular class of globalized environmental issues that are neither local-cumulative, nor
transboundary, nor concerning global commons, but that arise because of specific linkages between distal regions. Such telecoupled
issues, e.g., associated with global commodity chains, waste flows, or migration patterns, have been receiving increasing attention from
scholars of global land change science. Although governance research has mostly studied existing institutional responses to these issues,
telecoupling opens up a problem-oriented perspective on issues of environmental sustainability that occur regionally, but that arise
because of global linkages, and raises novel questions about how such issues are and could be governed in a global architecture. We
draw insights from existing literature on globally interconnected phenomena to advance our understanding of governing telecoupling
toward environmental sustainability. We first identify and discuss five particular challenges that telecoupling poses to global
environmental governance: knowledge deficits, divergent interests, high transaction costs of cooperation, the weak legitimacy base of
current governance arrangements, and policy incoherence and fragmentation. Second, we review conceptual literature that meaningfully
address the governance of telecoupling, while utilizing differing terminologies, for example, through reference to “flows,” “chains,” or
“multiscalar” issues. Building on this, we elaborate on how currently debated governance approaches respond to the identified challenges.
We conclude with a brief note on where we believe the discussion on governance of telecoupling stands, and where we see directions
for future research.
ZeitschriftEcology and Society
Anzahl der Seiten17
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2020


  • Umwelt Governance - environmental flows, fragmentation, global commodity chains, global environmental governance, inter-regional connectedness, scale