The Politics of Sustainable Development analyzes how the theory of sustainable development has been related to the practice and how it has been applied within Europe at all levels of government from the EU down to the sub-national local level.
The essays included here begin with an analysis of the ambiguities inherent in sustainable development and the contestable nature of the concept. The contributors explore how far it is possible to reconcile economic growth with environmental needs, asking whether sustainable development can promote equity and development. The book breaks fresh ground in assessing the impact of deep ecological thought on sustainable development as part of a new typology of the concept.
The second section examines how sustainable development has been interpreted at EU and sub-national levels within the member states, with examples drawn from the Mediterranean and Northern European countries. Contrasting interpretations of sustainable development are examined,considering political and administrative conflicts, the influence of cultural factors, and tensions between different levels of government. The ambiguity of sustainable development has led to extensive confusion and created the need for a clearer consensus among policy-makers as to how the concept should be interpreted.