Beyond Resource Wars

From Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation

Beyond Resource Wars

Scarcity, Environmental Degradation, and International Cooperation

Edited by Shlomi Dinar

An argument that resource scarcity and environmental degradation can provide an impetus for cooperation among countries.





An argument that resource scarcity and environmental degradation can provide an impetus for cooperation among countries.

Common wisdom holds that the earth's dwindling natural resources and increasing environmental degradation will inevitably lead to inter-state conflict, and possibly even set off “resource wars.” Many scholars and policymakers have considered the environmental roots of violent conflict and instability, but little attention has been paid to the idea that scarcity and degradation may actually play a role in fostering inter-state cooperation.

Beyond Resource Wars fills this gap, offering a different perspective on the links between environmental problems and inter-state conflict. Although the contributors do not deny that resource scarcity and environmental degradation may become sources of contention, they argue that these conditions also provide the impetus for cooperation, coordination, and negotiation between states. The book examines aspects of environmental conflict and cooperation in detail, across a number of natural resources and issues including oil, water, climate change, ocean pollution, and biodiversity conservation. The contributors argue that increasing scarcity and degradation generally induce cooperation across states, but when conditions worsen (and a problem becomes too costly or a resource becomes too scarce), cooperation becomes more difficult. Similarly, low levels of scarcity may discourage cooperation because problems seem less urgent.

With contributions from scholars in international relations, economics, and political science, Beyond Resource Wars offers a comprehensive and robust investigation of the links among scarcity, environmental degradation, cooperation, and conflict.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262014977 352 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 2 charts, 5 graphs


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262515580 352 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 2 charts, 5 graphs


Shlomi Dinar

Shlomi Dinar is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University.


  • These chapters represent some of the best thinking in global environmental politics at the present time. Noteworthy for its focus on environmental cooperation rather than conflict, Beyond Resource Wars will quickly become an important part of the ongoing debate over the sociopolitical impacts of resource scarcity.

    Dennis Pirages

    Professor of Political Science, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  • This volume makes a compelling case for taking environmental matters seriously for confidence building, peacemaking, and sustainable security. By linking resource wars to environmental degradation, and to regime formation, the book introduces a unique and useful innovation in the realm of international environmental politics.

    Simon Dalby

    Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University