Resource Policy and Environmental Policy
In common usage, the terms resource policy and environmental policy are often used interchangeably. However, in academic literature “resources” is used to indicate the natural capital used in production of goods and services, while “environment” is more often used to describe complex ecosystems or natural goods being appreciated for other reasons.
The study of resource policy is mainly occupied with two sets of issues. The first concerns control and rights of use of valuable natural resources. Control of valuable resources is studied partly as being a source of prosperity and power, partly as being a source of conflict or cooperation. The other set of issues assumes as a starting point the recognition that unlimited access to scarce resources entails a serious risk of excessive consumption. An exciting research approach is to study how suitable various political institutions and interventions – such as direct regulation, taxation, and information and attitude campaigns – are to secure sustainable and long-term management of resources.
The superior goal of environmental policies is to protect ecosystems and natural goods against damages sustained through human activity. Environmental policy is studied within all of the core areas of Political Science. Political theorists examine the conceptual basis of environmental policy. Within the field of comparative politics, researchers might focus on studying the attitude and enthusiasm of voters to specific environmental issues. Other researchers within comparative politics might focus on the influence of various societal actors, such as non-governmental organizations, corporations and the media in environmental policy decision-making processes.