PAUL G. HARRIS conducts research on global and environmental politics, policy and justice. Much of his work focuses on climate change, including the international governance of climate change, climate ethics and justice, the politics and foreign policy of climate change, and American and Chinese climate change policies.
“My research philosophy is to undertake innovative analyses that enhance understanding of the human dimensions of global change. I aim to bolster comprehension and appreciation of some of the most vital issues of our time. I try to set a good example for colleagues — to make the best contribution that I can to our collective research efforts, thereby increasing transfer of knowledge that benefits our students, other scholars, the local and global communities, and the nonhuman world.” Paul G. Harris
Professor Harris’s research has been supported by highly competitive research grants, including the Research Grants Council’s General Research Fund and the Environment Bureau’s Sustainable Development Fund. He has directed research programs and many project teams, resulting in a large number of books and other scholarly publications. He is a Senior Research Fellow in the Earth System Governance global research alliance.
Scroll down this page for information on many of Professor Harris’s ongoing and past research projects. To learn about 26 books and more than 100 journal articles and book chapters resulting from his research, click on Books and Articles & Chapters. You may also find Professor Harris’s ORCID record to be useful.
Climate Governance. This ongoing project analyzes the politics and governance of climate change at three levels: international, national and individual, aiming to understand means for overcoming obstacles to greater action by the global community, governments and citizens. A number of books, articles and chapters have resulted from this project, including Pathologies of Climate Governance, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. A new phase in this project, which will overlap with research on the Ethics and Justice of Climate Change as well as the Rise of China (see below), considers responsibility in climate governance and what this suggests about where resources should come from for climate-related loss and damage.
Ethics and Justice of Climate Change. This long-term project seeks to illuminate and advance understanding of the practical implications of ethics and justice in global efforts to address climate change. An underlying normative assumption is that policy responses to climate change cannot be effective if they are not equitable, fair and just. The project has resulted in Global Ethics and Climate Change, A Research Agenda for Climate Justice and a number of other books, as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles.
The Rise of China: Civilization and Nature. This new project explores the implications for the world of China’s economic and political rise over the last four decades. It will chronicle China’s impacts on global civilization, including diplomacy and human rights, and especially on the natural world, with particular emphasis on the country’s global environmental footprint and its role in the global climate crisis. Numerous essays and an authored book are planned as outputs of this project.
COMPLETED PROJECTS (partial list)
The Governance of Oceanic Change. This project, involving about 100 scholars and experts from around the world, aimed to understand how oceans and seas can and should be governed as the impacts of climatic and global-scale environmental changes progress. The results of this project included a major research volume that was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019 and a comprehensive scholarly handbook published by Routledge in 2022.
The Landscape of Global Environmental Politics: A Survey of the Discipline. This project involved more than 60 scholars of Global Environmental Politics. Completed in 2016, it resulted in a comprehensive research “handbook” of the discipline published by Routledge (a 2014 hardback edition and a 2016 updated paperback edition). The first editions were so successful that a fully revised, updated and enlarged second edition was commissioned for publication in 2022.
The Politics of Adaptation to Climate Change. This project, in collaboration with John Barkdull, examined the role of politics and political science in advancing understanding of adaptation to dangerous future climate change. It resulted in several articles in academic journals.
Experiential Learning in the Ocean Environment. To truly comprehend the environment, it is valuable (and possibly essential) to experience it firsthand. In 2018 this project put the researcher within the real-world “natural” environment that is the subject of political negotiations internationally. In addition to informing teaching, research and writing about environmental governance, this project resulted in a journal article.
Consumption and Compliance with Climate Change Agreements. This project, conducted with Taedong Lee and completed in 2016 with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea, resulted in a co-authored refereed journal article.
China and Global Warming: Reconciling International Justice and the Realities of Climate Change. Funded by the Research Grants Council and completed in 2012, the output of this collaborative project included a number of journal articles, several books and a policy report.
Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development in China and Education for Sustainable Development in Tertiary Education. Completed in 2011 with support from the Environment Bureau’s Sustainable Development Fund, these complementary collaborative projects resulted in several outputs, including a book and an educational website.
Cosmopolitan Justice and Climate Change. This project, with support from the James Harvey Johnson Charitable Education Trust (through the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs), was completed by 2011 and resulted in several articles and books.
China’s Climate Change Policy and Climate Change and the Politics of Contemporary China. These two related projects, conducted in 2008 and 2010, resulted in government-commissioned policy reports.
Environmental Change and Foreign Policy. Initiated and directed by Professor Harris, the Project on Environmental Change and Foreign Policy was a decade-long international research initiative that involved over 100 scholars. It was mostly completed by 2009 and resulted in ten books and a large number of articles and chapters.
Environmental Attitudes in China and Future Climate Change: Reshaping Destructive Attitudes for Worldwide Benefits. With funding from the Minor Foundation for Major Challenges (Norway), this project was completed by 2008 and resulted in two journal articles and an educational website.
The European Union and Environmental Change: Sharing the Burdens of Global Warming and Europe and Global Climate Change. Completed in 2006, these two projects resulted in several papers, chapters and an edited volume.
The Global Politics of AIDS. In collaboration with Patricia Siplon and a team of experts, this project resulted in papers, a journal article, book chapters and an edited volume. It was completed by 2006.
International Regimes and Environmental Policy Coordination in China. This project was completed in 2005 and resulted in several papers published as articles and book chapters.
Global Governance and Environmental Ethics. With support from the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, this project from 2003 resulted in journal articles and book chapters.
Environmental Values in a Globalizing World: The Case of China. With support from the Oxford Center for the Environment, Ethics and Society, and the Key Center for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, this 2002 project resulted in a book chapter.
International Equity and Global Environmental Politics. This project, which benefited from support by the Institute for the Study of World Politics and Sun Life Assurance, examined the role of equity considerations in transnational environmental politics and policymaking, including a case study of the United States. It resulted in a number of publications, including a research report, journal articles, book chapters and a book monograph.