ABSTRACT

The Pacific Basin is a region of great importance in the study of environmental policy. The Pacific region encompasses the largest oceanic expanse on earth, an extraordinary diversity of natural areas and wildlife, and a collection of countries faced with environmental challenges that pose grave threats to both human communities and ecosystems in the region. This chapter examines these environmental challenges and the efforts of Pacific countries to develop effective policies for environmental protection. Due to the transboundary character of many environmental issues, the vast Pacific Basin forms a useful arena for the study of transnational environmental problems and policy responses. The environmental problems of the Pacific Basin are driven by the combination of rapid population growth, aggressive development, and the application of a wide array of technologies that allow the large-scale extraction of natural resources as well as the emission of enormous volumes of pollution in the pursuit of economic production. This chapter first examines the role of population growth in the environmental problems of the Pacific Basin, and then proceeds to consider the issues of pollution, climate change, and the protection of natural areas and wildlife.