The purpose of this article is to introduce English School (ES) theory to the study of global environmental politics (GEP). The ES is an established theoretical tradition in the discipline of international relations (IR) but is not widely known, let alone used, in GEP. My aim is to overcome this state of neglect and suggest ways in which ES theory can enrich the study of international environmental affairs. I argue that ES theory makes at least two major contributions to the study of global environmental politics: first, it helps counterbalance the presentist focus in GEP scholarship, shifting our attention toward long-term historical patterns of normative change, and second, by distinguishing between different levels of international change, it opens up an analytical focus on environmentalism as a part of the international normative structure. In doing so, ES theory directs our attention to the interaction and mutual shaping between environmentalism and other fundamental norms of international society.

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