School of Earth and Environment

James Van Alstine Dr James Van Alstine

Lecturer: Environmental Policy; Deputy Director SRI; Programme Manager: MSc Sustainability (Environmental Politics and Policy)

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 37531
Email address:
Room: 10.104


James Van Alstine is Lecturer in Environmental Policy and Programme Manager of the MSc Sustainability (Environmental Politics and Policy) in the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on the emergence and implementation of environmental policy and governance, the social and environmental risks of industrial development, the politics of low carbon transitions and the governance of resource extraction in the Global North and South. James directs a four-year (2008-2011) Alcoa Foundation grant funded research programme that explores governance and sustainable development in extractive industry host communities. He has ongoing research projects in England, Ireland, Brazil, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia.

Prior to joining SRI in 2008, James was a fellow in environmental policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he completed his PhD on corporate environmentalism in the South African petrochemical industry. He remains an associate fellow at LSE and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, which is co-hosted by LSE and the University of Leeds. He is also a writer, editor and team leader for the International Institute for Sustainable Development's Earth Negotiations Bulletin at United Nations multilateral environmental negotiations. James holds an MSc in Environmental Assessment and Evaluation from LSE and a BA in Philosophy from Northwestern University in the US.

Research interests and areas of supervision:

  • Environmental policy and governance
  • Corporate environmentalism and corporate social responsibility
  • Environmental and social risks of industrial development
  • Politics of low carbon transitions
  • Governance of natural resource extraction


  • Van Alstine J; Smith L; Dixon J; Manyindo J; AmanigaRuhanga I (2014) Resource governance dynamics: The challenge of 'new oil' in Uganda, Resources Policy, . doi: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2014.01.002
  • Van Alstine J; Barkemeyer R (2014) Business and development: Changing discourses in the extractive industries, Resources Policy, . doi: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2014.01.006
  • van Alstine J (2014) Transparency in Resource Governance: The Pitfalls and Potential of "New Oil" in Sub-Saharan Africa, Global Environmental Politics, 14, pp.20-39. doi: 10.1162/GLEP_a_00213
  • Dessai S; Afionis S; Van Alstine J (2013) Science alone cannot shape sustainability, Nature, 493, pp.26. doi: 10.1038/493026d
  • Van Alstine J; Afionis S; Doran P (2013) The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20): A sign of the times or "ecology as spectacle"?, Environmental Politics, 22, pp.333-338. doi: 10.1080/09644016.2013.765162
  • Van Alstine J; Afionis S (2013) Community and company capacity: the challenge of resource-led development in Zambia's 'New Copperbelt', Community Development Journal, 48, pp.360-376. doi: 10.1093/cdj/bst019
  • Van Alstine J; Afionis S (2012) Rio+20: Environmental Outlook in Latin America and the Caribbean, In: Europa Publications (Ed) South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2013, The Europa Regional Surveys of the World, Routledge, pp.12-17.
  • Van Alstine J; AmanigaRuhanga I; Bazira H; Manyindo J; Parker AR (2011) Seeking Benefits and Avoiding Conflicts: A Community-Company Assessment of Uganda's Hydrocarbon Industry, .
  • Van Alstine J; Ngosa F; Manyindo J; Arkorful E (2011) Seeking Benefits and Avoiding Conflicts: A Community-Company Assessment of Copper Mining in Solwezi, Zambia, .
  • Van Alstine J (2010) Spaces of Contestation: The Governance of Industry's Environmental Performance in Durban, South Africa, In: Utting P; Marques JC (Ed) Corporate Social Responsibility and Regulatory Governance, International Political Economy Series, Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Van Alstine J (2009) Governance from below: contesting corporate environmentalism in Durban, South Africa, Business, Strategy and the Environment, 18, pp.108-121.
  • Gouldson A; Lopez-Gunn E; Van Alstine J; Rees Y; Davies M; Krishnarayan V (2008) New Alternative and Complementary Environmental Policy Instruments and the Implementation of the Water Framework Directive, European Environment, 18, pp.359-370.
  • Van Alstine J; Neumayer E (2008) A critical introduction to the Environmental Kuznets Curve, In: Gallagher K (Ed) Handbook on trade and the environment, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Doran P; Van Alstine J (2007) The fourteenth session of the UN commission on sustainable development: The energy session, ENVIRON POLIT, 16, pp.130-141. doi: 10.1080/09644010601074224