Beth DeSombre works on international environmental politics and law, with a focus on issues of the global commons. Recent projects have involved the impact of flag-of-convenience shipping, the regulation of international fisheries, protection of the ozone layer, and global environmental institutions generally.
Her first book, Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy: Industry, Environmentalists, and U.S. Power (MIT Press, 2000) won the 2001 Chadwick F. Alger Prize for the best book published in the area of international organization, and the 2001 Lynton Caldwell Award for the best book published on environmental policy. Other recent books include Flagging Standards: Globalization and Environmental, Safety, and Labor Regulations at Sea (MIT Press, 2006), and Global Environmental Institutions (Routledge, 2006), and two upcoming books on the global politics of fishery conservation, Saving Global Fisheries and Fish co-authored with J. Samuel Barkin.
At Wellesley she direct the Environmental Studies (ES) Program and teaches many of its core courses, including ES 214: Social Causes and Consequences of Environmental Problems (known informally as “why good people do bad environmental things") and ES 300, the project-based capstone course for the ES major. She also teaches a seminar in environmental policy and a course on international environmental law, among others. She is also involved with developing and teaching in the tri-campus Sustainability Certificate program (with Olin and Babson Colleges). She received the 2005 Pinanski Prize for Teaching Excellence at Wellesley.