Project

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The Politics of Climate Change: Options for Action in a Changing International Environment

Applicant Widmer Thomas
Number 137808
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Politikwissenschaft Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.02.2014 - 31.01.2017
Approved amount 171'304.00
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Keywords (6)

climate change; policy process; political networks; event data; social network analysis; political discourse

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Formulieren und Umsetzen von wirksamen Klimaschutzmassnahmen stellt die Politik vor grosse Herausforderungen. Die Untersuchung von Bedingungsfaktoren für eine erfolgreiche Klimapolitik wird deshalb zu einem ebenso wichtigen Unterfangen wie das wissenschaftliche Verständnis der Ursachen und Folgen eines sich wandelnden Klimas aufgrund weiterhin ansteigender globaler Treibhausgasemissionen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Das Forschungsprojekt untersucht ausgewählte zentrale Fragen zu den Bedingungen erfolgreicher klimapolitischer Prozesse auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene auf systematische Weise:

- Wie haben sich die klimapolitischen Prozesse auf der internationalen Ebene und in ausgewählten Schlüsselstaaten (wie der Europäischen Union und ihren Mitgliedstaaten, der USA sowie Chinas) seit 2001 entwickelt?

- Welche Handlungsoptionen bieten sich einzelnen Staaten—besonders auch sogenannt kleineren und geopolitisch weniger mächtigen Staaten wie der Schweiz—angesichts des sich wandelnden internationalen Umfelds für die Unterstützung, Formulierung und Umsetzung möglichst wirksamer Klimaschutzmassnahmen?

Um Antworten auf diese übergeordnete Fragestellung zu finden, kombiniert das Forschungsprojekt innovative Datenerhebungs- und Analyseverfahren (Textanalyse, Ereignisdatenanalyse, Soziale Netzwerkanalyse) zusammen mit Experteninterviews und Dokumentenanalyse. Dieses Vorgehen erlaubt, klimapolitische Prozesse auf verschiedenen politischen Ebenen auf systematische Weise zeitvergleichend zu untersuchen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Aufgrund seiner Fragestellung und des gewählten Forschungsansatzes befindet sich das Forschungsprojekt an der Schnittstelle von nationalstaatlicher Innenpolitik und internationaler Politik. Einerseits geht es darum, innenpolitische Faktoren für das bessere Verständnis der internationalen Klimapolitik zu finden. Anderseits untersucht das Forschungsprojekt, inwiefern das internationale politische Umfeld Handlungsmöglichkeiten für innovative klimapolitische Massnahmen auf nationaler und substaatlicher Ebene bietet respektive diese einschränkt. Das Forschungsprojekt ist eingebettet in das internationale Forschungsprogramm COMPON (Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks, siehe http://www.compon.org), das zum Ziel hat, Erklärungen für die im internationalen Vergleich grossen Unterschiede nationalstaatlicher Klimapolitiken zu finden. Das so gewonnene Wissen soll letztlich dazu beitragen, die Diffusion innovativer und erfolgreicher politischer Massnahmen zwischen einzelnen Ländern zu fördern und so zu einem wirksameren internationalen Klimaregime beizutragen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.03.2014

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The formulation and implementation of effective policy measures to reduce anthropogenic climate change from global greenhouse gas emissions has proven politically very challenging. Given the intrinsically political component of the global climate change crisis today, the study of the politics of climate change becomes at least equally important as the scientific understanding of the causes and consequences of changing climate conditions.
Lay summary

This research project investigates some of the most critical political questions related to climate change policymaking in an innovative and systematic manner:

- How have the politics of climate change evolved (or decreased) at the international political level and in selected key countries (such as the European Union and its member states, the United States of America, China) since 2001?

- What options do national governments—in particular also from so-called smaller and geopolitically less powerful nations such as Switzerland—have to support and successfully adopt effective climate change protection measures?

To find answers to these overall research questions, the research project combines innovative data gathering and analysis techniques (textual analysis, event data analysis, social network analysis) together with expert interviews and document analysis to study political processes over time in a systematic way. Theoretically, the research project is located at the intersection of domestic politics and international relations. On the one hand, it looks for domestic political determinants in selected key countries that help to understand the international climate change policy process. On the other hand, it analyzes to what degree political dynamics at the international level open or restrict opportunities for acting on climate change policy issues at the national level.

The project is embedded in and closely coordinated with the international research program on Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (COMPON, see http://www.compon.org) that aims at finding broad principles to explain cross-national variation in the success of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to foster the diffusion of innovative and successful policy solutions across national boundaries.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.03.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
What drives the adoption of climate change mitigation policy? A dynamic network approach to policy diffusion
Kammerer Marlene, Namhata Chandreyee (2018), What drives the adoption of climate change mitigation policy? A dynamic network approach to policy diffusion, in Policy Sciences, 51(4), 477-513.
Conflicting Climate Change Frames in a Global Field of Media Discourse
Broadbent J., Sonnett J., Botetzagias I., Carson M., Carvalho A., Chien Y.-J., Edling C., Fisher D., Giouzepas G., Haluza-DeLay R., Hasegawa K., Hirschi C., Horta A., Ikeda K., Jin J., Ku D., Lahsen M., Lee H.-C., Lin T.-L. A., Malang T., Ollmann J., Payne D., Pellissery S., Price S., et al. (2016), Conflicting Climate Change Frames in a Global Field of Media Discourse, in Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 2(1), 1-17.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Tuomas Ylä-Antilla, Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Jeffrey Broadbent, Institute for Global Studies, Dept of Sociology, University of Minnesota United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Paula Castro, Pol. Economy & Development, Dept of Political Science, Univ. Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
The Political Economy of International Organizations (PEIO) 2017 Poster The politicization of the climate: How and why has the Annex I – non- Annex I division affected negotiations under the climate change regime? 12.01.2017 Bern, Switzerland Kammerer Marlene;
SVPW Congress 2017 Talk given at a conference What Triggers Interest Groups Interests? 11.01.2017 St. Gallen, Switzerland Kammerer Marlene;
SVPW Congress 2017 Talk given at a conference Climate Change Mitigation in the Nexus: A Dynamic Network Approach to Study International Policy Diffusion 11.01.2017 St. Gallen, Switzerland Kammerer Marlene;
ISA Forum of Sociology 2016 Talk given at a conference The Politics of Market-Based Instruments: A Case Study of Climate Change Policy in Switzerland 10.07.2016 Wien, Austria Kammerer Marlene;
Environmental Policy and Governance Conference 2016 Talk given at a conference Interests, Beliefs, and Collective Action: What drives Cooperation in International Climate Change Politics? 16.06.2016 Gerzensee, Switzerland Kammerer Marlene;
Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference 2016 Talk given at a conference Interests, Beliefs, and Collective Action: What drives cooperation in International Climate Change Politics? 07.04.2016 Chicago, United States of America Kammerer Marlene;
International Conference on Public Policy Talk given at a conference Policy Networks and Belief Systems: The Case of Global Climate Change Politics 01.07.2015 Mailand, Italy Kammerer Marlene;
INSNA Sunbelt Conference 2015 Talk given at a conference Policy Networks and Belief Systems: The Case of Global Climate Change Politics 23.06.2015 Brighton, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Kammerer Marlene;
ECPR General Conference 20014 Talk given at a conference The Politics of Market-based Instruments: A Case Study of Swiss Climate Change Policy 03.09.2014 Glasgow, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Kammerer Marlene;
EUSN Conference 2014 Talk given at a conference The Politics of Market-based Instruments: A Case Study of Swiss Climate Change Policy 01.07.2014 Barcelona, Spain Kammerer Marlene;
Auswirkungen des Klimawandels und Klimapolitik - Ergebnisse des 5. IPCC-Berichts Poster The Politics of Climate Change: Options for Action in a Changing International Environment 16.04.2014 Züirch, Switzerland Kammerer Marlene;
Swiss Global Change Day Poster The Politics of Climate Change: Options for Action in a Changing International Environment 02.04.2014 Bern, Switzerland Kammerer Marlene;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
168255 Climate Politics at the Intersection between International Dynamics and National Decision-making: A Policy Network Approach 01.02.2017 Doc.Mobility
188950 Same, same but different? Multiplex networks in Swiss and German Climate Mitigation Policy 01.08.2020 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The research project addresses the following research questions:- How have the politics of climate change at the international political level and in selected key countries evolved since 2001?- What dynamic patterns and structural configurations can be found in related political event data?- What political dynamics and configurations have contributed (and in what way) to the progress or regress of the establishment of effective climate protection measures at the international level and in selected key countries?The conditions under which political actors (both state and non-state actors, including governmental bodies, NGOs, corporate business and civil society organizations) are willing to cooperate on and comply with climate protection measures has recently attracted much interest from policymakers and scholars. As the current commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce climate relevant greenhouse gases run out in 2012, pressure has increased to find new approaches to mitigate global climate change. But far-reaching emission cuts that would be necessary to stabilize the global climate are costly, and both developed and developing countries have been divided over the political steps to be taken to address the climate issue.A large body of scholarship thus far has focused on explanations for the very limited political achievements on the issue of climate change, both at the international level and in a growing number of country case studies. Many studies, however, have entailed either game-theoretic or predominantly descriptive accounts of the overall problem situation with climate change as a ‘common good’ or ‘common-pool resource’ problem at the global scale. Empirical studies of climate policy processes, on the other hand, have concentrated heavily on rather narrowly defined case studies of specific negotiation or decision-making processes.This research project complements existing (mainly static) cross-sectional and (mainly case study-based) process-oriented studies of climate policymaking with a novel approach to study political dynamics in the politics of climate change. Specifically, the project combines models of the policy process (punctuated equilibrium theory, advocacy coalition framework, network approach) with event data analysis. Event data analysis provides empirical measurements on a set of political variables relevant for the politics of climate change on which little or no systematic data is available. Furthermore, analytical techniques developed in the field of social network analysis allow for a systematic testing of the effect of network structures resulting from political interactions as reported in political event data on the behavior of the different types of political actors on the issue of climate change.The research project will also allow for the further development of an already set up automated coding system for the relevant political events related to climate policymaking, and, thus, will allow for the coding of new data on climate policy processes almost in real time throughout the whole duration of the research project. Such an almost continuous monitoring system of political processes relevant for climate policymaking could be very valuable in particular for policy experts and policymakers who need to anticipate quickly current trends and dynamics in the politics of climate change to advice or plan political actions on the issue. Finally, the research project will allow installing a Swiss project team for the international Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (COMPON) project and, thus, connect and integrate Swiss research on the politics of climate change with a broad international research program and scholarly network.
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