Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.

Chapter 6: Deliberative democracy

Hayley Stevenson

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


Questions of fairness and legitimacy are central to studies of climate governance. Failure to successfully confront the threat of climate change will widely but unevenly impact on people’s lives across the world. Similarly, policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change tend to generate winners and losers. Political theorists and entrepreneurs alike have sought to address these challenges within the parameters of deliberative theory and practice. Deliberation involves communication that is non-coercive, connects particular interests to more general principles, induces reflection among participants, and encourages speakers to express themselves in terms that others can understand. Deliberation is believed to offer a more promising process than bargaining or technocracy for effectively and fairly resolving problems of climate change. This chapter will discuss the theoretical assumptions and evidence that support this commitment to deliberation; survey the analytical tools that have been used to study existing climate governance; and highlight a range of deliberative experiments in climate governance that have been implemented at local, regional and transnational scales.

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