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 27: Citizen-consumers

Mikael Klintman and Magnus Boström

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


This chapter gives an overview of the roles ordinary people, here called citizen-consumers, could play in relation to climate governance. Four roles are identified: (1) empowered citizen-consumers motivated by information about climate threats associated with their daily practices, (2) citizen-consumers acting within given structures set up to facilitate reductions of climate-gas emissions, (3) empowered citizen-consumers acting primarily on other motivations than climate concern and (4) citizen-consumers acting within given structures not set up primarily to facilitate climate-gas reductions, although such reductions may still take place. The four roles do not constitute a ranking list from insufficient to sufficient roles. None of these roles are perfect or ideal in climate governance, but will need to be combined. To be sure, this chapter argues that changing social policies and structure is likely to be more climate efficient than is changing individual attitudes. A more important point is that climate governance could be more powerful by looking beyond people’s climate intention and beyond structural changes specifically designed to reduce climate harm. By examining how people’s climate motivation may meet other motivations, scholars and practitioners of climate governance have a vast field of unexplored territory to examine and develop into novel types of governance.

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