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 50: The future

Paul G. Harris

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


This chapter considers the future of climate politics, drawing on trends from recent decades that look likely to continue. Alas, it is unlikely that climate politics will be up to the task of significantly mitigating, least of all preventing, very painful impacts of climate change, or indeed enabling adequate adaptation to them. Greenhouse pollution will continue to grow for some decades and there will be enormous human suffering, including many deaths, as a consequence. But such a future is not absolutely certain. The chapter proposes a cosmopolitan alternative that centers climate politics on persons. Such an alternative reveals a potential pathway through which the world may be able to break through the multiple roadblocks that have so far prevented effective responses to climate change.

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