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Edited by Peter Dauvergne
Chapter 18: Climate Governance Experiments
Matthew J. Hoffmann In 20 years of trying, the multilateral treaty-making process has been fearfully inadequate for producing the rules and institutions necessary to meet the challenge of climate change. Yet, far from lacking a response to climate change as the UN process has floundered, the world is, rather, awash in different approaches.1 Global networks of cities are working to alter municipal economies, transportation systems, and energy use. Corporations are forming alliances with environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to devise large and small ways to deliver climate-friendly technology and move towards a low carbon economy. States, provinces, environmental organizations, and corporations are engaged in developing carbon markets that promise low-cost means of reducing emissions. These climate governance experiments are shaping how individuals, communities, cities, counties, provinces, regions, corporations, and nation states respond to climate change.2 So there is a paradox in the governance of climate change – stalemate on the multilateral level combined with multilevel dynamism beyond the interstate negotiations. I contend that we are witnessing the emergence of a new mode of governance – experimental governance – one that is decentralized while also being networked and showing signs of nascent coherence. The emergence and functioning of this new governance system will play a significant role in the overall global response to climate change and may portend the effective response needed to avert the impending climate crisis. In this brief chapter, I describe this experimental governance – what it looks like and how it is unfolding – and examine its potential impact on the global response...
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