The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change
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The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change

Key Actors in International Climate Cooperation

  • New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Edited by Guri Bang, Arild Underdal and Steinar Andresen

Why are some countries more willing and able than others to engage in climate change mitigation? The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change compiles insights from experts in comparative politics and international relations to describe and explain climate policy trajectories of seven key actors: Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Using a common conceptual framework, the authors find that ambitious climate policy change is limited by stable material parameters and that governmental supply of mitigation policies meet (or even exceed) societal demand in most cases. Given the important roles that the seven actors play in addressing global climate change, the book’s in-depth comparative analysis will help readers assess the prospects for a new and more effective international climate agreement for 2020 and beyond.
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Chapter 9: Comparative analysis and conclusions

Guri Bang, Arild Underdal and Steinar Andresen

Abstract

In the final chapter, we return to the question of why some countries are more willing and able than others to engage in climate change mitigation. The authors compare findings across the seven key actors, based on the conceptual framework developed in the introductory chapter. The comparison shows that the framework proved useful in identifying and categorizing factors that have in fact influenced actors’ climate policy trajectories. Material parameters were important determinants of mitigation costs and coalition building, and in all seven cases the scope for a more ambitious climate policy is limited by stable material parameters such as energy resource endowments and accumulated infrastructure investments. Within that scope, governmental supply of mitigation policies in most cases is stronger than societal demand for policy change. In general, public demand for increasingly ambitious climate change mitigation policies is weak or at best moderate. Overall, public demand for economic growth and low energy prices trumps demand for climate change mitigation, particularly in developing countries. Given the important roles that the seven actors play in addressing global climate change, the analysis provides an assessment of a new and more effective international climate agreement for 2020 and beyond.

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