B2 - Dynamics of Climate Governance: Norms, Contestation, and Policies
The next few years of climate governance-in-the-making are critical: observing them closely allows us to identify and assess key drivers of long-term social trends towards or away from decarbonization, which form – individually and through their interaction at different governance scales – the backdrop of possible and plausible scenarios of future climate governance.
The Paris agreement departs from the Kyoto Protocol’s state-centered, top-down approach. It attempts to overcome the fragmentation of current climate governance through an architecture that relies on the global guiding norm of “keeping warming below 2°C”, and enables a universal and voluntary bottom-up process based on the cyclical submission and review of freely determined climate policy proposals by states – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – and other public and private entities.
The effectiveness of this process will crucially depend on the practice of the upcoming global review-resubmission cycles of the Paris agreement (2018-20 and 2023-25) and the local implementation of NDCs.
The project addresses both. It will focus on the following key drivers:
- The (in)capacity of the UNFCCC to align the expectations and preferences of heterogeneous actors
- The effects of regional norm conflicts and contestations on energy security and climate justice
- The social and political dynamics of policy-instruments that shape NDC formulation and implementation.
Assessing these drivers and their interplay across scales will enable us to identify plausible dynamics of climate governance which will be a necessary prerequisite for separating plausible from possible climate futures.
Research Program Details
The project applies a multi-disciplinary and multi-scalar approach to global climate governance-in-the-making. The research design contains a recursive and reflexive element that allows for cross-cutting theoretical innovation and data-generation alike. On the macro-scale, we focus on the structuring of UN governance through a combination of in-situ observation and in-vitro experimentation. The effects and effectiveness of that global process will be probed by two regional case studies which target climate justice on the mesoscale. For these, the Artic and the Mediterranean have been selected as resource-rich regions where climate change and climate policy may challenge existing governance structures or generate conflicts of interests between resource extraction and climate goals. To devise plausible scenarios of climate governance that take into account the underlying social dynamics, the analysis begins from global norm conflicts and then "zooms in" on local contestations by affected stakeholders. This research is substantiated by investigations of the social dynamics shaping the implementation of NDCs at the microscale, via research on the introduction and (re-) design of specific regulatory instruments (e.g. carbon pricing, feed-in tariffs, coal phase-out), their interactions and the role of interest groups in creating path dependences and policy change. The project applies recursive feedback-loops through analyzing how norm contestations and instrument dynamics contribute to altering actor expectations, government ambitions and negotiation strategies of global climate governance.
Global Review and Re-Submission Process
The final phase of the "facilitative dialog" and the re-submission of NDCs (COPs 25-27) will be observed using an ethnographic approach. This will guide the development of hypotheses regarding the interaction between governmental and heterogeneous non-governmental actors, the shaping of procedures and the evolution of norms. In a second step, theoretical modeling of negotiation dynamics and experimental validation will check the robustness of the hypotheses derived and project plausible future developments. Third, the feedback of regional, national, and local dynamics into the global process will be observed during the next review and re-submission cycle (COPs 30-32).
Contact: Prof. Dr. Stefan Aykut
Norm Contestations in Sensitive Regions
The research in this program focuses on global conflicts with regard to climate justice and explores the effect of local norm contestations on global climate governance in-the-making. We zoom in on multiple stakeholders operating on different scales of climate governance (i.e. state representatives, corporations, social movements, international and regional organizations such as the Arctic Council and the Union for the Mediterranean). In particularly sensitive regions where energy security and climate protection affect plural stakeholders, contestations are expected to reveal novel pathways towards shared climate governance norms based on local-global co-constitution.
Contact: Prof. Antje Wiener, Ph.D.
Interest group influences on legislative processes of key climate policies in the EU (e.g. emissions trading) and Germany (e.g. the "energy transition") and their implementation at the local level will be theoretically modeled and empirically assessed. Together with stakeholder interviews, economic modeling of impacts and interactions with existing policies, and legal analysis of codification procedures, this will feed into the NDC review process and provide qualitatively and quantitatively plausible future policy scenarios and abatement targets.
Contact: Prof. Dr. Grischa Perino
The above research programs are integrated by an encompassing conceptual framework for the evolution of and feedback between the key drivers identified. Based on this framework, it qualitatively and quantitatively identifies plausible future scenarios of climate governance and anthropogenic forcing that pay particular attention to the underlying social dynamics.
Contact: Dr. Johannes Jarke-Neuert