Polycentric climate governance: are the high hopes well founded?

Following the 2009 Copenhagen conference, it has become obvious that the UNFCCC alone cannot be expected to protect the world from the threat of dangerous climate change. Other actors and levels of governance must also be involved.

New research discussed in the journal Nature Climate Change confirms that innovative forms of governing are indeed appearing beneath and around the UNFCCC.

Whilst welcoming evidence of new sources of leadership in climate governance, Andy Jordan and his co-authors argue that the policy debate should be rooted in a solid understanding of what is actually happening on the ground. Sadly, all too often in political life misplaced over-enthusiasm creeps into discussions of innovative activities.

They also argue that we are also surprisingly ignorant about what the new forms of governance contribute by way of emission reductions. Efforts to catalogue and evaluate who is doing what – seldom an immediate political priority – should be greatly enhanced, building on existing data-collecting activities both within and outside the UNFCCC.

Given these knowledge gaps, it is too early to say whether bottom up action will save the day. Therefore, the authors argue that the world should continue to strive for an ambitious international agreement whilst governance experiments continue to provide insights into the opportunities and risks presented by increasing bottom-up climate governance.

Link to article on Nature Climate Change website (paywall)

For more details, see: http://www.rtcc.org/2015/08/10/can-grassroots-climate-action-save-the-pl...

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