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WS4: The Emergence, Impacts and implications of Climate Change Acts

Published: 8 October 2018

The Emergence, Impacts, and implications of Climate Change Acts: Emissions, Policies, and Public Opinion


Simon Matti (Luleå University of Technology):
Sarah Louise Nash (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)

As a response to the challenge of climate change, and the need for long-term adaptation and mitigation strategies, a range of governments across the world have introduced Climate Change Acts (CCAs), thereby creating a legal framework for governmental climate activities that regulates either, or both, emission target-levels and processes for the government to set and reach these targets in a long-term perspective. Although the responsibilities of governments are usually regulated through the constitution, it is significantly more rare – and thus more challenging – to specify how the government should act and which targets that should be reached for a specific policy area across governmental administrations. This workshop will bring together scholars researching the emergence of Climate Change Acts and the impacts of this policy innovation that has been introduced at both state and sub-state levels around the world during the past decades. Furthermore, the workshop welcomes scholars of political theory approaching the climate acts from a theoretical perspective, considering for example the implications on democracy or legitimacy.

The overall questions guiding the workshop is: how have CCAs emerged in different contexts, why, and has the policy innovation been conducive to forwarding climate mitigation?  Contributions may also consider both normative perspectives on climate acts, as well as why (or why not) climate mitigation has been enhanced, to what extent, and in which aspects. Papers are also welcomed that address the conditions that have allowed for CCAs to emerge, the politics of CCAs, and mechanisms or policies that CCAs have led to being introduced. Another potential area for papers to address is possible direct effects on reducing emission-levels, as well as possible indirect effects on policy-making and policy–implementation, and public attention to and opinion of climate mitigation. Furthermore, the workshop will also invite papers discussing the pitfalls and possibilities surrounding CCAs and their implementation.

We look forward to a constructive discussion of papers from a range of social science disciplines studying or theoretically discussing climate legislations; their design, emergence and impacts from a local, regional, national or global perspective. Comparative studies are particularly welcomed.