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From Global to Polycentric Climate Governance

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  • Daniel H. Cole

Abstract

Global governance institutions for climate change, such as those established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, have so far failed to make a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Following the lead of Elinor Ostrom, this paper offers an alternative theoretical framework for reconstructing global climate policy in accordance with the polycentric approach to governance pioneered in the early 1960s by Vincent Ostrom, Charles Tiebout, and Robert Warren. Instead of a thoroughly top-down global regime, in which lower levels of government simply carry out the mandates of international negotiators, a polycentric approach provides for greater experimentation, learning, and cross-influence among different levels and units of government, which are both independent and interdependent. After exploring several of the design flaws of the existing set of global institutions and organizations for greenhouse gas mitigation, the paper explores how those global institutions and organizations might be improved by learning from various innovative policies instituted by local, state, and regional governments. The paper argues that any successful governance system for stabilizing the global climate must function as part of a larger, polycentric set of nested institutions and organizations at various governmental levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel H. Cole, 2011. "From Global to Polycentric Climate Governance," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 30, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0290
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:climat:v:144:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-015-1517-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wang, Qiang & Chen, Xi, 2013. "Rethinking and reshaping the climate policy: Literature review and proposed guidelines," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 469-477.
    3. Achim Hagen & Leonhard Kaehler & Klaus Eisenack, 2016. "Transnational Environmental Agreements with Heterogeneous Actors," Working Papers V-387-16, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2016.
    4. Fox, Sarah Jane, 2016. "SPACE: The race for mineral rights ‘The sky is no longer the limit’ Lessons from earth!," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 165-178.
    5. Brendan Guy, 2014. "Re-conceptualising Commitments to Sustainable Development in the 21st Century – Nurturing Action and Accountability in the Networked World," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 45(2), pages 223-244.
    6. Christian Iaione, 2016. "The CO-City: Sharing, Collaborating, Cooperating, and Commoning in the City," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 75(2), pages 415-455, March.
    7. repec:spr:climat:v:144:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-015-1511-2 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    federalism;

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