CANCELLED - COURSE: Comparative climate policy and politics

Course content

Comparative politics has begun to engage with climate policy and politics in recent years, with a rapid expansion in the study of climate policies and politics in a comparative and cross-national perspective. It has aimed to answer a range of questions. Do national policies matter for a global policy problem like climate change? How can we compare, rank and measure national climate policies, policy effort, and ambition? How can we explain differences and variation in national climate policies? What is the role of institutions, ideas and interests in producing climate policies? What is the role of the public and their representatives in the political system? What role do international factors play in shaping national climate policies? This course focuses on these questions in the context of national politics in developed democracies, with a particular emphasis on European countries. The course aims to provide students with an appreciation of the main components of climate policies, factors that drive cross-national similarities and differences in climate policy, and the nature of climate politics. It is centred on regular reading and participation in class and it places a strong emphasis on recent research literature. It includes workshop-style exercises that provide students with opportunities to develop their knowledge of the sources of data and case-study information available to them, to apply their substantive and methodological knowledge to the topics covered, and to develop a basis for their term paper.





Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

Learning outcome

By the end of the term, students should be able to:

  1. understand different approaches to measuring national climate policy and the climate policy preferences of important policy actors;
  2. source information and data on key aspects of climate policy;
  3. cross-nationally compare climate policies and the factors that influence them;
  4. identify current research puzzles and unresolved problems in the literature;
  5. develop solutions to these puzzles and problems.

You are expected to have read the articles and chapters on this syllabus before coming to each class. Each class (with the exception of the first and last classes) will feature a brief summary and discussion of two articles by students, as well as a broader discussion of the literature.

Bache, I., Bartle, I., Flinders, M., and Marsden, G., 2014. Blame Games and Climate Change: Accountability, Multi-Level Governance and Carbon Management. The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, n/a-n/a.

Båtstrand, S., 2015. More than Markets: A Comparative Study of Nine Conservative Parties on Climate Change. Politics & Policy, 43 (4), 538–561.

Bernauer, T., 2013. Climate Change Politics. Annual Review of Political Science, 16 (1), 421–448.

Bernauer, T. and Böhmelt, T., 2013. National climate policies in international comparison: The Climate Change Cooperation Index. Environmental Science & Policy, 25, 196–206.

Brulle, R.J., Carmichael, J., and Jenkins, J.C., 2012. Shifting public opinion on climate change: an empirical assessment of factors influencing concern over climate change in the U.S., 2002–2010. Climatic Change, 114 (2), 169–188.

Burck, J., Marten, F., and Bals, C., 2015. The Climate Change Performance Index: Results 2016. Bonn/Berlin/Brussels: Germanwatch/CAN Europe.

Cao, X., Milner, H.V., Prakash, A., and Ward, H., 2014. Research Frontiers in Comparative and International Environmental Politics An Introduction. Comparative Political Studies, 47 (3), 291–308.

Carter, N., 2013. Greening the mainstream: party politics and the environment. Environmental Politics, 22 (1), 73–94.

Carter, N. and Jacobs, M., 2013. Explaining Radical Policy Change: The Case of Climate Change and Energy Policy Under the British Labour Government 2006–10. Public Administration, 92 (1), 125–141.

Casado-Asensio, J. and Steurer, R., 2016. Bookkeeping rather than climate policy making: national mitigation strategies in Western Europe. Climate Policy, 16 (1), 88–108.

Castree, N., 2016. Broaden research on the human dimensions of climate change. Nature Climate Change, 6 (8), 731–731.

Ćetković, S. and Buzogány, A., 2016. Varieties of capitalism and clean energy transitions in the European Union: When renewable energy hits different economic logics. Climate Policy, 0 (0), 1–16.

Christoff, P. and Eckersley, R., 2011. Comparing State Responses. In: J.S. Dryzek, R.B. Norgaard, and D. Schlosberg, eds. Oxford handbook of climate change and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Compston, H. and Bailey, I., 2016. Climate policy strength compared: China, the US, the EU, India, Russia, and Japan. Climate Policy, 16 (2), 145–164.

Compston, H.W. and Bailey, I., 2008. Political Strategy and Climate Policy. In: H.W. Compston and I. Bailey, eds. Turning Down the Heat: The Politics of Climate Policy in Affluent Democracies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 263–288.

Drews, S. and Bergh, J.C.J.M. van den, 2016. What explains public support for climate policies? A review of empirical and experimental studies. Climate Policy, 16 (7), 855–876.

Eckersley, R., 2016. National identities, international roles, and the legitimation of climate leadership: Germany and Norway compared. Environmental Politics, 25 (1), 180–201.

Fankhauser, S., Gennaioli, C., and Collins, M., 2015a. Do international factors influence the passage of climate change legislation? Climate Policy, 0 (0), 1–14.

Fankhauser, S., Gennaioli, C., and Collins, M., 2015b. The political economy of passing climate change legislation: Evidence from a survey. Global Environmental Change, 35, 52–61.

Frumhoff, P.C., Heede, R., and Oreskes, N., 2015. The climate responsibilities of industrial carbon producers. Climatic Change, 132 (2), 157–171.

Green, F., 2015. Nationally Self-Interested Climate Change Mitigation: A Unified Conceptual Framework | Grantham Research Institute on climate change and the environment.

Harrison, K., 2010. The Comparative Politics of Carbon Taxation. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 6 (1), 507–529.

Harrison, K. and Sundstrom, L.M., 2010. Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change. MIT Press.

Henstra, D., 2015. The tools of climate adaptation policy: analysing instruments and instrument selection. Climate Policy, 0 (0), 1–26.

IPCC, 2014. Climate Change 2014. Synthesis Report.

Jasny, L., Waggle, J., and Fisher, D.R., 2015. An empirical examination of echo chambers in US climate policy networks. Nature Climate Change, advance online publication.

Javeline, D., 2014. The Most Important Topic Political Scientists Are Not Studying: Adapting to Climate Change. Perspectives on Politics, FirstView, 1–15.

Jensen, C.B. and Spoon, J.-J., 2011. Testing the ‘Party Matters’ Thesis: Explaining Progress towards Kyoto Protocol Targets. Political Studies, 59 (1), 99–115.

Jones, N., 2014. Climate and the ballot box. Nature Climate Change, 4 (2), 75–75.

Knill, C., Heichel, S., and Arndt, D., 2012. Really a front-runner, really a Straggler? Of environmental leaders and laggards in the European Union and beyond — A quantitative policy perspective. Energy Policy, 48, 36–45.

Krugman, P., 2014. Interests, Ideology and Climate. The New York Times, 8 Jun.

Lachapelle, E. and Paterson, M., 2013. Drivers of national climate policy. Climate Policy, 13 (5), 547–571.

Little, C. and Torney, D., 2015. Environmental Challenges. In: K.E. Jørgensen, Å.K. Aarstad, K.V. Laatikainen, E. Drieskens, and B. Tonra, eds. The SAGE Handbook of European Foreign Policy. Sage, 1013–1028.

Lorenzoni, I. and Benson, D., 2014. Radical institutional change in environmental governance: Explaining the origins of the UK Climate Change Act 2008 through discursive and streams perspectives. Global Environmental Change, 29, 10–21.

Madden, N.J., 2014. Green means stop: veto players and their impact on climate-change policy outputs. Environmental Politics, 23 (4), 570–589.

McCright, A.M., Dunlap, R.E., and Marquart-Pyatt, S.T., 2015. Political ideology and views about climate change in the European Union. Environmental Politics, 0 (0), 1–21.

Mcewen, N. and Bomberg, E., 2014. Sub-state Climate Pioneers: The Case of Scotland. Regional & Federal Studies, 24 (1), 63–85.

Oberthür, S., 2016. Where to go from Paris? The European Union in climate geopolitics. Global Affairs, 0 (0), 1–12.

OECD, 2015. Climate Change Mitigation. OECD Publishing.

Otto, F.E.L., Frame, D.J., Otto, A., and Allen, M.R., 2015. Embracing uncertainty in climate change policy. Nature Climate Change, 5 (10), 917–920.

Power to the people? Populism, polarisation and public engagement, 2016. Climate Outreach.

Pralle, S.B., 2009. Agenda-setting and climate change. Environmental Politics, 18 (5), 781–799.

Rickards, L., Wiseman, J., and Kashima, Y., 2014. Barriers to effective climate change mitigation: the case of senior government and business decision makers. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, n/a-n/a.

Schwerhoff, G., 2016a. The economics of leadership in climate change mitigation. Climate Policy, 16 (2), 196–214.

Schwerhoff, G., 2016b. Response to the comment on: ‘The economics of leadership in climate change mitigation’. Climate Policy, 0 (0), 1–2.

Selin, H. and VanDeveer, S.D., 2015. Broader, Deeper and Greener: European Union Environmental Politics, Policies, and Outcomes. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 40 (1), 309–335.

Skovgaard, J., 2015. Greener than expected? EU finance ministries address climate finance. Environmental Politics, 0 (0), 1–19.

Sovacool, B.K., Linnér, B.-O., and Goodsite, M.E., 2015. The political economy of climate adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 5 (7), 616–618.

Steinberg, P.F. and VanDeveer, S.D., eds., 2012. Comparative environmental politics. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Steurer, R. and Clar, C., 2014. Is decentralisation always good for climate change mitigation? How federalism has complicated the greening of building policies in Austria. Policy Sciences, 48 (1), 85–107.

Stokes, L.C., 2015. Electoral Backlash against Climate Policy: A Natural Experiment on Retrospective Voting and Local Resistance to Public Policy. American Journal of Political Science, n/a-n/a.

Victor, D., 2015. Climate change: Embed the social sciences in climate policy. Nature, 520 (7545), 27–29.

Wright, C. and Nyberg, D., 2014. Creative self-destruction: corporate responses to climate change as political myths. Environmental Politics, 23 (2), 205–223.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28