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Explaining Climate Policy Variation in Developed States

Tobin, Paul (2014) Explaining Climate Policy Variation in Developed States. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Abstract The climate policies of developed states vary from small greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets to the formulation of highly ambitious, legally-binding objectives. As such, the research question of this thesis is ‘What explains variation amongst developed states’ climate policies?’ This thesis seeks to explain variation in climate policy ambition in the twenty-three developed states of the UNFCCC Annex II between 2006 and 2010. This investigation employs a nested design approach. It commences with a critical evaluation of the existing literature on environmental and climate policy to identify potential independent variables. Fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis then tests four hypotheses, in order to find the patterns that influence climate policy in the twenty-three states and select case studies. Austria, Finland, Germany and Sweden are selected as case studies, as their climate policies are not explained by the medium-n analysis. The four states also share very similar scores for each of the conditions being tested, but differ regarding the outcome. From here, semi-structured elite interviews with forty policy-makers and analyses of primary sources are employed as part of a small-n analysis on the four case studies. The concept of ‘path dependence’ is employed to facilitate an understanding of the long-term processes involved in climate policy development. Three main arguments are made in this thesis. Firstly, the combination of left-wing government and membership of the European Union is sufficient to result in ambitious climate policy, while non-membership of the European Union is sufficient to result in ‘not ambitious’ climate policy. Secondly, states which developed renewable electricity policies according to the principles of Ecological Modernisation formulated pioneering climate policy. Thirdly, states that produced nuclear power, but also sought to phase out the energy source, formulated more ambitious climate policy than states that did not produce any nuclear power, or sought to expand the energy source. This thesis furthers the understanding of climate policy variation, adds to the burgeoning field of set theoretic methods, and provides more nuanced explanations of how Ecological Modernisation and nuclear energy can influence climate change policy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Climate, policy, environment, Austria, Finland, Germany, Sweden, UNFCCC
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.635417
Depositing User: Mr Paul Tobin
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2015 15:18
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7953

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