BOKU - Universität für Bodenkultur Wien - Forschungsinformationssystem

Gewählte Publikation:

Steurer, R; Clar, C.
(2015): Is decentralisation always good for climate change mitigation? How federalism has complicated the greening of building policies in Austria
POLICY SCI. 2015; 48(1): 85-107. FullText FullText_BOKU

This paper addresses two related puzzles. The first puzzle is that parts of the environmental federalism literature suggest that federal states are ill-equipped to solve nation-wide or global environmental problems such as climate change, but climate policy scholars usually emphasise the opposite. The second puzzle is that Austria (a federal EU Member State) is regularly praised as an environmental policy leader but has missed its Kyoto target by about 19 %. The paper addresses both puzzles by analysing to what degree federalism is responsible for Austriaxxxs poor mitigation performance. Since the nine Austrian provinces are mainly responsible for regulating the building sector that accounts for about 25 % of total energy consumption and 13 % of the greenhouse gas emissions, the analysis focuses on the integration of climate change mitigation in building policies. The empirical core of the paper analyses all major EU, federal and provincial policies that aimed to green the building sector since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. After showing that these policy outputs cannot explain considerable sectoral emission reductions, we conclude that Austrian federalism did not facilitate but hinder climate change mitigation because it added a vertical dimension to an already complex horizontal integration challenge. However, since federalism can by far not explain Austriaxxxs failure to reach its Kyoto target domestically, we also conclude that it is only one of many independent variables that shape climate change mitigation. Finally, we argue that Austria is neither an environmental policy leader nor a laggard, but an opportunist.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Clar Christoph
Steurer Reinhard

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Climate change mitigation
National climate policies
Climate policy integration
Building policies
Environmental federalism

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