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Gewählte Publikation:

Nash, SL; Steurer, R.
(2021): Climate Change Acts in Scotland, Austria, Denmark and Sweden: the role of discourse and deliberation
CLIM POLICY. 2021; 21(9): 1120-1131. FullText FullText_BOKU

Climate Change Acts (CCAs) have become a key legislative tool to mitigate climate change. While various case studies have shown that ambition varies greatly, little is known about why this is the case. This comparative study aims to fill this gap by examining the emergence of six CCAs across four legislatures: Scotland (2009 and 2019), Austria (2011), Denmark (2014 and 2020) and Sweden (2017). We focus on climate change discourse broadly and processes of deliberation within legislatures specifically, to explore how they influenced the ambition of the six CCAs from our analysis. We combine extensive document analysis with 43 semi-structured interviews conducted between June 2018 and May 2019. We show that heightened attention at the discursive level combined with a strong deliberative process within legislatures to underpin all of the more ambitious CCAs. Overall, governments are more likely to adopt strong CCAs when prominent discursive junctures politicize climate policy and when parliamentary deliberation is strong. The overarching climate discourse and parliamentary deliberation had an even greater influence in our case studies than the political orientation of governments. Centre-left governments adopted weak GHG emission reduction targets at times of low political salience for climate but were more ambitious when supportive politicization of climate was present. Key policy insights CCAs have very different levels of ambition. While some are merely symbolic, others set out ambitious climate policy frameworks. Climate policy discourse, in a broad sense, shapes the content of CCAs. Prominent discursive junctures can support ambitious legislation. The level of deliberation in parliaments is another factor that shapes CCAs. More deliberation often helps to raise ambitions, in particular when broader discursive conditions are in favour of climate issues. Supportive climate discourse and opportunities for deliberation had more influence on the ambition of CCAs (in particular on GHG emission reduction targets) than the political orientation of governments.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Nash Sarah Louise
Steurer Reinhard
BOKU Gendermonitor:

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Climate Change Acts

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