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From Integration to Fragmentation? Output and Process Dimensions of Climate Policies

Schmidt, Nicole

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This dissertation seeks to advance the academic debate on policy integration and coordination. Using the example of climate policy, I aim to provide a robust understanding of this nascent policy field, investigating both output and process dimensions. The main argument put forward is that increasingly comprehensive climate policy portfolios require greater examination of the opposite direction traditionally examined as climate policy integration: that is to say, while the integration of climate concerns into other policy domains is important, so is the integration of concerns such as agriculture into climate policies. The climate domain’s multidimensional character is often assumed, though it has not yet been systematically traced. The greater display of concerns also requires increased coordination of relevant stakeholders’ involvement to ensure achieving cross-cutting objectives. However, the growing number of calls for greater policy integration and coordination do little to capture its concomitant dilemmas and trade-offs, especially those which appear at the local level. This thesis explores the composition and development of more than 1,000 national climate policies between 1990 and 2017. It also examines determinants and drivers of climate policies in more than 170 countries, thereby providing a truly global perspective. The cross-country quantitative analyses are further substantiated using qualitative evidence from 59 semi-structured interviews with various experts, including scientists, ministerial bureaucrats and politicians to gain a more nuanced understanding of climate policy-making processes. By means of two case studies, which are situated in Israel and Germany, meaning that both non-Annex I (developing) and Annex I/II (developed) countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are represented, this paper highlights the various challenges that bureaucrats in administrations and politicians face when developing climate policies and dealing with the paramount issue of integrating climate concerns. The findings show that the density of policy outcomes increases over time and that energy-related aspects dominate national climate policies. Nevertheless, the portfolio of climate policies is becoming more inclusive as concerns related to adaptation, transportation and agriculture are addressed. The more comprehensive coverage in climate policies is most pronounced for European Union membership, economies with a high Gross Domestic Product per capita, and to a lesser extent for countries that are environmentally vulnerable. Looking at the national adaptation plan in Israel and the integration of climate concerns at the local level in the Rhein-Neckar region in Germany, the challenges during the policy-making processes are manifold. They range from insufficient knowledge to the preference of decision-makers to deal with competing issues instead, such as security or economic concerns. For adaptation policy-making, the perception that Israel has already adapted, or will easily adapt, has negatively affected the policy-making process. Moreover, the incorporation of climate objectives is particularly challenging in the metropolitan region of Rhein-Neckar, since its growing population and economy have reduced the amount of available space. Coordination is fragmented horizontally and vertically in both cases, showing the difficulty of integrative approaches for cross-cutting problems. This is an insightful finding, since it suggests that having more integrated policies might be symbolic, or that the policies themselves merely indicate political intentions, rather than being substantive policies anchored across relevant institutions. Ministerial bureaucrats as well as politicians are aware of the urgency, importance and difficulty of dealing with the long-term policy problem that climate change represents. However, their motivation is often geared more towards short-term approaches, complying with certain policy requirements or mollifying the impacts of climate change, which are already being felt, rather than making the integration of climate aims a priority. Taken together, these findings advance the current state of research in three ways. First, the global perspective and identification of broad empirical patterns highlight the multidimensional character of climate policies. The display of agriculture, for instance, shows that existing databases fail to capture adequately all the concerns that national climate policies address. Crucially, it also highlights the importance of networked and multi-sector approaches. Second, the examination of two previously uninvestigated case studies improves our understanding of the challenges in climate policy-making processes. In particular, the case study also provide qualitative insights into decision makers’ preferences. Lastly, these findings demonstrate the importance of studying policy integration from a multidisciplinary perspective, for doing so broadens our understanding of the challenges inherent in integrative governance approaches.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Tosun, Prof. Dr. Jale
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date of thesis defense: 1 October 2019
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2019 06:44
Date: 2019
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies > Institute of Political Science
Subjects: 320 Political science
Controlled Keywords: Klimawandel, Klimapolitik, Politikintegration
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