Governing Climate Futures
Aarti Gupta, Ingrid Boas, Ina Möller and Mattijs Smits
The Environmental Policy Group researches the architectures and networks of climate governance, including changing relations between states and markets, and public, private, and hybrid sources of authority. It is concerned with assessing the equity and effectiveness of varied, continually multiplying, climate governance arrangements, and with scrutinizing the potentially novel challenges entailed in the need for anticipatory governance of pluralistic climate futures.
As described briefly below, our current focus is on six broad-ranging and timely topics:
1. Transformative potential of transparency in the Paris Agreement
2. Politics of anticipating diverse climate futures
3. Climate engineering and its governance
4. Role of REDD+ in climate mitigation and sustainable land use
5. Carbon trading and carbon markets in developing countries
6. Climate-related migration in a digital age
ENP climate research focuses on inter alia six thematic areas:
First, we investigate the central role of information and transparency in governing climate change. Is more transparency always better, and does disclosed information empower and help to further accountability, as is often assumed? ENP research deploys a critical perspective on how transparency becomes a new site of political and power conflicts in this realm, with implications for accountable and effective climate governance.
Second, we explore the politics of imagining and governing diverse climate futures as a core challenge for sustainability research and practice. Through what processes and mechanisms are climate futures currently being imagined, and with what implications for present-day climate policy and governance?
Third, we critically engage with growing debates around climate engineering. In particular, we examine whether governance of speculative and highly controversial solar geoengineering options should even be contemplated, and what kinds of anticipatory governance arrangements for these imagined technologies are currently being devised.
Fourth, we analyze the climate mitigation mechanism of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) within the multilateral climate regime, wherein developed countries compensate developing countries for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation or forest degradation. ENP is a co-founder of the REDD@WUR network at Wageningen, consisting of 80 researchers in about 30 countries working on various REDD+ questions.
Fifth, we examine the bottom-up development of market-based climate mitigation instruments, such as emission trading systems and (voluntary) carbon off-set mechanisms, with a current focus on (Southeast) Asia. Increasingly, these developments emerge from domestic political economic drivers rather than centralized efforts stemming from the multilateral climate regime. This raises questions about the effectiveness, legitimacy and accountability of such fragmented arrangements, the role of diverse actors therein, and the possibility of regionally networked carbon markets.
Sixth, we study the dynamics of ICT-enabled environmental and climate migration, with a focus on climate vulnerable regions of the Global South.
ENP climate-related research draws on a variety of theoretical perspectives, including international relations, political science, science and technology studies, and development studies. This includes theories of international negotiations and diplomacy, informational governance, transition theory, political ecology and risk society.