Study title
The Politics of Climate Change: Options for Action in a Changing International Environment
Ref study 12821
Study language English
Contributing institutions
  • Climate change
  • Social network analysis
  • Policy process
  • Political networks
  • Event data
  • Political discourse
Geographical space
The research project addresses the following research questions: - How have the politics of climate change at the international political level and in selected key countries evolved since 2001? - What dynamic patterns and structural configurations can be found in related political event data? - What political dynamics and configurations have contributed (and in what way) to the progress or regress of the establishment of effective climate protection measures at the international level and in selected key countries? The conditions under which political actors (both state and non-state actors, including governmental bodies, NGOs, corporate business and civil society organizations) are willing to cooperate on and comply with climate protection measures has recently attracted much interest from policymakers and scholars. As the current commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce climate relevant greenhouse gases run out in 2012, pressure has increased to find new approaches to mitigate global climate change. But far-reaching emission cuts that would be necessary to stabilize the global climate are costly, and both developed and developing countries have been divided over the political steps to be taken to address the climate issue. A large body of scholarship thus far has focused on explanations for the very limited political achievements on the issue of climate change, both at the international level and in a growing number of country case studies. Many studies, however, have entailed either game-theoretic or predominantly descriptive accounts of the overall problem situation with climate change as a ‘common good’ or ‘common-pool resource’ problem at the global scale. Empirical studies of climate policy processes, on the other hand, have concentrated heavily on rather narrowly defined case studies of specific negotiation or decision-making processes. This research project complements existing (mainly static) cross-sectional and (mainly case study-based) process-oriented studies of climate policymaking with a novel approach to study political dynamics in the politics of climate change. Specifically, the project combines models of the policy process (punctuated equilibrium theory, advocacy coalition framework, network approach) with event data analysis. Event data analysis provides empirical measurements on a set of political variables relevant for the politics of climate change on which little or no systematic data is available. Furthermore, analytical techniques developed in the field of social network analysis allow for a systematic testing of the effect of network structures resulting from political interactions as reported in political event data on the behavior of the different types of political actors on the issue of climate change. The research project will also allow for the further development of an already set up automated coding system for the relevant political events related to climate policymaking, and, thus, will allow for the coding of new data on climate policy processes almost in real time throughout the whole duration of the research project. Such an almost continuous monitoring system of political processes relevant for climate policymaking could be very valuable in particular for policy experts and policymakers who need to anticipate quickly current trends and dynamics in the politics of climate change to advice or plan political actions on the issue. Finally, the research project will allow installing a Swiss project team for the international Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks (COMPON) project and, thus, connect and integrate Swiss research on the politics of climate change with a broad international research program and scholarly network.
Methods (description)
Methods (instruments)
Replicated study No
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) SNSF
Date created 10.03.2017
Date modified 10.03.2017
Start - End date 01.02.2014 - 31.01.2017