Leaders and Laggards: Climate Policy Ambition in Developed States

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In 1992, the United Nations identified twenty-four ‘Annex II’ states as being ‘developed’ and holding the greatest responsibility for reducing emissions. Since then, the ambitions of these states towards mitigating climate change have varied significantly. This article is the first to employ fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to analyze climate policy variation amongst the Annex II developed states. The presence of a left-wing government is found to be sufficient for ambitious climate policy, as is having high GDP per capita in conjunction with close links to the EU and few political constraints. The analysis highlights Austria’s surprisingly unambitious climate policy, which is explained, following elite interviews, by the state’s unique Social Partnership governance model and unusual fuel tourism industry. fsQCA is found to be a useful method for examining variables in combination and for case study selection, but limited by the number of variables it can assess.

Keywords: comparative politics, QCA, climate policy, Austria.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Environmental Politics
Early online date4 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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