Key Concepts, Core Challenges and Governance Functions of International Climate Governance

COP21 RIPPLES project report published

  • News 24.10.2017

Combating climate change requires a fundamental simultaneous transformation of various sectoral systems that are key to the functioning of our economies and societies, such as energy, industry, transport, housing, and agriculture. A new report by the COP21 RIPPLES project examines sector-specific challenges to decarbonisation and what contribution international governance could make to overcoming these challenges.

Taking a sectoral perspective, the report by Sebastian Oberthür (Institute for European Studies at the Free University Brussels, IES-VUB), Lukas Hermwille (Wuppertal Institute), Gauri Khandekar (IES-VUB), Wolfgang Obergassel (Wuppertal Institute), Tim Rayner (University of East Anglia, UEA), Tomas Wyns (IES-VUB), Florian Mersmann (Wuppertal Institute), Damon Jones (Climate Analytics, CA), Bianca Kretschmer (CA), and Mahlet Melkie (CA) identifies the key governance challenges that exist internationally towards the deep transformations required, and specifies the resulting key governance functions to be fulfilled by means of international cooperation/international institutions.

To this end, the report first clarifies a number of key concepts, including international (climate) governance, international and transnational institutions, institutional complexes and poly-centricity. It then derives a number of functions that international institutions can fulfil from the relevant literature: providing guidance and signals, setting rules, providing transparency and accountability, providing capacity building, technology and finance, and facilitating knowledge and learning. This is the basis for an investigation into the key governance challenges and the potential of international governance in 14 key sectoral systems.

The sectoral approach enables a sectorally differentiated and detailed analysis of the varying demand for international institutions' performance of governance functions. The analysis reveals that the demand for the performance of most governance functions varies significantly among the sectoral systems in accordance with their specific conditions and circumstances. Different sectoral systems and different parts of sectoral systems create varying demands for international governance.

The COP21 RIPPLES report provides the basis for the next step of the analysis. This next step will examine a selection of sectors in depth to determine to which extent international governance already fulfils its potential to contribute to the decarbonisation of these sectors or needs to be improved.

The report is available for free download. Further information on the project can be found in the project description.

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