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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2018
Print publication year:
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Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC Creative Common License - ND
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Book description

Climate change governance is in a state of enormous flux. New and more dynamic forms of governing are appearing around the international climate regime centred on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They appear to be emerging spontaneously from the bottom up, producing a more dispersed pattern of governing, which Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom famously described as 'polycentric'. This book brings together contributions from some of the world's foremost experts to provide the first systematic test of the ability of polycentric thinking to explain and enhance societal attempts to govern climate change. It is ideal for researchers in public policy, international relations, environmental science, environmental management, politics, law and public administration. It will also be useful on advanced courses in climate policy and governance, and for practitioners seeking incisive summaries of developments in particular sub-areas and sectors. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


'Is polycentric governance an overrated hype or a promising new paradigm in our understanding of climate policy and law? The world-class scholarship in this book delivers an excellent critical assessment, markedly advances the state-of-the-art, and provides a systematic and inspiring basis for future research on multi-level climate governance and how to enhance efforts to combat climate change.'

Sebastian Oberthür - The Institute for European Studies, Brussels

'As we lose sight of alternatives, Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action? is a major contribution to the critical debate in the social and environmental sciences on polycentric governance of climate change. How we govern climate change, and with what effect on the environment and its peoples, depends largely on how polycentric governance plays out. Jordan, Huitema, van Asselt and Forster have assembled an impressive and illuminating collection of essays systematically testing the ideas and theoretical claims spearheaded by Nobel Prize laureate Elinor Ostrom and since promulgated widely by social scientists and environmentalists. With a rich combination of disciplinary and methodological approaches and powerful synthesis, Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action? breaks inspiring new ground in the vitally important project of governing climate change.'

Tiffany H. Morrison - Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

'Polycentricity has become one of the most influential concepts in current academic debates on global climate governance. And yet, this concept’s descriptive, explanatory and prescriptive value has remained unclear, underspecified, and contested for so long. Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action? now brings this important conceptual debate to a higher level. It offers twenty insightful contributions on polycentric climate governance by some of the most authoritative scholars in this field, all organized around a carefully crafted analytical framework. This superbly edited volume is an essential collection for both theorists and practitioners of modern global climate governance.'

Frank Biermann - Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands

'An excellent contribution in many respects - as synopsis and reference point, as conceptual advancement and critical appreciation, as inspiration for further research, for teaching and individual reading. For didactical benefits, it must also be highlighted, that the authors developed a publicly accessible MOOC (massive open online course) - creating another valuable knowledge commons next to the open access book itself. This lays valuable foundations for the rich content to spread into practice and to enhance collective action with a polycentric approach to global climate governance.'

Marcel J. Dorsch Source: translated from Politische Vierteljahresschrift

'This readable approach is appropriate considering that the book is the core text around which a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has been designed, accompanied by a package of teaching resources … This comprehensive open access volume is highly recommended reading for any scholar or student researching local governance or public policy. With time running low for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, it is imperative that the most effective climate policy approaches are selected urgently.'

Paul Tobin Source: Local Government Studies

'… is a must-read for anyone interested in either the field of governance or climate change … it provides a helpful way of system-thinking in a world with increasing uncertainty and complexity.'

Por Fronika de Wit Source: Portuguese Journal of Political Science

‘The volume has established an excellent foundation on which future studies of polycentric governance can build, and the cracks and gaps that appear should prove to be useful harvesting ground for authors …’

Fee Stehle Source: Global Environmental Politics

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Full book PDF

Page 1 of 2

  • Governing Climate Change
    pp i-ii
  • Governing Climate Change - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • Polycentricity in Action?
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Contents
    pp v-vii
  • Contributors
    pp viii-x
  • Preface
    pp xi-xiii
  • Abbreviations
    pp xiv-xvi
  • Part I - Context
    pp 1-26
  • Part II - Actors and Domains of Governance
    pp 27-96
  • 3 - National Governance
    pp 47-62
  • The State’s Role in Steering Polycentric Action
  • Part III - Polycentric Governance Processes
    pp 97-228
  • 7 - Entrepreneurship
    pp 117-134
  • A Key Driver of Polycentric Governance?
  • 9 - Diffusion
    pp 152-168
  • An Outcome of and an Opportunity for Polycentric Activity?
  • 11 - Orchestration
    pp 188-209
  • Strategic Ordering in Polycentric Governance
  • 12 - Policy Surveillance
    pp 210-228
  • Its Role in Monitoring, Reporting, Evaluating and Learning
  • Part IV - Substantive Governance Challenges
    pp 229-356
  • 13 - Harnessing the Market
    pp 231-247
  • Trading in Carbon Allowances
  • 14 - Decarbonisation
    pp 248-265
  • The Politics of Transformation
  • 18 - Equity and Justice in Polycentric Climate Governance
    pp 320-337

Page 1 of 2


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