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After the perceived failure of global approaches to tackling climate change, enthusiasm for local climate initiatives has blossomed world-wide, suggesting a more experimental approach to climate governance. Innovating Climate Governance: Moving Beyond Experiments looks critically at climate governance experimentation, focusing on how experimental outcomes become embedded in practices, rules and norms. Policy which encourages local action on climate change, rather than global burden-sharing, suggests a radically different approach to tackling climate issues. This book reflects on what climate governance experiments achieve, as well as what happens after and beyond these experiments. A bottom-up, polycentric approach is analyzed, exploring the outcomes of climate experiments and how they can have broader, transformative effects in society. Contributions offer a wide range of approaches and cover more than fifty empirical cases internationally, making this an ideal resource for academics and practitioners involved in studying, developing and evaluating climate governance.
Climate change poses new, intricate challenges for public authorities. They have to develop and adjust policies in order to adapt to these changing conditions. To do so, novel ideas and innovative approaches are developed and tested in pilot projects. Such projects are often acknowledged as a relatively easy manner to explore new pathways to deal with climate change consequences. They are usually organized at the boundaries or even outside the dominant policy regime.
We explore, with help of a comparative case study of six climate adaptation pilots in the Netherlands the existence of a ‘pilot paradox’. This paradox states that the conditions that are necessary to give a pilot room to experiment and to learn also seem to constitute the main barriers to the translation of its results into changes in policy. Pilot results are often misaligned with prevailing policy paradigms and, because of the distance between the pilot and the mother organizations, the latter are ill-prepared to receive pilot results.
We can conclude that designing impactful experiments is only possible when actors recognize the pilot paradox. Within the pilot design, attention must be paid to issues of external representativeness and boundary spanning between the niche and the regime.
This chapter suggests that local climate and energy-related experiments evolve and gain traction through intrinsically spatial processes. It is argued that the concrete places (e.g. cities, regions) where alternative concepts and practices form, develop and travel to may largely influence their journeys towards becoming more than experiments. These issues are explored with the support of a framework based on notions of anchoring and mobility, developed in the field of economic geography and recently elaborated in transition studies. This framework is illustrated with the journeys of Community Choice Aggregation across the United States, a local community energy concept in which local governments may aggregate demand and procure green electric power on behalf of its constituents.
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