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26 November, 2020 05:26:28 PM
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The multi-scale and multi-actor nature of climate governance

For a long time, businesses mobilized themselves to stall any action on climate change. They established coalitions such as Global Climate Coalition (GCC) and Climate Council to halt any action that opposes their interest
Muhammad Estiak Hussain
The multi-scale and multi-actor nature of climate governance

In the twenty-first century, climate change has become more alarming than ever before because of the human nature of fouling their own nest without even realizing the consequences. The concept of climate governance became popularized in late twentieth century through a range of international conferences on addressing the climate change. Multiple actors both state and non-state in the climate governance were involved. But the roles played by the non-state actors often overshadowed by the role of state actors in the climate governance.
Role of transnational network
The Climate Alliance and ICLEIS’s Cites for Climate Protection (CCP) are early transnational networks of municipal governments. But after the Kyoto Protocol, the numbers are increased. The origin of this type of network is response to the failure of traditional networks. In context of globalization and neo-liberalism, the role of non-state actors is encouraged, as 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development encourage Type II partnership.
These transnational networks perform range of functions such. They are: information sharing, implementation and capacity-building and rule setting. Information-sharing can perform crucial governance functions by framing issues, setting agendas, defining what counts as responsible or effective action, offering inspiration. In capacity building, transnational networks seek to develop the capacity of their constituents to act on climate change by providing access to expertise, funding, or technologies. In regulation function, they set particular standard, certificate schemes and measuring performance.
According to Bulkeley and Newell, there are three types of transnational network. Firstly, public transnational governance where sub-units of central government, regional or state authorities, and city or local governments are involved such as Climate Alliance, ICLEI CCP, C40 Climate Leadership Group. Secondly, there is hybrid transnational governance where both public and private actors are involved such as REEEP, CDM and TCG. And the last one is private transnational governance where only private bodies are involved such as World Resource Institute, The Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance.
In term of accountability, these networks are making their action accountable through audit, information disclosure, peer review and others. The issue of equity is rarely visited in transnational governance of climate change.
Role of local community
In early 1990s, governments sought to mobilize community participation in the climate change issue. It was thought that behavioural change would occur if communities were provided with information about the nature of environmental risks. But it was failed and importance of community knowledge has been recognized such as Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBPD) in Philippines.
We can see two contemporary examples of community based responses in governing climate change. The first one is small scale forestry project. Since 1970s, the importance of community is realized in such projects because of their local knowledge and expertise. The case of community forestry management of Mexico is one best example of how community involvement positively impacts a project. And lastly, the renewable energy schemes in United Kingdom where massive involvement of community not only lessens the burden of government in tackling climate change but also benefit the involved community socially and economically itself.
There is also “transition towns” in which communities have also acted as a site for independent response to climate change. It was established to address the future scarcity of oil and reduce carbon emission. More than 100 communities joined this network in 2008.
In community based project, there is higher degree of success. But such schemes remain in small scale and often neglected in state led community governance. Initiatives which have emerged at grass-roots level potentially have accountability built in. In term of equity, community based approach is not free from politics of interest.
Role of private sector
Private sector business groups have been cast as the problem and source of solution to climate change. For a long time, businesses mobilized themselves to stall any action on climate change. They established coalitions such as Global Climate Coalition (GCC) and Climate Council to halt any action that opposes their interest.
Private sector becomes involved in governance in several forms. One is internal process of self-regulation where they take voluntary actions to reduce emissions. For example, BP and Shell establish their own emission trading schemes. Another form is creation of new sites of climate governance such as constructing carbon market through which they can fund emission reduction. Chicago Climate Exchange is one example of this. And the last form is creating regulation to tackle carbon emission through codes of conduct, standard setting and form of certification.
The issue of private governance has some challenges like effectiveness, accountability, process of participation attached to it. The voluntary nature and lack of any obligation question its effectiveness. But some evidence of success is there.
Climate governance is a multi-scale and multi-actor phenomenon. Both state and non-state actors are involved here. But the role and importance of non-state actors are often ignored and overshadowed. In order to face the future challenge of climate change, we need equal participation from both types of actors.


The writer is a student, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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