Climate Governance Experiments

Climate Governance Experiments–Project Description

The global response to climate change has reached a critical juncture. Since the 1992 signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the nations of the world have attempted to address climate change through large-scale multilateral treaty-making. These efforts have been heroic, but disappointing. As evidence for the quickening pace of climate change mounts the treaty-making process has sputtered, and many are now skeptical about the prospect of an effective global response. Yet global treaty-making is not the only way that climate change can be addressed or, indeed, is being addressed. In the last decade myriad initiatives have emerged across the globe independently from, or only loosely connected to, the “official” UN-sponsored negotiations and treaties. In the face of stalemate in the formal negotiations, the world is experimenting with alternate means of responding to climate change. Climate Governance at the Crossroads chronicles these innovations–how cities, provinces and states, citizen groups, and corporations around the globe are addressing the causes and symptoms of global warming. The center of gravity in the global response to climate change is shifting from the multilateral treaty-making process to the diverse activities found beyond the negotiating halls. These innovations are pushing the envelope of climate action and demonstrating what is possible and they provide hope that the world will respond effectively to the climate crisis.

April 2013: Next steps for Experiments Project: Pathways to Decarbonization

Along with colleagues in Toronto, Ottawa, the US, UK, and Sweden, I was awarded a five year Social Science and Humanities Research Council grant for the project “Transformative Policy Pathways Towards Decarbonization”

March 2012: Climate Governance at the Crossroads was the runner up for the Sprout Award–best book in Environmental Studies from the International Studies Association.

February 2011: My book is the first major publication from this project:

Matthew J. Hoffmann. 2011. Climate Governance at the Crossroads: Experimenting with a Global Response after Kyoto Oxford University Press.

See the Oxford University Press Website for details.

Update January 2010: The first working paper from the project was recently presented at the Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change.  A PDF of this paper can be downloaded here.

Identifying Climate Governance Experiments:

A climate experiment is a governance initiative that meets these three criteria:

1. Experiments are independent from the Kyoto process or national regulatory measures. Initiatives that are designed to aid states in meeting Kyoto goals or national regulations are not experiments.

2. Experiments are engaged in making rules that shape how communities respond to climate change. Initiatives and actors that are primarily engaged in lobbying, for instance, are not experiments.

3. Experiments must cross jurisdictional boundaries. Many cities have climate policies, but individually these do not count as global governance experiments (relaxing this criteria would increase the number of experiments one thousand fold). Programs like the Cities for Climate Protection which link and network cities are experiments.

See the table below for the experiments currently in my database and feel free to make suggestions for possible additions!



Name Initiated Projects/Activities Academic Studies(under construction)
American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) 2007 June 2008–Over 500 University Presidents have joined the initiative None
Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP) 2005 May 2008–5th Ministerial Meeting in Seattle Washington Kellow 2006
Business Council on Climate Change (BC3) 2007 Initiative of UN Global Compact, City of San Francisco and Local Companies None
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group 2005 Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program (Four Multinational Corporations, Five Global Banks, and Fifteen Cities) None
California Climate Action Registry (CCAR) 2001 Carbon Emissions Registry None
Carbon Disclosure Project 2000 The largest repository of corporate greenhouse gas emissions data in the world. Over 3000 participating companies in 2008 None
Carbon Rationing Action Groups 2005 CRAGs operating in UK, US, and Canada Hoffmann 2008
CarbonFix 2007 Offsetting Standard Setter None
Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) 2003 Private Emissions Trading None
Climate Alliance of European Cities with Indigeouns Rainforest Peoples 1990 European Municipalities Initiative None
Climate Neutral Network 2008 Information and networking initiative None
Climate Savers 1999 Joint venture between WWF and various multinationals None
Climate Wise 2007 Insurance industry initiative None
Clinton Climate Initiative 2006 Support for C40 program and technological development initiative None
Community Carbon Reduction Project (CRed) 2003 What originally started out as a community initiaitive to reduce GHG emissions has since evolved to act as a network-based catalysts for community-led carbon reduction projects None
Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan (CNEG/ECP) 2001 Networking amongst US states and Canadian Provinces None
Connected Urban Development Programme 2006 Partnership between Cisco and US cities None
Cool Counties Climate Stabilization Initiative 2007 Joint initiative of Sierra Club and US counties None
Covenant of Mayors (Europe) 2008 European municipalities initiative sponsored by European Commission None
E+Co 1998 Investment Fund None
e8 Network of Expertise for the Global Environment 1992 Network of largest electricity companies in the G-8 None
Edenbee 2008 Social Network Designed to reduce individual carbon footprints None
Environmental Resources Trust GHG Registry Program 1997 Registry and private market for VERs None
European Federation of Regional Energy and Environment Agencies (FEDARENE) 1990 Regional Network None
Evangelical Climate Initiative 2006 Network of religious leaders None
Global GHG Register (GHGR) 2004 Corporate emissions registry None
ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign 1993 Municipal network Betsill and Bulkeley 2004
International Leadership Alliance for Climate Stabilization (ILA) 2006 Public-Private Partnership in South None
Investor Network on Climate Risk 2003 Network of institutional investors None
Major Economies Meetings on Energy Security and Climate Change (a.k.a. Major Emitters Conference) 2007 Multilateral initiative of G-20 None
MOU b/w The State of Victoria and The State of California for Collaboration on Climate Change Action 2007 US and Australian states bilateral agreement None
Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord 2007 Emissions trading initiative None
National Association of Counties (NACo) County Climate Protection Progra 2007 Information and networking tool for US counties None
Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD) 2002 Regional network None
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) 2005 Emissions Trading initiative None
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) 2004 NGO networking initiative None
SlimCity Initiative 2008 City-Private sector initiative None
Southwest Climate Change Initiative 2006 Arizona-New Mexico networking agreement None
The Climate Group 2004 Corporate standard-setting initiative None
The Climate Registry 2007 North American emissions registry project None
Transition Towns 2005 Municipal initiative None
U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement 2005 Municipal initiative None
West Coast Governors’ Global Warming Initiative 2004 Network between California, Oregon, and Washington None
Western Climate Initiative 2007 Emissions Trading initiative None
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) 1990 Corporate networking initiative None


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