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Political Strategies to Overcome Climate Policy Obstructionism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2022

Abstract

Great socioeconomic transitions bring about the demise of certain industries and the rise of others. The losers of the transition tend to deploy a variety of tactics to obstruct change. We develop a political-economy model of interest group competition and garner evidence of tactics deployed in the global climate movement. From this we deduce a set of strategies for how the climate movement competes against entrenched hydrocarbon interests. Five strategies for overcoming obstructionism emerge: (1) appeasement, which involves compensating the losers; (2) co-optation, which seeks to instigate change by working with incumbents; (3) institutionalism, which involves changes to public institutions to support decarbonization; (4) antagonism, which creates reputational or litigation costs to inaction; and (5) countervailance, which makes low-carbon alternatives more competitive. We argue that each strategy addresses the problem of obstructionism through a different lens, reflecting a diversity of actors and theories of change within the climate movement. The choice of which strategy to pursue depends on the institutional context.

Type
Reflection
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

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Footnotes

*

Data replication sets are available in Harvard Dataverse at: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/KLXHQ4

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Srivastav and Rafaty Dataset

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