Volume 43, No. 4 | Freewheeling climate? Global warming and climate policy

Henrik Jepsen | From conflict to compromise: Does issue linkage facilitate international climate agreements?

Issue linkage occurs when issues are negotiated simultaneously for joint settlement. On the one hand, it allows parties to reach large agreements through mutual exchange of concessions across issues. On the other hand, it entails a risk that an impasse on a single issue will block progress on other issues. My analysis shows that in the recent climate change negotiations, issue linkage has facilitated agreement on technology, deforestation, adaptation and financing, but only to a small extent, agreement on greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Birgitte Egelund Olsen | Trade and climate: agreement or conflict?

Based on a legal analysis of the relationship between the WTO and the climate regime, this article identifies some of the legal conflicts that may potentially arise between WTO law and climate law. Focus is on the possibilities of the WTO system of integrating climate as a legitimate concern – for example when a member adopts trade-related environmental measures to comply with the UN Climate Convention and its related agreements. Two models are presented – the precedent model and the law model – which can separately and in interaction contribute to a scenario where the international trade regulation supplements and supports the global climate regime.

Karin Hilmer Pedersen & Gert Tinggaard Svendsen | Farmers as climate heroes. Can and will the agricultural sector contribute to emission reductions?

Can and will the agricultural sector reduce its emission of greenhouse gasses? Science indicates that there is a huge and unexploited potential for relatively cheap reductions of greenhouse gas emission in the agricultural sector, partly because of the sector’s mix of different greenhouse gasses. While emissions of greenhouse gasses other than carbon dioxide are difficult to measure with certainty, the latest research shows that an indirect measurement in production processes could suffice to include the sector in existing regulations aimed at emission reduction. The question is how. Contrasting the use of standards, green taxes and tradable emission quotas, we suggest that the agricultural sector itself may have an interest in participating in the European Emission Trade System (EU ETS) based on a baseline free distribution of quotas (grandfathering). Including the agricultural sector in the system requires an adequate monitoring and sanction system, however.

Urs Steiner Brandt | Climate experts and laymen: How does the risk perception gap influence climate policy?

Climate experts agree that climate change is a serious threat to our environment. The general public, however, does not share this concern. The question is why this is so. The causes behind the perception gap between climate experts and laymen are important because it may have consequences for the actual climate policy. A combination of economic decision theory and behavioral psychology suggests why laymen have a different risk perception than experts. Because politicians care about the votes from a non-expert electorate, insufficient action in climate policies may be the consequence. A conscious change in public communication about the climate change risks may be a way to harmonize climate experts’ and laymen’s risk perception and thereby contribute to effective climate policies.

Theresa Scavenius | Scientific value relativism and political values

Two arguments for scientific value relativism can be distinguished. One identifies a norm for political science to disintegrate political values from political empirical research. One recognizes the importance of political values within political science. The discussion of the two arguments hinges on the claim (1) that within the political sciences normative judgements cannot be analytically separated from empirical judgements, and (2) that the political scientific empirical analyses are logically dependent on normative analyses. If (1) and (2) are plausible, the claim can be justified that the political scientist – besides endorsing a value neutral approach to scientific methods – should critically assess the value assumptions in the scientific research design and within the political society relevant for the empirical enquiry.

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