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Reframing the debate: agendas, framing coalitions and the politics of global climate change

Heubaum, H.L.; (2012) Reframing the debate: agendas, framing coalitions and the politics of global climate change. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis argues that the counterintuitive decision by some U.S. states to adopt significant climate-friendly policies in the absence of federal leadership on the issue can be explained as the result of a successful (re-)framing of the debate on climate and energy policy by policy change advocates. Critiquing mainstream theoretical accounts of policy change, the thesis advances a model of change that both builds on existing insights into change and goes beyond them by emphasising the crucial role of strategic framing in persuading target audiences of the benefits of policy proposals. It does so by introducing the concept of „framing coalitions‟ understood as coalitions of convenience assembling around shared frames rather than shared interests and values. The first part of the thesis locates the research within the scholarly literature on global environmental governance and, more specifically, the extant literature on multilevel climate governance focussed on subnational units of political authority. It shows that although low-carbon, climate-friendly policies have been mapped and compared, the reasons for why these policies were pursued in the first place have not been thoroughly explained and have thus remained elusive. The second part of the thesis tests the proposed model by closely tracing policy processes in the energy and climate field in three case studies: Pennsylvania, Florida and West Virginia. In each case, policy advocates strategically drew on change frames to reorient the state's energy policy. However, this thesis argues that the differences in outcome between the states can best be explained with differences in the size and diversity of in-state framing coalitions. The thesis concludes with a brief discussion of how elements of the proposed model of change lend themselves to further empirical and theoretical research.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Reframing the debate: agendas, framing coalitions and the politics of global climate change
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Political Science

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