, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 179-198,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The evaluation of climate policy: theory and emerging practice in Europe

Abstract

Climate policy is a relatively young and dynamic area of public policy making. However, its development has attracted far more attention than the results it delivers in practice, which of course are the concern of policy evaluators. This article attempts to provide the first systematic cataloging of the emerging patterns of policy evaluation undertaken in different parts of the European Union. Theories of policy evaluation suggest that these evaluation practices should acknowledge the inherent complexity of climate policy making, be reflexive by questioning official policy goals, and be participatory. A meta-analysis of 259 climate policy evaluations suggests that current practice engages with some but not all of these issues. This article concludes by analyzing the implications of this finding for those in the academic and practitioner community who are keen to understand the extent to which climate policy evaluation is delivering on its promises.