Article

Policy Sciences

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 179-198

First online:

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

  • Dave HuitemaAffiliated withInstitute for Environmental Studies, VU University Email author 
  • , Andrew JordanAffiliated withTyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia
  • , Eric MasseyAffiliated withInstitute for Environmental Studies, VU University
  • , Tim RaynerAffiliated withTyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia
  • , Harro van AsseltAffiliated withInstitute for Environmental Studies, VU University
  • , Constanze HaugAffiliated withInstitute for Environmental Studies, VU University
  • , Roger HildingssonAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Lund University
  • , Suvi MonniAffiliated withJoint Research Centre - IES, European Union
  • , Johannes StrippleAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Lund University

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.

Keywords

Policy evaluation Evaluation theory Climate policy European Union Meta-analysis