Original Paper

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 107-125

First online:

A model of dynamic climate governance: dream big, win small

  • Johannes UrpelainenAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Columbia University Email author 

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In this article, I develop and evaluate a model of dynamic climate governance. The model is based on the premise that global warming is such a complex problem that present political realities do not allow an immediate solution to it. I propose that current mitigation activities should focus on building technological and political transformation potential to enable more ambitious climate cooperation in the future. Successful international climate cooperation could comprise a series of politically feasible “small wins” guided by a “big dream” of a comprehensive future climate regime. The analysis contributes to the emerging literature on the dynamics of climate governance by showing how coherence between multiple independent climate policies can be achieved, both across policymakers and over time. To illustrate how the model can be used, I apply it to technology agreements and North–South climate finance.


Climate policy Dynamics International cooperation Gradualism Political economy