‘Neutral’ experts? How input of scientific expertise matters in international environmental negotiations
This contribution analyses under what conditions expert input is most likely to be regarded by government representatives as useful and how government representatives use input provided by experts. It widens the analytical lens examining multilateral negotiations within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) between 2009 and 2011. The findings confirm the importance of deep knowledge, long-term involvement in the policy subsystem and networks. This research illustrates the importance of policy-entrepreneurial strategies such as proactively approaching government representatives and volunteering knowledge. Joining government delegations can increase expert input as they may gain access to the negotiation text. It is crucial to provide input early on in the negotiation cycle before the national negotiation position is decided. Scientific consensus on climate change facilitated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) resulted in a convergence of the actor’s beliefs towards understanding climate mitigation and adaptation as normative imperative. Actors, however, interpret expert input based on the consensual IPCC findings differently depending on their conflicting political objectives. Thus, instrumental and political use of expert input by the interest groups overlaps in the UNFCCC.
KeywordsExperts International negotiations Climate change Research utilisation Influence Agency Policy entrepreneurs
Alliance of Small Island States
Conference of the Parties
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Least Developed Country
Member of Parliament
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Betsill, M., & Corell, E. (2008). NGO diplomacy: The influence of nongovernmental organizations in international environment negotiations. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Biermann, F. (2002). Institutions for scientific advice: Global environmental assessments and their influence in developing countries. Global Governance, 8, 195–219.Google Scholar
- Biermann, F. (2012). Curtain down and nothing settled. Earth System Governance Working Paper, 26, 1–24.Google Scholar
- Biermann, F., Pattberg, P., & Zelli, F. (2010). Global climate governance beyond 2012: Architecture, agency and adaptation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Cohen, S. (2006). Understanding environmental policy. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. (2009). Research design. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Depledge, J. (2005). The organization of global negotiations. Constructing the climate change regime. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- ENB. (2009a). Summary of the Barcelona climate change talks: 2–9 November 2011. Earth Negotiations Bulletin, IISD Reporting Services, 12(447). Cited July 2012. Available from http://www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/enb12447e.pdf.
- ENB. (2009b). Summary of the Copenhagen climate change conference: 7–19 December 2011. Earth Negotiations Bulletin, IISD Reporting Services, 12(459). Cited July 2012. Available from http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop15/.
- ENB. (2010). Summary of the Cancun climate change conference: 29 November–11 December 2011. Earth Negotiations Bulletin, IISD Reporting Services, 12(498). Cited July 2012. Available from http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop16/.
- ENB. (2011). Summary of the Durban climate change conference: 28 November–11 December 2011. Earth Negotiations Bulletin, IISD Reporting Services, 12(534). Cited July 2012. Available from http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop17/.
- GCS. (2013). Global climate scam. Cited July 2013. Available from http://www.globalclimatescam.com/.
- Gulbrandsen, L. (2008). The role of science in environmental governance: Competing knowledge producers in Swedish and Norwegian forestry. Global Environmental Politics, 8(2), 99–122.Google Scholar
- Haas, P. M. (1990). Saving the mediterranean: The politics of international environmental protection. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- IPCC. (2007). Climate change 2007: Synthesis report. Valencia: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Google Scholar
- Jasanoff, S. (1990). The fifth branch. Science advisers as policymakers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- King, G., Keohane, R. O., & Verba, S. (1994). Designing social inquiry: Scientific inference in qualitative research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Kingdon, J. (1984). Agendas, alternatives, and public policies (2nd ed.). New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
- Kjellen, B. (2007). A new diplomacy for sustainable development: The challenge of global change. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Mason, M. (2005). The new accountability: Environmental responsibility across borders. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Miles, E., Underdal, A., & Andresen, S. (2002). International regime effectiveness: Confronting theory with evidence. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Mitchell, R., Clark, W. C., & Cash, W. (2006). Information and influence. In R. Mitchell, W. C. Clark, W. Cash, & N. Dickinson (Eds.), Global environmental assessments: Information and influence (pp. 307–338). Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Ozawa, C. P. (1991). Recasting science: Consensual procedures in public policy making. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Roberts, N., & King, P. (1991). Policy entrepreneurs: Their activity structure and function in the policy process. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 1(2), 147–175.Google Scholar
- Skodvin, T. (2000). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In S. Andresen, T. Skodvin, A. Underdal & J. Wettestad (Eds.), Science and politics in international environmental regimes. Between integrity and involvement. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
- Stern, N. (2006). Stern review on the economics of climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Underdal, A. (2000). Science and Politics: the anatomy of an uneasy partnership. In S. Andresen, T. Skodvin, A. Underdal & J. Wettestad (Eds.), Science and politics in international environmental regimes. Between integrity and involvement. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
- UNFCCC. (2010a). Conference of the parties-15. List of participants. Part 1. Cited October 2012. Available from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/misc01p01.pdf.
- UNFCCC. (2010b). Conference of the parties-15. List of participants. Part 2. Cited October 2012. Available from http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/misc01p02.pdf.
- UNFCCC. (2010c). Cancun agreements. Decision FCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- UNFCCC. (2011a). Report of COP-17. Proceedings. Decision FCCC/CP/2011/9/Add.1 New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- UNFCCC. (2011b). Report of COP-17. Action taken by COP-17. Decision FCCC/CP/2011/9/Add.1 New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- UNFCCC. (2011c). COP-17 side events and exhibits. Cited October 2012. Available from http://regserver.unfccc.int/seors/reports/archive.html?session_id=COP17/CMP7.
- Weiss, C. (1977). Research for policy’s sake: The enlightenment function of social research. Policy Analysis, 3, 531–545.Google Scholar
- Yamin, F., & Rambharos, M. (2011). The Cancun Agreements and the Way Forward. Stakeholders Dialogue and Conclusion. International Dialogue on Mitigation. Bonn: UNFCCC. June 2011.Google Scholar
- Young, J., & Mendizabal, E. (2009). Helping researchers become policy entrepreneurs. How to develop engagement strategies for evidence-based policy-making. ODI Briefing Paper 53. London: Overseas Development Institute.Google Scholar