Policy Sciences

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 141–160

‘Neutral’ experts? How input of scientific expertise matters in international environmental negotiations


DOI: 10.1007/s11077-013-9188-8

Cite this article as:
Rietig, K. Policy Sci (2014) 47: 141. doi:10.1007/s11077-013-9188-8


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.


Experts International negotiations Climate change Research utilisation Influence Agency Policy entrepreneurs 



Alliance of Small Island States


Conference of the Parties


European Union


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


Least Developed Country


Member of Parliament


Non-governmental Organisation


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environment, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and PolicyLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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