What drives national support for multilateral climate finance? International and domestic influences on Australia’s shifting stance

  • Jonathan PickeringEmail author
  • Paul Mitchell
Original Paper


The fulfilment of wealthy countries’ commitment to mobilise $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 will hinge on maintaining domestic political support in contributor countries. Predictability in flows of climate finance is likely to enhance the overall stability of the climate finance system and the broader climate regime. However, at present it remains unclear how the 2020 target will be achieved and little is known about what drives fluctuations in support among contributor countries. This article explores domestic and international factors that may explain fluctuations in national support through a case study of Australia’s climate finance from 2007 to 2015. Drawing on documentary analysis and interviews with officials and stakeholders, the paper tracks two domestic factors that may influence support for climate finance—the government’s political orientation and public concern about climate change—and two international factors—commitment to multilateral agreements and international peer pressure. While some accounts view climate policy choices as being driven primarily by domestic factors, we find that the government’s political orientation on domestic climate policy and aid explains some but not all variations in Australia’s stance on climate finance. International peer group effects have moderated the positions of two governments that were otherwise reluctant to act on climate change. National policy reforms combined with improved multilateral oversight and more established replenishment cycles could bolster support in contributor countries and thereby strengthen the capacity of the climate finance system.


Climate finance Climate change Green Climate Fund Fragmentation Peer group effects Australia 



Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Gross national income


Official development assistance


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change



We are grateful for helpful feedback from participants at the Lund Climate Finance Workshop, the 2015 Australian Political Studies Association Conference and the 2016 Australasian Aid Conference, where earlier versions of this paper were presented. In particular we appreciated written comments from Carola Betzold, Pieter Pauw, Jakob Skovgaard and two anonymous reviewers. We also appreciate the generosity of former colleagues and other interviewees in shedding light on the issues addressed in our paper. This research was supported under the Australian Research Council’s Laureate Fellowship funding scheme (project number FL140100154).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global GovernanceUniversity of CanberraCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.School of Global, Urban and Social StudiesRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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