Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 127–140

Stakeholder engagement in climate change policymaking in American cities

Article

Abstract

In all likelihood, climate change will be the most challenging environmental problem that society will face in the new century. Despite growing scientific evidence that climate change is taking place, skepticism still exists about whether it is actually occurring and, if it is, whether increased greenhouse gas emissions will have a significant adverse impact on the ecosystem. Unless divergent actor groups are able to establish a dialogue on these issues, meaningful discussions about the causes and effects of climate change will not take place, government action will not be forthcoming, and additional harm to the ecosystem will occur. This, in turn, will place an impediment in front of public and private efforts to promote sustainability, making it even that much more difficult to reverse course and adopt needed changes to energy production and consumption in the future. This paper contributes to the emerging scholarly discussion around the dimensions of climate change communication by conducting a stakeholder-focused analysis concerning climate change at the local level. The paper draws upon a theoretical framework developed by Sabatier et al. (2005) to analyze stakeholder involvement in collaborative watershed management, and applies the framework to climate change policymaking in American cities. A major goal of the study is to assess the value of this framework for analyzing the nature and extent of interactions between the major players involved in climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local level. Developing an effective stakeholder framework can help us to understand the multifaceted stakeholder dynamics around climate change communication at the municipal level and can be a critical contribution to theory and, subsequently, to policymaking by helping decision makers become aware and knowledgeable about their constraints and opportunities in addressing climate change within the urban context. Overall, research on climate change policymaking by cities is underdeveloped, and this paper adds to this literature.

Keywords

Climate change Collaborative management Cities Climate change policy Stakeholder engagement 

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Copyright information

© AESS 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental StudiesUniversity of California, Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

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