Lecture 14.1

The Politics of Climate Change

Emmanuel Teitelbaum

Collective Action Theory


  • Climate action requires mechanisms for international monitoring and sanctions for non-cooperation

  • Countries will take action on climate change reciprocally

  • Defection by key players will cause other defections

Climate Agreements

Stylized Facts

  • Climate action continues despite free-riding behavior

  • Public supports climate action unconditionally

  • National actors behave unconditionally

Climate Action

Source: Aklin and Mildenberger

Public Opinion

Source: Aklin and Mildenberger

National Actors

  • Defections defined by unconditional non-cooperators

  • Driven by concerns of special interests, e.g. fossil fuel industry

  • Role of misinformation, e.g. climate change denial

Role of Domestic Actors and Institutions

  • What are some key reasons for resistance to climate action in domestic politics?

  • Who are winners and losers of climate action? How do interests affect policy?

  • Best explanation for lack of climate action in U.S.?

Thinking Comparatively

  • How can theories from this course to explain cross-national differences in climate action?
    • Polanyi
    • Modernization theory
    • Distributive politics
    • Varieties of capitalism
    • Three worlds of welfare capitalism
    • Populism