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Introduction: Climate governance across the globe: pioneers, leaders and followers

Wurzel, Rüdiger K W; Andersen, Mikael Skou; Tobin, Paul


Rüdiger K W Wurzel

Mikael Skou Andersen

Paul Tobin


Mikael Skou Andersen

Paul Tobin


As outlined in this chapter, the core analytical themes of this book are: the conceptualisation of pioneers, leaders and followers within multilevel governance (MLG) and polycentric (climate) governance structures. These conceptual framings are overlapping and mutually supportive in the quest for greater analytical purchase. Specifically, as most cases exhibit different forms of leadership and pioneership – and even, perhaps simultaneously, followership and possibly also laggardness – MLG and polycentricity permit such complex identities to be located and examined in detail, by enabling the multifaceted 21st century state to be examined from multiple angles. The theoretical insights and empirical findings obtained across this book suggest that while pioneership and leadership may be more commonly associated with the Global North – especially following the explicit allocation of primary responsibility for climate action to developed ‘Annex I’ states via the 1997 Kyoto Protocol – they may be increasingly found across the globe. Indeed, as the chapters in this volume show, there are instances of climate leadership and pioneership within the Global South and followership within the Global North, as well as the other way round. Although the 2015 Paris Agreement emphasises again the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), it requires all parties to put forward voluntary pledges in the form of NDCs. Climate leadership and pioneership from countries in both the Global North and South will therefore be important for achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperatures to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. In order to find instances of ambition, the book’s use of MLG and polycentricity as guiding themes enables contributing authors to find climate leadership and pioneership beyond the ‘usual suspects’, and to acknowledge both the guidance of the state, and the importance of non-state actors.


Wurzel, R. K. W., Andersen, M. S., & Tobin, P. (2021). Introduction: Climate governance across the globe: pioneers, leaders and followers. In R. Wurzel, M. S. Andersen, & P. Tobin (Eds.), Climate Governance across the Globe Pioneers, Leaders and Followers (3-20). Abingdon: Routledge

Acceptance Date Oct 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2020
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Dec 23, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2022
Publisher Routledge
Pages 3-20
Series Title Routledge Research in Comparative Politics
Book Title Climate Governance across the Globe Pioneers, Leaders and Followers
Chapter Number 1
ISBN 9780367434366
Public URL


Introduction (635 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2021 editorial matter Rudiger K.W. Wurzel, Mikael Skou Andersen and Paul Tobin.

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