Lauri Peterson defends his thesis on 8 June


Lauri Peterson defends his thesis Investigating the Determinants of International, National and Local Climate Policies on 8 June at 13:15. The defence will be broadcasted live from Brusewitzsalen, Östra Ågatan 19. A link to the digital meeting is available here.

Lauri Peterson

The external reviewer is Niklas Harring, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg.

The members of the examining committee are Professor Karin Bäckstrand, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, Associate Professor Hanna Fjelde, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University and Professor Stefano Guzzini (chair of the public defence), Department of Government, Uppsala University.

Investigating the Determinants of International, National and Local Climate Policies


Climate change is a global threat that requires policy action on all levels of governance. The 2015 Paris Agreement opened a new era of governance, entailing a shift away from the top-down approach embodied by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. It relies instead mainly on voluntary climate pledges, which are meant to be ratcheted up through a process of assessment and review. This allows international organizations and country and local governments much more flexibility in deciding their own level of climate ambition, as well as their own methods for achieving it. I identify some significant variations in policy-making that are not explained by the “usual suspects” of material capacities and organizational capabilities. In keeping with the multi-level nature of modern climate governance, I examine the determinants of climate policies on the international, national, and local levels. I do so with the help of quantitative methods applied to survey results from high-income and middle-income countries, and to data on political institutions and physical vulnerability. With this dissertation, I contribute to the literature by identifying a number of key determinants of climate mitigation policy on different levels of climate governance. First, in a study of international climate finance, I ascertain that different organizational arrangements in the bureaucratic area determine the selection of developing countries, as well as the amount of funding allocated to them by developed countries. Second, in a comparison of domestic and international climate policies, I establish that countries which have adopted more ambitious climate policies domestically are also more likely to furnish greater amounts of international climate finance. Third, in a review of national climate policies, I show that extreme weather events do not impel governments to increase climate action in countries without strong democratic institutions. Fourth, in an examination of local climate policies, I find that it is public awareness of human-caused climate change – not partisanship – that matters most for the adoption of comprehensive climate plans among frontrunner cities. These results shed light on the multi-level challenge of climate change by identifying distinct determinants of climate policy on each level of governance. This dissertation adds nuance to our understanding of the determinants of policies for climate change mitigation by stressing the importance of domestic actors and institutions for effective climate action.

Find out more about Lauri Peterson here

Full-text available on DiVA Open Access

Public Defences

Last modified: 2021-04-06