The new special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production on policy experimentation for climate change solutions is edited by Mikael Hildén, Andy Jordan and Dave Huitema. The issue draws on several papers presented at an INOGOV funded workshop led by Prof. Mikael Hildén in Helsinki titled, ‘Evaluating climate change experiments for policy innovation’. INOGOV is an affiliated project of the Earth System Governance Project.
Policy experiments can provide innovative, participatory approaches to climate governance. However, questions arise on why and how they emerge, who the agents are and what the experiments actually achieve. Experimentation may in particular offer new ways of tackling the grand challenges of climate change and sustainable development. In the absence of blueprints for transitions, which are currently only guided by highly ambitious goals such as those found in the Paris Climate Agreement or the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, experiments may provide a way forward.
The 21 contributions in this special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production demonstrate that many current policies are in theory flexible enough to allow for experimentation, so long as the experiments and the niches are sufficiently restricted.