skip to Main Content

Climate Backlash: Contentious Reactions to Policy Action (BACKLASH)

Description

The challenge of BACKLASH is to empirically study and theorise backlash to climate policy. Growing calls for ambitious climate change action are challenging because such action can trigger backlash. Why do societies sometimes accept costly public good action, but at other times push back suddenly and reject it? Abrupt and impactful reactions to climate policy actions are increasingly witnessed, and may become more frequent in coming years as climate action becomes more demanding. Examples include the Yellow Vests in France, and acrimonious policy rollbacks in Canada and Australia. Climate politics and governance needs to understand this issue to avoid it undermining ambitious climate action.

The aim of BACKLASH is to explain how, why, and under which conditions backlash to climate policy occurs in advanced industrial democracies. We will 1) analyse drivers of climate backlash across varying national contexts, 2) identify mechanisms and processes by which backlash occurs within specific countries, 3) examine whether and how backlash diffuses within and between countries, and 4) explain variation in presence and dynamics of backlash across contexts. We do this by studying comparatively OECD countries (medium-N) and several in-depth national cases (Australia, Canada, France, United Kingdom).

BACKLASH takes an interdisciplinary approach combining climate politics, policy dynamics, social movements, and political theory. It will ultimately contribute to understanding policy-society dynamics in fractious and contested contemporary climate governance. BACKLASH contributes to several core themes of earth system governance research, including: Transformations, Democracy & Power, and Architecture & Agency. Substantively, it contributes to earth system governance scholarship on the politics of domestic climate policy.

More information about the project is available here

 

Research Team

 

  • James Patterson, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Ksenia Anisimova, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Jasmin Logg-Scarvell, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Cille Kaiser, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

 

Publications

Patterson, J.J. (2022) Culture and identity in climate policy (Editorial), Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 13(3): e765. URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.765

Patterson, J., Wyborn, C., Westman, L., Brisbois, M.C., Milkoreit, M., Jayaram, D. (2021) The political effects of emergency frames in sustainability. Nature Sustainability 4: 841–850. URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00749-9

 

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme Grant Agreement No 949332 — BACKLASH — ERC-2020-STG

You might like these too

Taskforce on Knowledge Cumulation

The Earth System Governance ‘Taskforce on Knowledge Cumulation’ seeks to bring together scholars that share a…

Taskforce on Earth System Law
The Task Force on Earth System Law is composed of a large member network worldwide, which accommodates an interdisciplinary community of scientists focusing on the legal challenges of the Anthropocene and the many complex, multi-scalar governance challenges arising from within an Earth System context.
Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals

The Earth System Governance ‘Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals’ brings together an interdisciplinary global group…

Recent publications

Institutional Accountability of Nonstate Actors in the UNFCCC: Exit, Voice, and Loyalty

How are nonstate actors within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held to account? In this article,…

Long term policies on adaptiveness: for whom? To what? By what? By when?

This note was the basis for a talk given in a semi-plenary on the Earth System Governance Project at the…

Sustainability: Politics and Governance

The chapter gives an overview of global sustainability policy and politics. It is shown how international policy making on sustainable…