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Actor relations in climate policymaking: Governing decarbonisation in a corporatist green state

Journal article
Authors Annica Kronsell
Jamil Khan
Roger Hildingsson
Published in Environmental Policy and Governance
ISSN 1756-932X
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies
Language en
Keywords climate policy, corporatism, ecological democracy, green state, sustainability transition
Subject categories Political Science


© 2019 The Authors. Environmental Policy and Governance published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd This article focuses on the role of actor relations in advancing climate policymaking and argues that attempts to understand decisions to decarbonise in a green state should explore the institutional conditions for policymaking. The article explores the climate policy model in Sweden in terms of the societal actors included in the policy process, the nature of this inclusion, and its relevance for the prospects of decarbonisation. It uses three perspectives in the analysis: corporatism, sustainable transition studies, and ecological democracy. The findings largely support existing research that states characterised by corporatist policymaking are suited for environmental governance and for climate policymaking. However, as a model of governance of actor relations, the Swedish climate policymaking model has both its merits and demerits. Although it has potential to reach decarbonisation objectives, it does this in the context of including mainly established economic interests, that is, incumbents. This stands in contrast with what is argued in sustainable transition studies that incumbents obstruct change, in the Swedish case they are viewed as potential change agents. Finally, although the character of the actor relations is deliberative, it is a top–down exclusive kind of deliberation that remains far from ideals of ecological democracy.

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