Climate change governance has been over 30 years in the making, but it remains a significant work in progress.

This brochure summarizes the main findings from INOGOV – and has – for the very first time – explored what is actually gained by thinking about and enacting climate governance as an evolving polycentric system.

Initially, people assumed that states and international organisations, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), would perform the key governance functions. But it is increasingly apparent that many other actors – cities, charities, private companies, universities and faith organisations – are becoming much more directly involved.

Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom has been amongst those arguing that these ‘new’ forms of governing are not simply necessary, but are already crystallizing around, below and alongside the UNFCCC.

Her message is positive and extremely policy relevant: not every aspect of governance has to be designed by government negotiators in the UNFCCC. New forms will emerge spontaneously, producing a more dispersed pattern which she described as polycentric.

Polycentric ideas are also well worth examining because they directly challenge accepted modes of academic thinking, such as the division between international, national, and sub-national action.

Andy Jordan, Dave Huitema, Jale Tosun, Elin Lerum Boasson, Mikael Hildén, Jonas Schoenefeld, Johanna Forster & Clare Shelton

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