PhD studentship Governing rapid transitions in mitigation and adaptation

Supervisors: Dr James Van Alstine, Professor Jouni Paavola, and Professor Andy Gouldson 

This studentship forms a part of the programme of work of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) in Leeds. The fully funded studentship will pay tuition fees and stipend for a UK or EU student only. Eligibility regulations apply. You should make a study application (see ‘How to apply’ in the right-hand menu) AND you should make a scholarship application all before the deadline (See ‘Step 3’ below). On the scholarship application form, under the section that asks ‘Please indicate which ESRC Studentship you are applying for:’, please leave blank. 

Application deadline: 1 September 2013 

There is increasing awareness of the limited capacity of the state to intervene in the economy. Globalisation and liberalisation have raised the political capital required for state intervention, especially if the intervention impacts on competitiveness. Although modes of private environmental governance facilitated by states have proliferated as a result over the last two decades, how governance processes lead to governance outcomes is poorly understood. Governance dynamics are characterised by multi-scale, multi-actor interactions underpinned by complex power dynamics. The ‘governance for what and for whom’ needs careful scrutiny. The facilitator state may accommodate concern through employing governance mechanisms that do little more than symbolically address mitigation and adaptation. The risk is that both state and non-state actors may legitimise (either explicitly or implicitly) regimes of inaction through participation in the governance of incremental change. 

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This project asks whether the new modes of governance have the capacity to deliver deeper transitions towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and society. Do these arrangements depend on a degree of self-interest or civic-mindedness that have limits and cannot last forever? Will early experiments lead to learning that continually delays the point at which the limits of their influence are encountered? The project will use a comparative case-study approach to study initiatives of governing mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation cases could include for example voluntary carbon regulation initiatives and carbon targets. Adaptation cases can include initiatives to overcome water scarcity or to build resilience to extreme weather events. Case studies from the global North or/and South will be considered. The approach will accommodate insights from political science, human geography, sociology and other social sciences to understand stakeholder perspectives on, and expectations of, the actual and potential efficacy of these arrangements over time. The aim of the project is to critically evaluate governance processes and outcomes to develop a framework for successful application of new governance arrangements akin to Jänicke and Weidner’s influential analysis of success factors in environmental policy. 

There is scope for the candidate to adjust the plans to suit his or her experiences and expertise. The case study choices in terms of sector, location etc. would be made with the candidate to maximise their potential to deliver novel insights. 

For details about how to apply visit:  

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