National Climate Politics

Element Descriptor

National climate policy is full of nice sounding words with no real delivery mechanisms behind it. Being able to understand that, and explain the causes, consequences and remedies for this emptiness is essential. If you can’t do all of that, succinctly, why are you even bothering? Seriously?

Level descriptors

NovicePractitionerExpertNinja
You know the recent history of national climate policy, the headline goals and the current performance of your state. The big sources of carbon nationally (i.e. percentages for each sector), what is – and could – be done about them. You understand the basic structure of the policymaking apparatus, the quangos and the stab vestsYou have a reasonable grasp on the entire history of climate policy making and (lack of ) implementation in your country You can explain both the trail of broken promises and memory-holed documents, and also the reasons for these failures, and what could still, at this late stage, be done to make the response less inadequateYou have a thorough and detailed grasp of the entire sorry history of climate policy shiny promises, from the year dot. You know why each hype cycle came undone, and can see the patterns, and the influence of other political and policy factors, but also the influence of international factors. You know where the bodies are buried, and can spot a silence at fifty paces. You can anticipate what nonsense will be floated in the coming months, and explain why it is nonsense. You can’t change anything though, because this is, after all, Groundhog Day all over again…Your face graces a dartboard in the Environment Minister’s office, because of your history of being willing and able to call bullshit on whatever smoke and mirrors is being perpetrated now by officials and come-and-go political actors. You never have to look up a Three Letter Acronym, and you can see the path dependencies and lock-in of today- and tomorrow’s policies. You even, on your good days, can explain how other countries have done it better elsewhere for the same/less money.

Element Overview Essay

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The reasons people tend not to know this is it isn’t taught at school, or even university, or is done so spottily or in such excruciating detail and without an overarching narrative that is compelling and suitably cynical.

The consequences? Well, if you don’t know the broken promises and the shonky statistical games and shifting baselines, then you might end up believing that your country is actually taking action on climate change. And it isn’t, it really isn’t. That means you’ll be lulled into a false sense of safety, or that you will be easy prey for whatever lies are flying around.

The fixes? Well, if it’s for the UK or Australia, you can piggy-back of work by CEM core group members. Beyond that, do some research, build your own narrative. Talk to people who know about these things…

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Assessment Resources