CLIMENGO is a research project that aims to map the institutional complexity of global climate and energy governance, evaluate its effectiveness and legitimacy, and develop a knowledge base for decision-makers.

Global climate and energy governance

Global efforts to mitigate climate change have increased sharply in number and scope over the past decade. In its online portal, documenting so-called cooperative initiatives, the United Nations (UN) Climate Secretariat has identified no less than 60 governance arrangements with connections to climate change, in addition to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This proliferation has created a patchwork of actors, rules and decision-making processes across private and public sectors that affect the governance of climate change. Many governance arrangements are active in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency, thereby creating a link between the climate and energy governance fields.

Aim and research questions

The aim of the CLIMENGO project is to map the institutional complexity of global climate and energy governance (the climate-energy nexus) and to evaluate its effectiveness and legitimacy. Moreover, the project aims to develop new and important research to serve as a basis for decision-makers in areas where there are large gaps in knowledge. Three empirical, theoretical and policy-relevant questions provide the platform for this project:

  1. How has the patchwork of global climate governance unfolded, and what relationships and synergies can be identified between the various governance arrangements?
  2. What types of partnerships will strengthen the UN-led process, which are effective and legitimate, and which could undermine the multilateral process?
  3. What sorts of international alliances should a country with limited resources and high climate ambitions prioritize?

To develop a knowledge-base for decision-makers the project attempts to:

  1. Systematically identify the connections between institutions, initiatives, and key players in global climate and energy governance (with a focus on Swedish public and private actors);
  2. Analyze how fragmentation – and the relationship between multilateral and mini-lateral cooperation – affects the effectiveness and legitimacy of global climate policy;
  3. Focus on collaborations to promote renewable energy, phasing out of energy subsidies, and the emergence of carbon markets;
  4. Conduct a dialogue and exchange of knowledge with (primarily) Swedish policy-makers, business leaders, and civil society actors, to develop concrete policy recommendations to facilitate navigating in the complex, fragmented climate governance and energy landscape.

Funding and participants

The CLIMENGO project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency and involves leading international researchers with unique expertise in climate and energy governance from different institutes. The project is led by Professor Karin Bäckstrand at Stockholm University, who has extensive experience leading major research projects and communicating with policymakers and the public. Researchers from Lund University and Stockholm Environment Institute (Oxford) contribute with in-depth knowledge on the fragmentation of climate and energy governance from both legal and political science perspectives. The other major international partner – the Institute for Environmental Studies (VU University Amsterdam) – has been involved in an ongoing project to develop new and innovative methods to map the institutional complexity of climate governance.