International Organizations and Domestic Climate Change Policy Networks in Australia, Finland, India, Japan, Sweden and the United States

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Keiichi SATOH, University of Konstanz, Germany
Tuomas YLA-ANTTILA, University of Helsinki, Finland
Addressing the problem of climate change requires international collaboration. International organizations – scientific organizations, environmental NGOs and the United Nations – have long strived to create global norms on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In this paper, we argue that an important channel through which these global norms affect national policy processes are connections of collaboration and information exchange between international organizations and national climate change policy networks.

We use methods of social network analysis on organization-level survey data from Australia, Finland, India, Japan, Sweden and the US. The respondents include the roughly 100 most important organizations in climate change politics in each country. We analyze measures of collaboration, information exchange, influence and policy opinions, focusing on the role of international organizations in each national policy network.

The results show that international organizations, especially those that are known for providing scientific information and policy advice, have influence on domestic climate change policies. The effects of international organizations on national organizations are twofold: First, the information obtained from international organizations affects the policy preferences of national organizations. Second, national organizations gain more reputational power in the network by having ties with international organizations, especially with those that do not have ties with other national organizations. This distribution process of information from international organizations to domestic policy domains can be seen as a mechanism which brings about global convergence on climate change policy ideas.

However, we show that there is also a homophily effect: domestic organizations tend to form ties with international organizations based on their existing policy preferences. As a result, the information from international organizations is filtered through domestic organizations in the network. This is one likely reason bringing about the national differences in climate change policy.