Earth System Governance (Jan 2024)

Mapping multiscalar power for fair, effective climate policy discourse

  • Simone J. Domingue,
  • Stacia S. Ryder

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 19
p. 100200


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Mainstream climate policy discourse obscures power disparities between those who contribute the most to climate change and those who are hit the hardest, particularly in discussions regarding the appropriate targets for intervention, including behavioral change. We reflect and critique this obfuscation of power in policy debates, and as a corrective, we identify actors with high levels of climate responsibility and high capacity for mitigation and adaptation, and that intersect different scales of social organization. We visually map these overlaps to spur productive dialogue and generate new policy ideas to target the worst violators first and encourage action for others where it is rooted in what capacities they have. We include examples of how power disparities reflect and produce complex climate injustices, underscoring the importance of conceptualizing power through a multiscalar lens for fair and effective climate policy.