Abstract

This article introduces a conceptual framework for climate governance. It provides an insight into how a system of governance can cope with the uncertainty and pluralism that are prevalent in climate governance. In our framework, we combine polycentric climate governance, procedural climate justice and directed technical change policy. We show that following norms of procedural justice can enhance the desired properties of polycentric systems. In turn, polycentric systems are a suitable environment for fulfilling procedural justice norms. As to the policy dimension: There is reason to assume that innovation and adaptation policies work well in polycentric systems, while carbon pricing relies more strongly on a global treaty to be effective. And innovation and adaptation profit from procedural justice norms being followed. Polycentrism, procedural justice, and innovation and adaptation policy all possess specific properties that can cope very well with a complex environment where there is positive uncertainty about the future and many parties with different normative outlooks. They combine to a system that is flexible and adaptable over time. This constitutes the particular strength of our conceptual system as a framework for climate governance, policy, and research.

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