Johns Hopkins SAIS expert available to discuss state capacity and climate policy

A large number of industrialized economies have adopted ambitious climate policy goals, yet they vary significantly in the extent of achieving them – often due to opposition from industry interests.
Germany, once a leader in climate policy, has just acknowledged it will likely fail to reach its 2020 targets.  Why are some states better able to meet their targets against opposition from those vested in the status quo?
The division of labor between government bureaucracies and the legislature in climate policy-making is critical to the ability to meet climate targets, according to a new paper co-authored by Jonas Nahm, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
In cases such as California, where the legislature sets climate goals and delegates policy design to the bureaucracy, distributional conflict over climate policy is shifted to bureaucrats that are more insulated from outside pressure.
In contrast, with cases like Germany — where bureaucracies set goals and legislators decide on concrete policy measures — policy-making is vulnerable to regulatory capture. The legislative policy design in climate policy making is preventing attainment of emissions reduction goals, as industry interests succeed in blocking key policy measures.
Nahm and co-author Jonas Meckling, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that the division of labor in the policy-making process can be a strategic source of state capacity.
The scholars are available to further discuss:

  • Why is Germany facing difficulty in achieving its emissions reduction goals?
  • What are the reasons behind Germany’s recent decision to abandon its climate targets?
  • Why has California been so effective in designing climate policy?
  • How can legislators strategically strengthen support for their climate policies?
  • How can states effectively design policy measures to meet policy goals?
  • How can the policy-making process enhance state capacity?

Nahm’s research focuses on the political economy of development and industrial upgrading in green industries, the politics of innovation, and the political economy of the energy sector. His research draws on cases in China, Germany, and the United States. Before joining Johns Hopkins SAIS, Nahm was a Postdoctoral Fellow for International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute at Brown University. He earned a PhD in Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Read more: The power of process: State capacity and climate policy
** Watch Jonas Nahm discuss his research in a recent Johns Hopkins SAIS faculty video. **
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About Johns Hopkins SAIS
A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For nearly 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school’s interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018