REES Department Seminar – David Tindall, Friday, April 22, 2022

Date(s) - 22/04/2022
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Speaker: David Tindall (PhD), UBC

Title:  “Explaining Perceived Influence in Climate Change Policy Networks: The Canada Case”

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Meeting ID: 931 0336 7636
Passcode: 340049


Anthropogenic climate change is arguably the biggest existential threat to humankind, as well as many other species. While earth systems are complex, the natural science aspects of the problem are quite well understood. It is the social, political, economic, and cultural barriers to addressing climate change that are challenging to address. This study examines the perceived influence of different actors in Canada’s climate change policy network just prior to the signing of the Paris Agreement. In this research, we consider the problem of addressing climate change from a policy network perspective. This analysis utilizes data from a representative survey of climate change policy network actors in Canada. Five network relations are examined: communication, sharing scientific information, collaboration, influence in domestic climate change politics, and influence on the respondent’s organization’s policy position. A main finding is that there is a positive association between an actor being central in the communication network and their being perceived as more influential in domestic climate change politics. Also, an actor’s perceived influence on the respondent’s organization’s stance was correlated both with the centrality of actors in the communication network, and in the collaboration network. However, when we examine these findings in more depth, we see that being an actor who provided expert scientific information was not correlated with being influential in either domestic climate change politics, or in influencing the respondent’s organization’s policy position. A related finding —which is also surprising — is that actors who were associated with research organizations were seen as being less influential in both domestic climate change politics, and in influencing the respondent’s organization’s policy position. These findings give us a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between network centrality and perceived climate policy influence, thereby making an important contribution to understanding the social dynamics of climate change policy networks.