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Is democratisation bad for global warming?

By Peter J. Burnell


Summary: even if democracy and all good things go together the same may not be as true of democratisation. Given the growing number of countries that have attempted democratisation, with varying success, and as the challenge of addressing the causes of climate change becomes increasingly more urgent, it is worth knowing if democratisation makes that challenge more difficult. Similarly it is worth knowing if the political conditions for an effective response to climate instability and its economic and social consequences must impact on the outlook for democratisation. Although contrary to what was once believed, developing countries may not have the dilemma of having to choose between developing the economy and building democracy, the further addition of a requirement to significantly reduce carbon emissions might be just too demanding. The paper offers a framework of analysis as a preliminary to more detailed empirical investigation. It concludes with policy implications for international actors committed to promoting democracy, considering that in developing countries stable authoritarian rule might be better placed than regimes in political transition to mitigate climate change as well as adapt to its effects

Topics: JC
Publisher: University of Warwick, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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