Vortrag: How do states translate the UNFCCC climate change norm?

Quantitative text analysis of national contributions to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

14.01.2021 von

Scholars of international norms examine how the meaning(s) of norms evolve as actors engage with them. Due to its broad mandate and diverse membership, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a particularly relevant case.

We use quantitative text analysis to analyze how states translate the international climate change norm. In the context of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the parties to the UNFCCC have submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) outlining how they aim to pursue the goal of preventing dangerous climate change through domestic actions. We employ topic modeling to identify patterns in how states discuss climate change and set policy priorities in their NDCs. This approach yields three main findings. First, the NDCs usually engage in norm application rather than outright contestation. Second, the method of topic modeling is suitable for identifying major themes. To interpret the nuances, it should be complemented with qualitative validation. Third, while industrialized and developing countries remain divided with regard to several issues, many topics are being discussed across different UNFCCC negotiating groups. Quantitative text analysis thus enables us to illuminate various norm translations.Keywords: International norms, international law, climate change, United Nations, quantitative text analysisThis research is part of the project “TRANSNORMS” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG Reinhart Koselleck Project) and led by Thomas Risse (Freie Universität Berlin). Mehr erfahren (wird in neuem Tab geöffnet)