Carbon Governance Arrangements and the Nation-State: The Reconfiguration of Public Authority

The Carbon Governance project was funded by the DFG from 2015-2019 and was conducted in cooperation with the University of Potsdam. In the following you find a summary of our research approach and first publications!

Due to the difficulties among nation-states in adopting effective means of implementation to cope with climate change, a plethora of new “governance experiments” has emerged in the past few years. Some of them are targeting activities or units which are contributing enormously to global carbon dioxide emissions, like deforestation or megacities.

So far, little systematic knowledge exists about how these governance arrangements work and what their impacts on the political-administrative systems are. Given these shortcomings, this research project seted out to explore how (and how far) different types of globally operating governance arrangements have caused changes in the distribution of public authority within nation-states.

we focused on

  • C40 as an example of Transnational City Networks (TCNs) that operates bottom-up
  • REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) that operates top-down.

Research Questions and Hypotheses

We aspired to gain practical insights on the following questions, informing scholars, practitioners and policy-makers alike:

  • How do the various new climate arrangements reconfigure public authority in developing countries?
  • What are the consequences of the reconfiguration of public authority in terms of actual policy outcomes?

The hypotheses that guided our research were that in the in the field of environmental policy-making

  • The top-down governance arrangement (REDD+) generates a trend towards more centralized decision-making while
  • the bottom-up governance arrangement (TCNs/C40) strengthens decentralization efforts.

Case Studies

We conducted field research in the following countries:

India, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia

Carbon Governance Arrangements (Project Proposal (opens in new tab) )

Project flyer (opens in new tab)

Fuhr et al. (2016) Carbon Governance Arrangements and the Nation-State: The Reconfiguration of Public Authority (opens in new tab) in Developing Countries Paper presented at the Berlin Conference on Global Environmental Change 2016, 23.-24.5.2016 Fuhr et al. (2016) Carbon Governance Arrangements and the Nation-State

Poster (opens in new tab) presented at the 2nd German Future Earth Summit, 28.-29.1.2016

Stehle, Fee, Thomas Hickmann, Markus Lederer and Chris Höhne (2020): Urban Climate Politics in Emerging Economies: A Multi-Level Governance Perspective. Urbanisation. (online first:

Stehle, F., C. Höhne, T. Hickmann and M. Lederer (2019): The Effects of Transnational Municipal Networks on Urban Climate Politics in the Global South. Urban Climate Politics. Agency and Empowerment. J. van der Heijden, H. Bulkeley and C. Certomà. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 210-230. 

Lederer, Markus and Chris Höhne (2019): Max Weber in the Tropics. Regulation and Governance. Online first:

Höhne, Chris, Harald Fuhr, Thomas Hickmann, Markus Lederer, and Fee Stehle (2018): 'REDD+ and the Reconfiguration of Public Authority in the Forest Sector: A Comparative Case Study of Indonesia and Brazil', in Nuesiri, Emmanuel O. (ed.): 'Global Forest Governance and Climate Change: Interrogating Representation, Participation, and Decentralization', Palgrave Studies in Natural Resource Management, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 203-241.

Hickmann, Thomas, Harald Fuhr, Chris Höhne, Markus Lederer, and Fee Stehle (2017): 'Carbon Governance Arrangements and the Nation‐State: The Reconfiguration of Public Authority in Developing Countries', in: Public Adminstration and Development 37 (5), pp. 331–343.

Fuhr, Harald, Thomas Hickmann, Chris Höhne, Markus Lederer, and Fee Stehle: 'How Global Climate Governance Initiatives Reconfigure Public Authority in Developing Countries', in: Dolšak, Nives and Aseem Prakash (eds.): 'Climate Change and Public Administration: A Blog Commentary Symposium', Public Administration Review's Speak Your Mind.

Funding institution: DFG – Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Funding period: 01.10.2015 – 31.03.2019

Funding budget: 202.033,00 EUR