Leaders and Laggards: Climate Policy Ambition in Developed States

In 1992 the United Nations identified twenty-four "Annex II" states as being "developed" and holding the greatest responsibility for reducing emissions. Since then, the ambitions of these states toward mitigating climate change have varied significantly. This article is the first to employ fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to analyze climate policy variation among the Annex II developed states. The presence of a left-wing government is shown to be sufficient for ambitious climate policy, as is having high GDP per capita in conjunction with close links to the EU and few political constraints. The analysis highlights Austria's surprisingly unambitious climate policy, which is explained, following elite interviews, by the state's unique social partnership governance model and unusual fuel tourism industry. Overall, fsQCA proves a useful method for examining variables in combination and for case study selection, although limited by the number of variables it can assess.