DEMOCLIM investigates novel democratic governance approaches in response to climate protests in four Scandinavian cities: Oslo, Bergen, Stockholm and Gothenburg.
The starting point is the intensified conflict over climate policies in cities worldwide. City governments must tackle two new and seemingly conflicting demands from (1) movements calling into question distributive and justice effects of climate mitigation measures ? such as higher car toll-ring prices and compact city development; (2) movements demanding more radical climate policies, such as School strikes for climate inspired by Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion. The protesters challenge the legitimacy of existing policies, and demand policy changes. However, these circumstances also provide opportunity for experimenting and developing new ways of deepening and expanding democratic and efficient governance in cities confronted by a climate crisis.
DEMOCLIM has a two-fold aim. 1) To capture the development of new governance practices by providing cutting-edge knowledge on collaborative governance strategies in Scandinavian cities. 2) To facilitate efficient and socially just climate transformation by developing joint learning and collaborative relationships between science, city policy makers and social movements throughout the project period and beyond.
The project uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, and will map institutions, organizations and social media usage; study democratic leadership strategies, interactive and co-creational arenas and digital platforms; and arrange CityLabs.
The year 2022 has been characterized by data collection, co-creation and dissemination.
Data collection: We have carried out fieldwork in all four cities in several rounds. It has given us a wealth of material which we have had the first round of joint analysis of.
Co-creation: We have organized six different co-creation events together with the cities. Two exploratory workshops in Oslo for a) civil society and b) administrative employees in the municipality together with Bykuben and the University of Agder. Two "gjestebud" at the request of Bergen municipality as part of their climate strategy. Two seminars with professionals to discuss the opportunity space for co-creation in Bergen and Gothenburg. These arenas gave opportunity to explore and discuss the scope for co-creation and climate change with various actors: professionals, civil society, academia. In addition, Democlim partner CET, UiB organized and hosted an input meeting for Bergen's new climate strategy, where both the Climate Agency and researchers from UiB participated.
Dissemination: We have organized and been invited to a number of panels, conferences and seminars where we have given lectures/posts motivated by the project's theme and ongoing findings from the project. Researchers from the project also participate in the newly started international network "Bringing Political Science to Bear on Net-Zero: Identifying Opportunities, Challenges and Ways Forward at the Local Level" where the goal is to develop political scientific research on the zero-emission society. Democlim has also been included in teaching at the Department of IT at OsloMet.
Last, but not least, we have also published popular science and scientific publications as well as papers for conferences.
DEMOCLIM investigates novel democratic governance approaches to the design and implementation of efficient and socially just climate policies in response to climate protests in four Scandinavian cities (Oslo & Bergen and Stockholm & Gothenburg). Although climate change is widely seen as “the defining issue of our time” (UN 2018), the past couple of years have seen a growing political backlash against core dimensions of more ambitious climate policies in Scandinavian cities and elsewhere in Europe. On the one hand, there have been protests that call into question distributive and justice effects of climate mitigation measures – such as higher toll ring prices and compact city development. On the other hand, there have been School strikes for climate inspired by Greta Thunberg and emergence of new radical climate movements, such as Extinction Rebellion, that use or threaten to use civil disobedience to further demand for more proactive climate policies. Thus, city governments must tackle two seemingly contradictory demands for justice.
DEMOCLIM combines theoretical approaches and several strains of literature in novel ways: research on climate change policies, contentious politics, cleavages, interactive governance and co-creation. The project contributes new knowledge on: a) the interface between climate/social protest movements and urban policy makers and governance; b) the conditions for enhancing the quality of democratic governance and approaches to climate policy implementation that are socially just and efficient at the city level; c) comparison of collaborative governance approaches of cities in the global forefront of climate policy implementation; d) the content and influence of experimental governance as a tool for socially just and inclusive climate transformation. The project contributes to joint learning and collaboration between research and key stakeholders by using interactive research methods.