The chasm between required and actual emissions abatement continues to grow in part because stringent climate laws and policies have repeatedly been blocked, repealed or weakened by obstructionist lobbies. Lobbying by the climate change countermovement dwarfs that by the climate movement. To make meaningful progress towards global emissions abatement, smart political strategies are needed. Drawing on evidence from current and past sociotechnical transitions and social movements, we propose a taxonomy of five strategic paradigms for overcoming obstructionism: antagonism (“name, shame, boycott and sue”), appeasement (“compensate the losers”), co-optation (“change from within”), institutionalism (“change the rules of the game”) and countervailance (support the alternative). Each “world” of strategy addresses the problem of obstructionism through a different lens, reflecting a diversity of actors, tactics, and theories of change within the climate movement. We develop a heuristic model to explore how these strategies change a politician’s incentives across different institutional contexts, both statically and dynamically.


Srivastav, S. & Rafaty, R. (2021). 'Five Worlds of Political Strategy in the Climate Movement'. INET Oxford Working Paper No. 2021-07.
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