National Appropriateness of International Climate Policy Frameworks in India, Brazil, and South Africa

Abstract: How does the international climate policy frameworks influence the domestic institutional responses to climate mitigation in emerging economies? And how, in turn, do domestic institutions and politics in emerging economies influence the fate of international climate policy frameworks? The thesis provides answers to these questions by studying domestic engagements with Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in three emerging economies – India, Brazil, and South Africa. The thesis specifically studies how these engagements were influenced by the domestic institutional context provided by national climate policy, norms, and institutional capacity in the three countries. Drawing upon the variations in the engagements with nationally appropriate mitigation actions, made visible by use of the policy cycle as a heuristic device, the thesis informs the implementation of another nascent, yet prevalent, international climate policy framework – Nationally Determined Contributions. The thesis identifies how engagements with nationally appropriate mitigation actions varied in India, Brazil, and South Africa in agenda-setting, policy formulation, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation. In cases where international support is considered crucial for taking mitigation actions, external factors such as lack of clarity on definitional aspects and availability of international support can hamper the prospects of such frameworks at the agenda-setting and policy formulation stages. Efforts to engage with these frameworks under this uncertainty are held back by non-decisions, overriding national climate policy, as well as by uneven inter-ministerial coordination. The thesis argues that successful implementation of upcoming Nationally Determined  Contributions will be influenced by a country’s ability to align them with its national climate policy, localization of the transnational norms, and the extent to which efforts to enhance institutional capacity for  coordinating the implementation of national climate policy are made. In sum, the effective implementation of International Climate Policy Frameworks will be dependent on the willingness of the state to  provide oversight and coordination, and clarity on the availability of international support.

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