Explaining Variation in Climate Change Mitigation Policies and Choice of Mitigation Targets
Climate change and the global rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are an international and national issue. As an environmental issue, climate change and the global rise in greenhouse gas GHG emissions remain an international and national concern. Although reviews of national climate change policies provide a diversity of rationales for GHG mitigation and despite a growing understanding of the potential costs associated with climate change, there has not been a policy convergence towards stringent mitigation measures. Consequently, this paper explores the empirical diversity in commitment to GHG mitigation by analysing climate change initiatives and emissions profile, socioeconomic and indicators and governance indicators explaining the variation in national and sub-national mitigation targets. A multiple regression analysis approach was used to evaluate the impact of various variables. The analysis results supported the hypothesis that free ridership— in the absence of any international binding commitment— caused jurisdictions to shirk/relax their mitigation targets. Furthermore, a significant direct relationship was observed between rule of law and commitment to mitigation policies. Jurisdictions where policies are enforced were more conservative with their mitigation targets as compared to jurisdictions where ambitious targets are set without any accountability or execution.