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Policy indexes as tools for decision makers: the case of climate policy

Surminski, Swenja and Williamson, Andrew (2014) Policy indexes as tools for decision makers: the case of climate policy. Global Policy, 5 (3). pp. 275-285. ISSN 1758-5880

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1758-5899.12121


The last two decades have witnessed an explosion in the publication of country indexes that measure and rank the relative national policy performances of governments. To illustrate the challenges of using and applying these tools we focus on those four indexes that have been specifically designed in response to the emergence of the relatively new policy area of climate change. We investigate if and how these tools provide information about the evolving landscape of climate policy in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, widely considered the future battleground of climate policy. We find that even for this relatively narrow area different methodologies exist. Interpreting and applying climate policy indexes across countries therefore requires a solid understanding of underlying objectives and data used for each index. A clear gap is the underrepresentation of adaptation policy in all four indexes. Our investigation concludes with a reflection on how climate policy indexes are currently applied, including business planning. These tools provide informative pointers that can be of use for stakeholders, nevertheless they should not be considered in isolation, but need to be complemented by a broader view on what is driving particular responses to climate change in a country.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2014 16:14
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:53
Funders: Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Economic and Social Research Council, Munich Re.

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