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Environmental Politics and Policy

Question 1  What explains the differences in the success of green parties across countries? Draw on both theory and empirical evidence from more than 1 country


Green parties promoting environmental sustainability have gained traction as political forces in several countries. Political groups called “green parties” advocate for policies that are good for the environment. Vote totals, policy clout, and popularity indicate their success. Some green parties have found widespread support and even joined government coalitions; others have struggled to make inroads and are still on the political margins. But green parties’ fortunes might be hit or miss in other nations. This paper will identify what makes certain people more successful than others. Success factors for green parties can be better understood by combining theoretical considerations with evidence from various nations.

Theoretical Perspectives

Several theoretical frameworks can be used to analyze the results of green parties. The party system framework is one such viewpoint since it considers each country’s institutional make-up and broader political climate. Since green parties can better represent their constituents’ ideologies, they may do well in proportional representation systems. However, majoritarian systems can be problematic for green parties because they often sideline minorities. The socio-cultural setting is another important theoretical perspective. Support from progressive social groups and environmentally sensitive individuals is a common funding source for green parties. Green party success is more likely in countries with a robust environmental conscience and robust civil society groups (Abou-Chadi, 2016, p. 420). Cultural elements like environmental values, public attitudes toward sustainability, and concern about ecological issues can influence the popularity of green parties and electoral success.

Empirical Evidence and Case Studies

The elements affecting the success of green parties are complex, but empirical evidence from many nations can shed light on some of them. In his research, Van Haute analyzes the rise and fall of green parties across Europe’s electoral landscape. Case studies from nations like Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden let us see universal trends and localized influences on their success. For instance, the Green Party’s success in Germany may be traced to the intersection of ecological worries, robust grassroots engagement, and efficient party structure. The party’s success in rallying voters around causes like renewable energy, climate change, and social justice has been a major factor in its political success. Green Left’s success in the Netherlands can be traced back to the party’s ability to present itself as a more all-encompassing progressive force that bridges traditional progressive causes like environmentalism with more contemporary ones like social justice and multiculturalism. The Green Left has made political gains by appealing to various voters. Environmental Politics empirical research also highlights the widespread appeal of green parties worldwide. Research in this area includes party structure, campaign methods, media coverage, and voting turnout. Green parties in Scandinavia, for example, were found to have benefited from strategic issue prioritization, well-executed campaign messaging, and positive party branding, according to a recent academic study.


In a conclusive overview, the framework of the party system, the socio-cultural backdrop, the party’s organization, and their campaign techniques are all important contributors to the success of green parties in different nations. A comprehensive comprehension of these factors is provided by analyzing Neil Carter’s book and Van Haute’s study and incorporating empirical information from Environmental Politics. Success for green parties is tied to their capacity to connect with eco-conscious voters, create strong organizational structures, and find an advantageous niche in the political arena. Policymakers and green party leaders may learn a great deal by analyzing how to increase the effectiveness and impact of green parties in various nations, aiming to promote environmental sustainability and tackle global ecological concerns.

Question 2: Analyse the diversity of environmental groups, their tactics, and their ability to protect the environment. Discuss theory as well as empirical evidence


The work of environmental organizations in promoting environmental sustainability is essential. A wide variety of entities, from local activists to NGOs to think tanks to global networks, all fight to improve the environment. They work on various scales, from the neighborhood to the international stage, to combat problems, including global warming, forest destruction, pollution, and species extinction. Environmental groups use diverse methods. Some use public education and awareness campaigns to gain support and influence behavior. Others advocate, lobby, and negotiate environmental policies. Some groups use direct action, civil disobedience, and legal challenges to raise environmental awareness and compel decision-makers. Environmental groups’ success varies. Politics, resources, organizational capacity, and public support affect their impact. Their techniques matching the environmental situation can also help. Governments, corporations, and communities benefit from collaborative initiatives. However, various groups, strategies, and results regarding protecting the environment can exist. This essay aims to examine the various strategies and successes of environmental organizations.

Theoretical Perspectives

Many different theoretical lenses can be applied to the study of environmental communities. Resource mobilization theory is a prominent viewpoint because it highlights the significance of organizational resources like money, knowledge, and social capital in shaping the strategies and outcomes of environmental groups. Organizations with more money might be better able to campaign, take legal action, and educate the public, increasing the possibility that they will accomplish their environmental aims. The advocacy coalition framework is another useful theoretical framework since it analyzes the political context of environmental issues. Coalitions comprising environmental groups, scientists, lawmakers, and community groups are frequently formed to lobby for policy changes (Yong et al., 2020, p. 220). Their capacity to understand and work within political systems, form coalitions, and articulate policy priorities will determine their success.

Empirical Evidence and Case Studies

There is a wide variety of environmental groupings and strategies, and empirical evidence sheds light on them. The paper by Diani and Donati on organizational transformation in Western European environmental groups provides a useful foundation for investigating the inner workings of these groups. Decision-making procedures, coalition formation, and implementing novel tactics are only some topics explored in this research. This article sheds insight on the elements that contribute to an organization’s success and its potential to impact environmental outcomes by reviewing case studies from Western European countries.

Articles published in Environmental Politics add to our knowledge of the range and strategies employed by environmental organizations. For instance, in 1999, the magazine dedicated a special issue to the difficulties faced by environmental groups and the methods they used to influence legislation. Using examples from various nations, the authors of this collection of essays demonstrate how variables such as political opportunity structures, framing methods, and grassroots mobilization affect the success of environmental organizations. In addition, Carter’s chapter in the book sheds light on the tactics used by various eco-organizations. Methods used by both established advocacy groups and grassroots organizations are analyzed. Understanding the effectiveness of their strategies—including direct action, policy advocacy, community organizing, and public awareness campaigns—is possible by examining these approaches.


A complex organizational landscape emerges from examining various environmental groups, their strategies, and their success in protecting the environment. Theories like resource mobilization and the advocacy coalition framework shed light on the variables that make environmental organizations successful. To better understand the strategies adopted by environmental groups and the results they produce, one might look to the empirical evidence provided by Diani and Donati’s framework and research articles on Environmental Politics. Environmental groups can be more successful when they can access sufficient resources and engage in smart coalition building. In addition, the techniques used by these groups are heavily influenced by context-specific problems and possibilities, such as political systems and public opinion. Policymakers, scholars, and activists can learn more about the factors contributing to effective environmental lobbying by studying the many environmental groups and their strategies. With this information, policymakers and other interested parties may work together to safeguard the environment better.

Question 3: Should we rely on regulatory, market-based, voluntary, or information-based environmental policy instruments, and why? Use theory and examples of existing policy instruments to argue your position


Creating strong environmental policies can only solve the most urgent environmental problems. However, these initiatives efficacy heavily depends on the policy instruments chosen. The efficient and cost-effective attainment of environmental goals depends on selecting suitable policy instruments. To develop effective environmental policies, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each instrument. By comparing the benefits and drawbacks of regulatory, market-based, voluntary, and information-based instruments, we can decide which technique will most likely deliver favorable outcomes and contribute to long-term environmental sustainability. This paper seeks to advocate for a position on whether regulatory, market-based, voluntary, or information-based environmental policy instruments should be depended upon.

Theoretical Perspectives

Several theoretical lenses can be applied to investigate environmental policy instrument selection. The market-based approach is important because it highlights the role of economic incentives like taxes, subsidies, and carbon trading in internalizing environmental costs and fostering efficient resource allocation. The argument for market-based instruments is that they allow market forces to drive environmental changes, which is flexible, cost-effective, and encourages innovation. In contrast, regulatory strategies involve establishing formal norms and procedures to manage environmental problems. This strategy reduces pollution by using command and control mechanisms, such as regulatory constraints and punitive fines. Proponents of regulatory instruments believe that they guarantee the achievement of environmental goals by providing certainty, clear guidelines, and direct enforcement.

Collaboration between governments, industries, and other stakeholders is essential for voluntary initiatives like voluntary agreements and self-regulation in achieving environmental objectives (Barton et al., 2017, p. 410). The success of these tools depends on people going above and beyond what the law requires. Advocates for voluntary approaches say they develop a sense of ownership and responsibility while encouraging industry participation, flexibility, and creativity. The goal of informational instruments is to impact behavior and choice by making important information more accessible and increasing levels of awareness. Labeling systems, public information campaigns, and green schooling all fall under this strategy category. Informational tools encourage sustainable decision-making, increase transparency, and give customers more agency.

Empirical Evidence and Case Studies

When comparing the efficacy of various policy instruments, empirical evidence is crucial. The work of Harrington, Morgenstern, and Sterner thoroughly examines case studies from the United States and Europe, contrasting the instruments and consequences of environmental policy. This study compares the effectiveness of regulatory, market-based, and voluntary approaches, shedding light on the advantages and disadvantages of each tool. In addition, studies published in the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning shed light on the efficiency of policy instruments. These studies examine the results of particular instruments in various fields and geographical areas, providing useful information for those interested in putting theoretical knowledge into practice. You can make your case using real-world examples and policy tools already in place. The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is one example of a market-based mechanism that effectively lowers greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Air Act in the United States is another example of how regulatory tools can effectively reduce air pollution.


In a conclusive overview, it’s important to keep the context and desired outcomes in mind when deciding on environmental policy tools. Market-based instruments are adaptable and economical; they let market forces propel environmental development. Regulatory strategies offer stability and direct enforcement but might be considered rigid. Although voluntary approaches encourage industry participation and innovation, they depend on willing participants going above and beyond the law’s requirements. Although information-based instruments provide consumers with more agency and increase transparency, they may need to be supplemented with other policies. These tools can be used together to address environmental policy more comprehensively, considering the strengths and limitations of each. Market-based instruments are one such example. These tools can be used together to address environmental policy more comprehensively, considering the strengths and limitations of each. Instruments based on the market are one example.

Question 4: Use up to two environmental regimes of your choice to analyze what explains the success and failure of international environmental cooperation. Draw on both theory and empirical evidence


The world’s environmental problems can only be solved by coordinated efforts globally. However, the degree to which such collaboration succeeds or fails can vary greatly between environmental regimes. It is vital to comprehend the aspects that contribute to the accomplishment or failure of these regimes. This article aims to compare and contrast two environmental regimes by dissecting the elements that contributed to or undermined international environmental cooperation. The two regimes used for this study are the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

Many people consider the Montreal Protocol the most effective environmental accord ever made. The following factors contribute to its success:

Scientific Consensus: The overwhelming scientific evidence that ozone-depleting chemicals (ODS) constitute a serious threat to the ozone layer is largely responsible for the protocol’s success. The widespread agreement among scientists was essential in raising awareness and persuading governments to act (Chasek et al., 2017, p. 45).

Technological Feasibility: Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were developed as replacements for ODS and were instrumental in the success of the Montreal Protocol (Tietenberg and Lewis, 2018, p. 23). Countries could more easily meet their goals since alternatives were available.

Financial and Technological Assistance: The developed world helped the developing world meet the protocol’s goals by providing resources and knowledge. By reducing economic and technological disparities, this aid increased the overall efficiency of the cooperation.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol have made important contributions toward combating climate change, although their impact has been limited. The following factors help explain the mixed outcomes:

Complex and Diverse Actors: Developed and developing nations, each with its own set of objectives and interests, are all involved in the UNFCCC. Because of these differences in duty and ability to solve climate change, reaching an agreement is difficult.

Differential Commitments: Historically varied levels of emission production and economic growth are considered under the UNFCCC’s “common but differentiated responsibilities” premise (Nordhaus, 2015, p. 1340). Unfortunately, this has led to a need for more agreement and consensus about burden-sharing mechanisms, especially between rich and developing nations.

Lack of Enforcement Mechanisms: The Kyoto Protocol needed more effective enforcement tools than the Montreal Protocol. It could have been more effective because it lacked firm promises and real repercussions for noncompliance. The influence of the convention was further weakened by the fact that significant emitters, like the United States, withdrew their support for it.


In a conclusive overview, several aspects, such as scientific agreement, technical potential, financial backing, actor variety, differential pledges, and enforcement mechanisms, affect the success or failure of international environmental cooperation. The UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol emphasize the difficulties of different parties, divergent commitments, and insufficient enforcement mechanisms, while the Montreal Protocol demonstrates the positive achievements attained through such factors. A thorough understanding of these elements is essential to improve international collaboration in response to global environmental concerns and to build successful environmental regimes.

Reference List

Abou-Chadi, T., 2016. Niche party success and mainstream party policy shifts–how green and radical right parties differ in their impact. British Journal of Political Science46(2), pp.417-436.

Barton, D.N., Benavides, K., Chacon‐Cascante, A., Le Coq, J.F., Quiros, M.M., Porras, I., Primmer, E. and Ring, I., 2017. Payments for Ecosystem Services as a Policy Mix: Demonstrating the institutional analysis and development framework on conservation policy instruments. Environmental Policy and Governance27(5), pp.404-421.

Carter, N., 2018. The politics of the environment: Ideas, activism, policy. Cambridge University Press.

Chasek, PS. Dawnie, DL, Brown JW. 2017. Effective Environmental Regimes. Chapter 5. IN Global Environmental Regimes. Chasek, PS. Dawnie, DL, Brown JW. (eds.) Boulder, Colo: Westview Press. (see also Chapter 1) Journals: Global Environmental Politics; International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

Diani, M. and Donati, P.R., 1999. Organizational change in Western European environmental groups: a framework for analysis. Environmental Politics8(1), pp.13-34.

Harrington, W., Morgenstern, R.D., Morgenstern, R.D. and Sterner, T. eds., 2004. Choosing environmental policy: comparing instruments and outcomes in the United States and Europe. Resources for the Future.

Nordhaus, W., 2015. Climate clubs: Overcoming free-riding in international climate policy. American Economic Review105(4), pp.1339-1370.

Tietenberg, T. and Lewis, L., 2018. Environmental and natural resource economics. Routledge.

Van Haute, E. ed., 2016. Green parties in Europe (pp. 416-424). London: Routledge.

Yong, J.Y., Yusliza, M.Y., Ramayah, T., Chiappetta Jabbour, C.J., Sehnem, S. and Mani, V., 2020. Pathways towards sustainability in manufacturing organizations: Empirical evidence on the role of green human resource management. Business Strategy and the Environment29(1), pp.212-228.


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