chapter  4
23 Pages

Community and the governing of climate change

One long-standing feature of environmental governance in general is the involvement of community-based and “civil society” organizations in all aspects of politics as advocates, educators, implementers, and active citizens; as makers as well as shapers of policy.1 It is unsurprising, then, that a wide array of social or community actors, including various voluntary groups, NGOs, and civil society institutions, have also been critical of the politics of climate change.2 Because addressing climate change implies actions at all levels, and as we show in the Introduction, change in everyday patterns of production and consumption, engaging communities in mitigation and adaptation efforts, is also a key policy goal. At the most basic level, without the participation of the public-for example, in terms of their acquiescence to new forms of carbon regulation, their participation in carbon markets, or changing behavioral practices at home and at work-climate policy will fail to achieve the targeted reductions in GHG emissions. Urging communities to “do their bit,” national and local governments, as well as a range of non-state actors, have sought to engage communities in responding to climate change. Social responses to climate change-much like those of the market (Chapter 5)—therefore involve a complex mixture of public and private authority, top-down direction, and bottom-up experimentation.