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Climate Policy

Celebrating 20 years of academic research

Climate Policy was launched in 2000, by Professor Michael Grubb.  At that time, climate change was only just emerging onto international and national policy agendas.  Professor Grubb saw a gap in academic publishing.  Journals existed on climate science, but none focussed on policy responses.  Climate Policy thus became the first academic journal dedicated to research on responding to climate change, both in terms of mitigating the problem, and adapting to its impacts

The first volume of Climate Policy was published in 2001, but in keeping with its policy focus, the very first issue was released during The Hague Climate Conference (COP6) in November 2000. 

Twenty years on, Climate Policy publishes 10 issues per year, and is the established leader in a growing field of journals publishing on climate change policy.  Over its first two decades, it has published over 1,600 papers by nearly 2,500 authors from across 78 countries. 

All of these have focussed on important policy issues; some of them have been highly influential in academia, policy or practitioner environments.  As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we asked past and present Editorial Board members, along with some longstanding friends of the journal, to nominate their top 20 papers.  This is the resulting list, in order of publication.

2001 Options for differentiation of future commitments in climate policy: how to realise timely participation to meet stringent climate goals?
Marcel M. Berk & Michel G.J. den Elzen
A key early paper, which focussed on how to share commitments across countries equitably and efficiently. A central theme in 20 years of climate policy.
2002 From impacts assessment to adaptation priorities: the shaping of adaptation
Ian Burton, et al
Started to bridge the academic-policy gap on adaptation, and triggered a rich body of further research.
2004 Does climate adaptation policy need probabilities?
Suraje Dessai & Mike Hulme
Questioned the previous focus on the search for ever better climate projections for impact-response predictions, opening the way to a much broader approach to adaptation.
2006 CO2 cost pass-through and windfall profits in the power sector
Jos Sijm, Karsten Neuhoff & Yihsu Chen
A seminal paper assessing cost pass-through in ETS. It was influential in decisions to go to higher shares of auctioning, with very large public finance implications.
2006 Emissions trading: lessons learnt from the 1st phase of the EU ETS and prospects for the 2nd phase
Regina Betz & Misato Sato
This whole special issue was highly influential in the European Commission’s decision to reject all the proposed second National Allocation Plans by EU member states for the EU ETS, on the grounds that they were too weak. Guest editors: Regina Betz and Karsten Neuhoff.
2007 Why different interpretations of vulnerability matter in climate change discourses
Karen O’Brien, et al
Our most cited article ever. It raised the issue of outcome vulnerability (then dominant) and contextual vulnerability, opening the way for a much more human centred approach to adaptation.
2009 Conceptualizations of justice in climate policy
Sonja Klinksy & Hadi Dowlatabadi
Contested interpretations of justice have always underpinned climate politics. This paper provided an authoritative and insightful overview and analysis of those different conceptualizations.
2009 Creating incentives for avoiding further deforestation: the nested approach
Lucio Pedroni, et al
A key paper in the debates over REDD+, which put forward an approach to avoiding deforestation that is now being implemented.
2011 A border adjustment for the EU ETS: reconciling WTO rules and capacity to tackle carbon leakage
Stéphanie Monjon & Philippe Quirion
An early analysis of issues surrounding the potential implementation of border carbon adjustments in the EU, a policy that the EU is now implementing and is “live” in the policy world.
2012 AOSIS in the UNFCCC negotiations: from unity to fragmentation?
Carola Betzold, Paula Castro & Florian Weiler
An influential paper looking at the workings of country coalitions in the climate change negotiations.

Picture from ENB on the side @ UNFCCC COP-6 in 2001, at the launch of Climate Policy.

Martin Hession and Michael Grubb.

2013 Developments in national climate change mitigation legislation and strategy
Navroz K. Dubash, Markus Hagemann, et al
A landmark paper tracking the roll-out of climate legislation across the globe. It was subsequently updated in 2018.
2015 Carbon emissions trading in China: the evolution from pilots to a nationwide scheme
Zhongxiang Zhang
The most cited contribution to this landmark special supplement on carbon emissions trading in China.
2016 The nexus approach to water–energy–food security: an option for adaptation to climate change
Golam Rasul & Bikash Sharma
Our most read paper ever - 32,254 views and counting – and our second most cited article. It put forward a new framework for understanding the interconnections between water, energy and food in adaptation, and has spawned a vast body of related research.
2016 The need for national deep decarbonization pathways for effective climate policy
Chris Bataille, et al
The top cited paper in our most cited special supplement, reporting on the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, which demonstrated that deep decarbonization was possible, and how it could be achieved.
2016 Inclusive approaches to urban climate adaptation planning and implementation in the Global South
Eric Chu, Isabelle Anguelovski & JoAnn Carmin
A highly influential paper, pointing to the need for inclusive approaches to adaptation, and directing attention to the highly important urban sphere.
2017 China's changing economy: implications for its carbon dioxide emissions
Fergus Green & Nicholas Stern
This incisive analysis of China’s changing economy achieved very high news coverage, and helped to deepen understanding of developments in that country and their implications for the global fight against climate change.
2018 Carbon taxes and greenhouse gas emissions trading systems: what have we learned?
Erik Haites
A seminal review paper, providing a clear and comprehensive assessment of the state of play on carbon pricing across the world.
2019 Including animal to plant protein shifts in climate change mitigation policy: a proposed three-step strategy
Helen Harwatt
Focused on a novel and under-researched topic, this paper received huge coverage in the mainstream media.
2019 Social impacts of climate change mitigation policies and their implications for inequality
S. Markkanen & A. Anger-Kraavi
The social impacts of climate mitigation policies, and their potential implications for inequality, have not received much attention. This widely-read paper starts to fill this gap.
2020 A factor of two: how the mitigation plans of ‘climate progressive’ nations fall far short of Paris-compliant pathways
Kevin Anderson, John F. Broderick & Isak Stoddard
This hard-hitting paper has attracted massive interest on social and mainstream media, along with a huge number of views and rising citations in a short space of time.

An overview of negotiations throughout Climate Policy's history

5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement

Climate Policy has published dozens of influential papers that analyse the Paris Agreement and prospects for its implementation, proposing new and innovative ways to maximise the impact. We are delighted to showcase some of the best contributions.
Read the Collection

Chat Climate Policy - a Twitter Interview

Read through this thread as we discussed the role of academic journals in climate research and the influence on climate policy. A twinterview with Dr Joanna Depledge, editor of Climate Policy, and Dr Lisa Schipper, editor-in-chief of Climate & Development.
Read the Twitter Moment

Climate Policy Twitter