Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evaluation of climate policy is rocketing but in an ‘undeveloped and unsystematic’ way, according to new study

Date:
July 5, 2011
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
New research shines new light on the little studied but politically vital practices of climate policy evaluation in Europe.

New research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the VU University Amsterdam shines new light on the little studied but politically vital practices of climate policy evaluation in Europe.

Published in the international journal Policy Sciences, a meta-analysis by a team of researchers from across Europe offers the very first systematic cataloging of the emerging patterns of policy evaluation undertaken in different parts of the European Union.

In the last decade or so the politics surrounding the development of new policies has attracted unprecedented attention. Many new targets and policies have been adopted. But a lot less is known about what is being done to check that the resulting policies are actually delivering on their promises.

The findings reveal that a culture of evaluation is emerging: the number of evaluations produced has grown spectacularly in recent years. Data collected for six EU states and for the EU as a whole reveal an eightfold increase in the number of reports produced between 2000 and 2005. This growth, however, is more evident in some states than others. Policy effects in the UK, for example, are much more commonly evaluated than those in Portugal and Poland.

However, the culture of evaluation varies in other important ways. The majority of the 259 evaluations identified and studied also adopt a relatively narrow selection of evaluation tools and lack intensive stakeholder involvement. Crucially, over 80 per cent are uncritical i.e. they take existing policy goals as given. Finally, the majority are also quite narrowly framed, in focusing mainly on the environmental effectiveness and/or cost effectiveness of existing policies.

"Whether climate governance is undertaken through the United Nations or -- as now seems more likely -- via more informal 'pledge and review' type processes, evaluation practices are absolutely crucial for fine-tuning policy interventions and building and sustaining public trust," said joint lead author Prof Andrew Jordan of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

"The most striking finding of our analysis is just how undeveloped and unsystematic are most current evaluation practices. Great efforts have been made to inform and understand policy making procedures in Europe, but most policy evaluation remains piecemeal and non-consultative."

As the political pressure on policy makers to describe and explain what is being done to tackle climate change increases, calls will grow for evaluation to be undertaken in a more open and transparent fashion.

"At present, policy systems in Europe seem ill-prepared to rise to that challenge," said Prof Jordan.

The other lead author, Dr Dave Huitema of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the VU University Amsterdam (IVM), said there was a "wide gap between evaluation theory and practice, which suggests that current evaluations underestimate the complexity of climate change issues."

University researchers emerged as the most active policy evaluators in Europe. At present the majority of evaluations (58 per cent) are not commissioned. Policy makers could increase the total evaluation effort by commissioning more evaluations from a wider array of organisations. However, this may not necessarily produce a more active and questioning culture of evaluation. At present, non-commissioned evaluations are twice as likely to question policy goals as commissioned ones. By contrast, parliamentary bodies have produced a relatively large number of critical evaluations. The responsibility for enhancing the quality and the quantity of evaluations is therefore shared.

The research was funded by the EU FP6 ADAM project, which UEA coordinated between 2006 and 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dave Huitema, Andrew Jordan, Eric Massey, Tim Rayner, Harro Asselt, Constanze Haug, Roger Hildingsson, Suvi Monni, Johannes Stripple. The evaluation of climate policy: theory and emerging practice in Europe. Policy Sciences, 2011; 44 (2): 179 DOI: 10.1007/s11077-011-9125-7

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Evaluation of climate policy is rocketing but in an ‘undeveloped and unsystematic’ way, according to new study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705103547.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2011, July 5). Evaluation of climate policy is rocketing but in an ‘undeveloped and unsystematic’ way, according to new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705103547.htm
University of East Anglia. "Evaluation of climate policy is rocketing but in an ‘undeveloped and unsystematic’ way, according to new study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705103547.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins