ARCA - Post-Growth innovation Lab


ARCA: Towards an Appropriate Climate Responsibility: how the appropriate responsibility narrative can affect the behavior of public administrations in the face of climate change

This project addresses the ecological transition in its climate change mitigation dimension. Climate change is a global collective action problem, where mitigation costs are individual and benefits are diffuse, creating incentives for inaction. The conventional literature on collective action would foresee impossible the solution of this problem without a higher-order agent capable of imposing rules, monitoring the performance of actors and establishing sanctions for non-compliance. Despite international diplomacy efforts, it has not yet been possible to establish such a system.

However, whether international agreements are reached or not, there exists a multitude of possible organized responses to mitigate climate change that can be (and are!) autonomously carried out at different administrative levels, involving public organizations, the private sector and local groups. Rather than focusing solely on global efforts (which are, of course, necessary), it would be preferable to encourage polycentric efforts.

The main hypothesis of the present project suggests that appropriate responsibility may play a critical role in this polycentric response to climate change. We define appropriate responsibility as the allocation to an individual actor of a specific quota, role or task that is part of a shared responsibility. This appropriate responsibility helps stakeholders determine their place in collective action, know their share of responsibility, and plan the actions necessary to carry out their part of the work.

More specifically, the purpose of this study is to help local administrations determine their territories’ share of responsibility for climate change (which we will call ARCA, for the Spanish name of Asignación de Responsabilidad Climática Apropiada), and to assess the effect that this narrative of appropriate responsibility has on their public policy commitments towards mitigation. Different types of interventions will be carried out (on random samples of municipalities in Spain) to assess how the communication of a precise appropriate responsibility affects the willingness of the actor to take on climate commitments.

Principal Investigator: David Soto Oñate & Mario Pansera

Duration: 01/12/2022 to 30/11/2024

More info about the project coming soon

This project is funded by Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Proyectos Estratégicos Orientados a la Transición Ecológica y la Transición Digital-2021). Ref. TED2021-131826A-I00. Budget: 124.890 €