In recent years, it has become clear that human-induced climate change will pose a major challenge to the world in this century. To meet this challenge, we need significant changes in human behaviour and in local and global policies for mitigating global warming and adapting to climate change. Climate governance is concerned with these social and political changes. In the past, environmental policy was mostly seen as a task of national states, but the arena of climate change action has become much more diverse. Forerunners among multinational companies have started taking initiatives which, for instance in the USA, go far beyond state regulations. Environmental NGOs and development organizations take part in climate negotiations and mobilize other state and non-state actors. Active cooperation of companies and consumers is a precondition for the successful formulation and implementation of environmental measures.
Under the heading of climate governance, social scientists study these dynamic processes where activities on different levels and of different actors mutually influence each other. Topics investigated include, among others, the following ones. Formation of international policy regimes, such as the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change: which powers are in play, and how can regimes become effective? Interaction of science and policy: how much policy is there in science, and how much science in policy? Risk and uncertainty: how to deal with high degrees of uncertainty in formulating and communicating policies? Public perceptions of climate change: what are feasible strategies for education and participation of citizens and consumers? Climate change and development: many developing countries that hardly contribute to climate change are most severely threatened by its impacts. How to adjust this unfair balance of responsibility and vulnerability? Companies and climate change: how do companies take up the challenge of climate change and what does that mean for their relations with business partners and consumers?