The Corona pandemic - a focusing event for insufficient governmental action on climate change mitigation?

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This study seeks to examine whether the Corona pandemic has potential to serve as a focusing event for the problem of insufficient governmental action on climate change mitigation. The study is built on the Multiple Streams Framework by John W. Kingdon, with a main focus on the focusing event theory. According to this, focusing events can come in three forms: as crises and disasters, personal experiences of policymakers, and as symbols. Kingdon’s theoretical discussions, alongside my own developments of his work, provides the basis for a set of analytical questions through which the answer to the research question is provided. The analysis reveals that while the pandemic indeed can be considered a crisis or disaster and personal experiences of policymakers, establishing whether these could focus attention to the specific problem of insufficient governmental action on climate change mitigation requires further research, as the perceived cause of the crisis or disaster and personal experience must be established. However, the paper finds that the pandemic indeed has potential to serve as a symbol for the specific insufficient governmental action, for instance by stressing that deforestation increases the risk of zoonotic outbreaks, such as the Corona pandemic.

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