Managing slow onset events related to climate change: the role of public bureaucracy

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Tosun J., Howlett M.

Slow onset events by definition occur gradually and it might be expected that policy-makers as a result pay less attention to them than to immediate risks or ‘shock’ crises. If this is true and what can be done about it are important issues for climate change policy-making, given the gradual nature of many climate related issues. Public bureaucracies at different levels of government can play an important role in managing such gradual events, for example, framing or re-framing them in such a way as to affect their placement on a government's issue agenda, or affecting how policy responses to them are formulated. This review examines the role of public bureaucracies in the management of slow onset climate change events. It develops a model of bureaucratic influence on climate policy-making, which is then subjected to a plausibility probe by comparing it to the findings of the existing literature on the subject.