Climate Obstruction and Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective

  • The fight against climate change continues to be hindered by campaigns of corporate and other actors who seek to prevent global and/or national action on climate change. This research group is set up to a joint and comparative research agenda on climate obstruction in and across key Global South countries. The lead institutions are the GIGA and the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).
    DAAD/CAPES, 2024-2026


    Ass. Prof. Dr. Carlos R. S. Milani

    Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

    Dr. Diego Ives de Quadros

    Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

    Janaína Pinto

    Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

    Logo  CEPUERJ Weißraum


    The main research question in this project is how climate obstruction actors set up connections with foreign policy and regional integration strategies in countries such as Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey, but also in the European Union and the USA.

    Beitrag zu internationaler Forschung

    Climate obstruction broadly refers to campaigns and other policy actions led by well-organized and financed networks of corporate and other actors who have actively sought to prevent global and/or national action on climate change over the past four decades (Brulle & Dunlap, 2021). In this project, we jointly work with a definition of climate obstruction as the intentional denying, slowing or blocking of policy or action on climate change that is commensurate with the current scientific consensus of what is necessary to avoid dangerous human-caused interference with the climate system. Efforts deployed by climate obstruction actors have delayed ambitious climate action using organized mainstream and social media campaigns, lobbying, funding politicians and political campaigns, and disseminating climate-delaying discourses and practices (Lamb et al., 2020) across all levels of social aggregation, i.e. local, national, regional and global. In turn, these campaigns often shape public debates, which can affect political support and collective mobilization to mitigate climate change and adapt to it. However, to date, most of the research on climate obstruction has focused on countries in the Global North, especially the United States.

    Because the international political economy and the nation-state are critical in creating the conditions and the arenas, which have shaped the emergence of climate obstruction in the Global North, research in and on the Global South is needed on how in-country or domestic actors (including the state administrations, corporations, think tanks, public relations firms etc.) respond to the global and transnational networks, are funded by them, and begin implementing activities related to lobbying, disinformation, and dissemination of nonscientific views on climate change. Moreover, Latin American regionalisms have in the past been characterised by, among other things, a relative openness to new issues and its intergovernmental and interpresidential character. This justifies the expectation that political-ideological changes in the presidencies have an impact (both positive and negative) on the climate policy agenda of regional organisations.

    Forschungsdesign und Methoden

    Comparative case studies (Brazil, India, Turkey and USA) is the key methodology our project. In addition, we also aim at understanding if and how the climate agenda is institutionalized in regional integration strategies, and if climate obstruction produces spill-over effects on regional institutions and inter-regional agreements (for instance, Brazil under Bolsonaro in the case of Mercosur and in the case of EU-Mercosur agreement).

    The project setup includes various personal exchanges between the researchers from GIGA and UERJ. These will be used for conducting joint research, carrying out interviews and archival work, as well as teaching or giving lectures at the respective host institution.


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