About Matthew Paterson

Matthew Paterson is Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.

Matthew Paterson

Whose Views? Climate Change Governance and the Politics of Expertise

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has long been regarded as the most authoritative guide to the status of knowledge about climate change. Read any report by a government, international organization, business group or NGO and they almost always start by citing the IPCC to justify action on climate change – both whether to act, a… Read More

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The UNFCCC and Beyond: Transnational Climate Change Governance

The world’s attention (or at least that bit of it thinking about climate change at all) is focused again on the annual UN negotiations that convene for two weeks every December. This year in Lima, increasing attention is being given to a huge array of initiatives that work outside, or alongside, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Acad… Read More

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With U.S.-China Climate Deal, Canada’s Isolation Deepens

Tuesday’s U.S.-China climate deal has been hailed widely as an “historic deal” that dramatically changes the dynamics of international climate politics as countries search for a new global agreement by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Climate Convention in Paris in 2015. Clearly it is a welcome development in a number of senses: it invo… Read More

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New Thinking on Global Climate Governance

While international negotiations on climate change continue to stall, innovative action to address it goes on in a wide range of places and involving a dizzying array of actors. Most people have tended to place their hopes on a single international treaty that will make authoritative decisions binding everyone to deal with climate change. However, in res… Read More

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Thinking Again About the Crisis of EU Climate Policy

The demise of carbon markets has been predicted a number of times. The latest episode to provoke this claim was the failure of the European Parliament to strengthen the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) in a recent vote on what is called ‘backloading’, or withholding a number of emission allowances under the system from auction to create sca… Read More

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Exploring Global Governance Networks

How is global governance organized? For many complicated issues, governance is being pursued at multiple sites, by different actors, at different levels and, in many cases, across space in a messy transnational fashion. What, then, are fruitful ways of understanding these processes (for example, the patterns we see in certain sorts of governance opera… Read More

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If Only We Could Take the Politics Out….

‘If only we could take the politics out’ has become a ubiquitous cry in contemporary political life. This can be seen everywhere, but Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is a classic instance. It has been decried from all sides as one in which ‘politics’ intruded into a decision that (purportedly) should not have been political. I… Read More

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Going Rogue: Canada and the Kyoto Protocol

So the Canadian government is apparently planning, according to numerous media reports, to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. The Environment Minister, Peter Kent, refuses to confirm or deny the reports. The surprise should perhaps precisely be that this is not a surprise. Before the rumours, it was unthinkable that a government, especially a … Read More

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The World Energy Outlook and North Pole Crocodiles

So the International Energy Agency (IEA) produced its annual World Energy Outlook this year. The central message seems to be: PANIC! IT MAY BE TOO LATE. When a sober organisation full of technocrats and policy wonks screams panic, you know something is up. However, the IEA was founded precisely on panic: in the aftermath of the 1973-4 oil crisis, industrial… Read More

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Arctic Ice, Oil Sands Protests, and Canadian Climate Change Policy

Last month saw two events of interest on the climate change front. One is the protest on September 26 in Ottawa by activists opposing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to be built from Alberta to Louisiana in order to take oil from the Alberta oil sands/ tar sands (the label indicating your position on the subject) down to the U.S. The other is the news that the su… Read More

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