The green ‘superpowers’: the climate policies of the Nordic countries

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


The Nordic countries are very often seen as leaders in climate policies; a leadership which is demonstrated both by their ambitious goals when it comes to GHG reduction targets as well as renewable energy. Rather than further underpinning this claim this paper, which is a comparative study of the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland) aims at finding the root causes of this long-time leadership. Furthermore, the article tries to explain the uniformity of the climate policies of the Nordic countries, which is quite surprising given the very different geographical/geological preconditions of the different countries.
The answer to the first question is found in the combination of strong popular support of green policies, and a strong hegemonic ecological modernization discourse enabling broad compromises on ambitious climate policies by combining them with strategies for economic growth based on green technologies.
In answering the second question it is firstly demonstrated that the Nordic countries are quite uniform when it comes to GHG reduction targets as well as choice of policy instruments. Secondly, it is shown that this uniformity is produced by a number of different institutions constituting a framework for collaboration among the Nordic countries in the area of climate and energy policies. These institutions were found to be The Nordic Council of Ministers, the European Union, the municipalities in the Nordic countries and different market based arrangements, like for example the Scandinavian common market for electricity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateJun 2016
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
EventUACES Conference: Workshop on “Small European states and the politics of climate change” - School of Law and Government, Dublin City University , Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 1 Jun 20162 Jun 2016


ConferenceUACES Conference
LocationSchool of Law and Government, Dublin City University

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - climate policy, Nordic countries, renewable energy, welfare state, public support, local government

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