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Limiting costs or correcting market failures? : Finance ministries and frame alignment in UN climate finance negotiations

  • Jakob Skovgaard
Publishing year: 2017-02
Language: English
Pages: 89-106
Publication/Series: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Volume: 17
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

Finance ministries are increasingly involved in UN climate finance negotiations,
yet this development received very limited attention in the literature on climate finance or climate negotiations. It is not obvious from the literature on bureaucratic politics how these ministries will position themselves on climate finance: they may frame climate finance as expenditure to be limited or as an instrument for correcting the market failure of climate change. This paper investigates which frames have characterised the positions of finance ministries on key issues in the climate finance negotiations, and whether the use of a given frame corresponds to particular factors. Case studies of Denmark, India, Indonesia and the USA based on official documents and interviews show that the position of each finance ministry is generally consistent with one particular frame. The Indonesian and Danish finance ministries predominantly framed climate finance as a way of correcting a market
failure. The Indian Ministry of Finance emphasised Common but Differentiated Responsibilities,which fits with the budget frame. The US Treasury’s position similarly fits with the budget frame while sharing elements of the market failure frame. Finance ministries that had the lead on climate finance were more likely follow the budget frame. The use of both frames cuts across the divide between industrialised and emerging economies. With the exception of the USA, left- and right-wing governments were equally likely to adopt either frame. These findings indicate that strengthening finance ministry forums built around the market failure frame can be a way of reducing norm fragmentation.


  • Political Science


  • ISSN: 1573-1553
Jakob Skovgaard
E-mail: jakob [dot] skovgaard [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se


Department of Political Science

+46 46 222 97 76



Senior Lecturer

Jakob holds a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, and prior to joining the Department he worked in the international climate change team at the Danish Ministry of Finance including during the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen.

Research Environment

Department of Political Science
Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences