Addressing climate change and promoting democracy abroad: Compatible agendas?

Christopher Edward Hobson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This inquiry focuses on how climate change might intervene with the democracy support agenda. On first glance it may seem unusual to combine these issues, but as will be shown, they are increasingly impinging upon each other. The inquiry considers how climate change raises questions for all the major components of democracy promotion: the end itself, the means used to support democratization, and the actors involved. In regards to the ends of democracy assistance, if democracies fail to adequately respond to global warming, the desirability of this form of rule could be weakened, especially if China is perceived as representing an attractive alternative. In terms of means, environmental disasters could directly impact upon democratization projects that are instituted, as well as worsening 'donor fatigue'. As for the actors involved, the moral authority of industrialized democracies is likely to be questioned due to their historical culpability and present failure in making serious progress in reducing emissions. By examining these issues together it can be seen that climate change could pose an increasingly significant challenge to the democracy promotion agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-992
Number of pages19
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Backlash
  • China
  • Climate change
  • Democracy promotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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