Public Ph.D defense of Laura Iozzelli: Regulating Climate Change Transnationally: Assessing and Explaining Transparency and Participation in Climate Governance Initiatives

Thursday 01 July 2021, 17:00 to 19:00

The public defense of Laura Iozzelli will take place on Thursday, July 1st at 17h00, in an hybrid format.


Climate change is regulated by an increasingly variegated set of actors and governance initiatives. Launched by private and public actors in cooperation with or independently from central governments and international organizations, transnational initiatives with a rule, standard and target setting function (or ‘regulatory’ initiatives) have received increasing attention, particularly given their potential to enhance two key legitimacy dimensions in global climate governance, namely transparency and stakeholder participation. At the same time, regulatory initiatives’ level of information disclosure has been questioned and assessments of their participatory quality are still largely missing.

Against this background, this PhD thesis aims to test the promise of transnational regulatory initiatives to make global climate governance more legitimate by providing a systematic and encompassing analysis of the transparency and participatory quality of a set of these initiatives. First, drawing on the literature on legitimacy in transnational climate governance in particular, it builds two frameworks for assessing both the quantity and quality of the transparency and participation provided by regulatory initiatives. Second, it applies these frameworks to 56 cases which were compiled through a comprehensive review of existing databases and online repositories of climate initiatives. The result is an account of the range of transparency and participation scores of these regulatory initiatives. Third, to explain variation across the cases, it correlates the scores with key attributes of regulatory initiatives, including (among others) the nature of their constituting actors, their primary type of regulatory activity, the number of functions they engage in, their geographical origin and their size. Fourth, by means of a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), it identifies what constellations of factors can better explain their transparency and participatory quality.

This thesis underscores a number of concrete limits in both the quantity and quality of regulatory initiatives’ transparency and participation. A key finding is that initiatives which involve public actors, perform multiple functions and are large in size are quite strongly correlated with both high transparency and participation. In contrast, other factors do not yield significant effects. Overall, this PhD thesis contributes to new knowledge by bringing to the fore important flaws with regard to the potential of regulatory initiatives to make global climate governance more transparent and participatory. It underscores significant empirical variation across the cases and identifies factors and combinations of factors that can help account for this variation. It thereby also enables to make a start in explaining important legitimacy gaps in transnational climate governance.

Please click here to register for the (digital) defense.


17:00 Welcome by Chair, Prof. Jamal Sahin (Brussels School of Governance, VUB) and introduction by Prof. Benjamin Denis, Ph.D (Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles)

17:05 Ph.D presentation

17:25 Ph.D defense by Laura Iozzelli

Jury questions from:

  • Prof. Philipp Pattberg - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Prof. Katja Biedenkopf - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Prof. Claire Dupont - Universiteit Gent
  • Prof. Benjamin Denis - Université Saint- Louis, Bruxelles
  •  Prof. Jamal Shahin - Brussels School of Governance, VUB
  • Prof. Amandine Orsini - Université Saint- Louis, Bruxelles

18:20 Q&A with audience

18:30 Deliberation

18:35 Conferment of degree

18:40: Speeches by Promotors Prof. Sebastian Oberthür (Brussels School of Governance, VUB) & Prof. Amandine Orsini (Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles)

18:55 Speech by Laura Iozzelli

19:00 Closing