Laura Iozzelli successfully defends PhD thesis

We are pleased to announce that on 1 July 2021, Laura Iozzelli successfully defended her PhD thesis on the topic entitled “Regulating Climate Change Transnationally: Assessing and Explaining Transparency and Participation in Climate Governance Initiatives”. The PhD defence started with a welcome note by Prof. Jamal Shahin (Brussels School of Governance) and with introduction by Prof. Benjamin Denis (Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles). Laura’s promoters were Prof. Sebastian Oberthür (Brussels School of Governance) and Prof. Amandine Orsini (Université Saint-Louis, Bruxelles). Other Phd jury members were Prof. Philipp Pattberg (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Prof. Katja Biedenkopf (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), and Prof. Claire Dupont (Universiteit Gent). 
The Brussels School of Governance would like to congratulate to Dr. Laura Iozzelli on this achievement! Below you can read more about her PhD thesis.



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.