Actor relations in climate policymaking: Governing decarbonisation in a corporatist green state

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article focuses on the role of actor relations in advancing climate policymaking and argues that attempts to understand decisions to decarbonise in a green state should explore the institutional conditions for policymaking. The article explores the climate policy model in Sweden in terms of the societal actors included in the policy process, the nature of this inclusion, and its relevance for the prospects of decarbonisation. It uses three perspectives in the analysis: corporatism, sustainable transition studies, and ecological democracy. The findings largely support existing research that states characterised by corporatist policymaking are suited for environmental governance and for climate policymaking. However, as a model of governance of actor relations, the Swedish climate policymaking model has both its merits and demerits. Although it has potential to reach decarbonisation objectives, it does this in the context of including mainly established economic interests, that is, incumbents. This stands in contrast with what is argued in sustainable transition studies that incumbents obstruct change, in the Swedish case they are viewed as potential change agents. Finally, although the character of the actor relations is deliberative, it is a top–down exclusive kind of deliberation that remains far from ideals of ecological democracy.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • climate policy, corporatism, ecological democracy, green state, sustainability transition
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-408
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Issue number6
Early online date2019 Aug 20
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch