Assessing the effectiveness of orchestrated climate action from five years of summits

Chan, Sander / Thomas Hale / Andrew Denault / Manish Shrivastava / Kennedy Mbeva / Victoria Chengo / Joanes Atela
External Publications (2022)

in: nature climate change 12, 628-633

Open access

Action-oriented summits like the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit and 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, have become a major feature of global climate governance. Their emphasis on cooperative initiatives by a host of non-state and local actors creates high expectations, especially when, according to the IPCC, governments’ policies still set the world on course for a disastrous 2.7 °C warming. While earlier studies have cautioned against undue optimism, empirical evidence on summits and their ability to leverage transnational capacities has been scarce. Here using a dataset of 276 climate initiatives we show important differences in output performance, with no improvement among initiatives associated with more recent summits. A summit’s focus on certain themes and an emphasis on minimal requirements for institutional robustness, however, can positively influence the effectiveness of transnational engagement. These results make an empirical contribution towards understanding the increasingly transnational nature of climate governance.

About the authors


Chan, Sander

Transnational and international environmental politics and governance


Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Breuer, Anita

Political Scientist 

Dick, Eva

Sociologist and Spatial Planner 

Dippel, Beatrice


Donnelly, Aiveen

Politcal Science 

Ekoh, Susan S.

Environmental Research 

Fasold, Maximilian

Political Economy 

Goedeking, Nicholas

Comparative Political Economy 

Haldenwang, Christian von

Political Science 

Houdret, Annabelle

Political Scientist 

Lehmann, Ina

Political Science 

Leininger, Julia

Political Scientist 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Morare, Ditebogo Modiegi

Political Science 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Nowack, Daniel

Political Science 

Pegels, Anna


Roll, Michael


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist