A mismatch in sustainable development and implementation discourses? A discourse analysis on the Dutch Climate Agreement between national and provincial level

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In 2016, the European Union signed the Paris Climate Agreement, also on behalf of the Netherlands. By 2030, CO2 emissions in the Netherlands must reduce by at least 55% as a prelude to a climate-neutral Netherlands in 2050. Consequently, the Dutch Climate Agreement was signed by all forms of governments and public and private stakeholders. The goal of this study is to explore the mismatching discourses on the Dutch Climate Agreement between national and provincial governments, especially how mismatching discourses pose challenges for Flevoland to implement sustainable policy. The main units of analysis are the Province of Flevoland and the national government. A discourse analysis was carried out. 19 written governmental documents were analysed and coded, and 10 semi-structured were carried out, transcribed, analysed, and coded as well. The results present discursive mismatches on ontological, normative, and strategic layers. The most striking result was that the mismatches uncovered a deeper mismatch threatening a successful implementation of climate policy: treating symptoms instead of root cause, i.e., no focus on indirect drivers of sustainability issues, suggesting that an intended sustainable societal change will not happen as a real transition cannot take place without focusing on the indirect drivers of climate change.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen