University of Tasmania
whole_NakamuraAkihiro2011_thesis.pdf (30.97 MB)

'Soft' and 'hard' climate policy instruments : policy effectiveness in Australia?

Download (30.97 MB)
posted on 2023-05-26, 18:57 authored by Akihiro Nakamura
A key issue for climate policy, central to this thesis, is the right choice of policy and the appropriate balance between non-coercive and coercive instruments (i.e. regulatory, voluntary, economic and information instruments) - referred to as 'soft' and 'hard' instruments in this thesis. Leaders in every country are seeking to make the right choices of instruments at the domestic and international levels, and a study on instrumental coerciveness is necessary for improving these decisions. However, there has not yet been a method developed for simply defining the influences of 'soft' and 'hard' instruments in terms of reducing GHG emissions. Especially when mixed instruments are involved, both the level of coerciveness and the effectiveness of 'soft' and 'hard' instruments are difficult to distinguish. This thesis involves creating new assessment methods: Identification & Trend Analysis/ Method is developed to assess how a nation allocated its adoption of 'soft' and 'hard' instruments over a certain period; and Effectiveness Analysis/ Method is developed to examine the effectiveness of the 'soft' versus 'hard' policy instruments, in order to evaluate influences in terms of reducing GHG emissions. These two innovative methods will allow policy makers to be able to identify 'soft' and 'hard' instruments, and their trend uses and effectiveness, in relation to climate policy. This thesis also undertakes empirical studies, firstly by looking closely at Australian climate policy under the Australian government during 1997-2007. The domestic policy of this era reflects Australia's carbon intensive circumstances, and its need for a significant reduction in GHG emissions. However, in this period Australia was largely reliant on voluntary based actions, at a time when the rest of the world was demanding strong initiatives from developed nations. Identification & Trend Analysis/ Method, and Effectiveness Analysis/ Method are applied in the Australian context for assessing the influences of 'soft' and 'hard' instruments. This analysis also reveals whether the policy with voluntary based actions encourage a significant reduction of GHG emissions. The thesis finds that large numbers of policy instruments used in Australia's climate policy during 1997-2007 were mixed instruments. The thesis also finds that Australia's national initiatives on the policy during the period examined were largely reliant on relatively 'soft' instruments, and showed a tendency to increase the use of softer instruments over time. In terms of the effectiveness of instruments, although the overall emission trends showed the country increased emissions over this time, the few 'hard' instruments employed were relatively more effective than 'soft' instruments. The results also show that policy based on voluntary-based instruments during 1997-2007 did not encourage a significant reduction of GHG emissions. The thesis concludes that although 'hard' instruments in Australia seem to be more effective than 'soft' instruments, the influences of 'soft' and 'hard' instruments may vary elsewhere depending on circumstances.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 the Author Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2011. Includes bibliographical references. Ch. 1. Introduction -- Ch. 2. Literature review -- Ch. 3. Methodology -- Ch. 4. Australian climate policy, 1997-2007 -- Ch. 5. 'Soft' and 'hard' policy instruments, 1997-2007 -- Ch. 6. 'Soft' versus 'hard' climate policy instruments -- Ch. 7. Discussion

Repository Status

  • Open

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager