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Denmark as a Climate Change Influencer : Discourses of Ambitions and Power?


  • Esben Pejstrup

Summary, in English

In recent memory the question of climate change has been at the forefront of a great deal of debates at the international level and with the Paris Agreement and the continuation of COP-meetings in the future, the preoccupation with climate change is sure to continue and to involve many different actors. The question of how a state such as Denmark, traditionally known as a state dedicated to fighting climate change, positions itself in today’s regime will thus be able to shed light on some aspects of that debate.
Using theories on leadership, originally developed by Young and since elaborated by Liefferink and Wurzel, this paper investigates the Danish discourse being presented by the Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate on the issue of climate change. This discourse is then situated in a system of climate change governance that is increasingly becoming multi-level and polycentric.
The research finds that Denmark does seek to lead on the issue, but creates a discourse, where a lot of the more challenging leadership is to be done by the EU, while Danish companies, in the tradition of polycentricity, are being framed as leaders by Denmark and vital for success in the global struggle against climate change.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • Denmark
  • climate change
  • discourse analysis
  • European Studies


  • Magdalena Gora