ELONGATED GOVERNANCE


Elongated Governance is a turn towards long-term strategic action on climate change that unfolds simultaneously along structural and temporallines. Change is needed to address the discrepancy between short election cycles, with their inherent bias towards short termism, and the far-reach - ing political vision needed for action on climate change. Elongated Governance is a strategy to counteract the political “rhythm of entrenched cycles” 1 which has thus far shown itself to be incapable of the rapid restructuring of the global economy required for consequential political and economic change. Strategies include a call for reform of the prevalent first past the post system in the electoral process of the United Kingdom and United States, where it is dif - ficult for alternative, smaller parties to emerge, and in the United States through campaign finance reform to unlink government policy from corporate interests. It is key to inte - grate vertical and horizontal governance structures. Vertical governance structures being hierarchical arrangements in which a higher level (eg. the nation state) is authorised to is - sue instructions to a subordinate level (eg. cities) and make decisions that are binding for it. An alternative – horizontal governance structures would allow for a voluntary associa - tion of actors on one level, eg. cities in city networks. 2 Elongated Governance actions are increasingly coming from diverse jurisdictions including non-state actors promoting regulation at a community or regional rather than state or federal level, commitments by cities to CO 2 reduction and legal actions led by citizen groups. Examples of such dis - persal of action include divestment from fossil fuels, and the recent Dutch court ruling in the world’s first successful climate liability suit that the Dutch government must reduce emissions by 25% within five years to protect its citizens from climate change.This trend to alter the short-term cy - cles of government can also be seen in the re-organisation of a range of current political movements, for example in the United Kingdom, the claim by Jeremy Corbyn that he is concentrating on a “social movement” with broad social support for a range of progressive issues being a goal equal to that of electability. Elongated Governance is a strategy to be pursued alongside electoral work, seeing social move - ment action as a way of expanding possibilities therein.

1. Dylan Taylor, ‘The Esra Think Tank’ (interview), Saturday Morning, Radio New Zealand, 17 September 2016.

2. ‘Humanity on the Move: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Cities’, German Advisory Council on Global Change (WGBU) Report, Berlin 2016, 510.

3. See Arthur Nelson, ‘Dutch Government Ordered to Cut Greenhouse Emissions in Landmark Ruling’, The Guardian, 24 June 2016; and 350. org https://breakfree2016.org/.

Mark