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Pioneers, Vanguards, Forerunners, Leaders in Environmental Policy: Concept and Attributions

Helmut Weidner
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Helge Jörgens
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL
Miranda Schreurs
Hochschule für Politik an der Technische Universität München
Helmut Weidner
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Open Panel

Abstract

Pioneers in environmental policy seem to be decisive for stimulating progress in that area. Especially for global problems pioneers are considered to be crucial for breaking impasses in international negotiations. But what defines a “pioneer”: the first step (successful or not) and/ or demanding goals? Who determines who is a “pioneer”? Could there be pioneers without followers? What are the incentives and alleged benefits to act as a pioneer (in a national or international context)? What kind of capacities and capabilities are needed to become a pioneer? Is there an “up and down” cycle of pioneer countries? The paper aims at a clarification of the term “environmental pioneer” in both theoretical-analytical and empirical perspective.