COP26 and the dynamics of anti‐fossil fuel norms

Harro van Asselt*, Fergus Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Notwithstanding the clear contribution of fossil fuel production and consumption to global greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuels have remained largely outside the focus of the international regime established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 2021 Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26) marked an important change, however, with fossil fuels featuring prominently in the intergovernmental negotiations as well as on the side-lines of the conference. Here we discuss these developments as a site for contestations around “anti-fossil fuel norms.” We argue that anti-fossil fuel norms are increasingly being adopted and institutionalized. However, ongoing contestation among proponents and opponents of measures to tackle fossil fuels raises important questions over the specific content of emerging norms, the role of the fossil fuel industry in climate governance, the extent to which these norms “fit” with their broader normative context, and the conditions of North–South cooperation in which such norms are to be implemented. This article is categorized under: Policy and Governance > International Policy Framework Policy and Governance > Private Governance of Climate Change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere816
Number of pages12
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Issue number3
Early online date17 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • COP26
  • climate policy
  • fossil fuels


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