Jennifer Bansard, Ph.D. Candidate

Universität Potsdam

Country: Germany

About Me:

I am a doctoral researcher and lecturer at the Chair of International Politics of the University of Potsdam (Germany). My main research interests are climate change and marine biodiversity policy. In my dissertation I examine the emergence in science and policy of “blue carbon”, a concept that refers to the carbon sequestration potential of coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, seagrass meadows or salt marshes.
In addition to my academic work, I am a writer for the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Earth Negotations Bulletin, and as such contribute to reporting on various international environmental conferences (such as on climate change, oceans, or biodiversity).
I have an international academic education and hold Masters Degrees in Environment & Resource Management (VU Amsterdam, Netherlands), International Relations (Sciences Po Aix, France) and Applied Political Sciences (University of Freiburg, Germany). I further gained professional experience at different governance levels in the field of environmental policy: at the German Development Agency GIZ, the United Nations Secretariat for Convention on Biological Diversity, and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.

Research Interests

Environmental Policy

Energy And Climate Policy

Public Policy

Urban Politics


Networks And Politics


Journal Articles:

(2019) Promises and risks of nonstate action in climate and sustainability governance, Wiley

Tags: Energy And Climate Policy, Environmental Policy, State and Local Politics, NGOs, Networks And Politics

Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement stand as milestone diplomatic achievements. However, immense discrepancies between political commitments and governmental action remain. Combined national climate commitments fall far short of the Paris Agreement's 1.5/2°C targets. Similar political ambition gaps persist across various areas of sustainable development. Many therefore argue that actions by nonstate actors, such as businesses and investors, cities and regions, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), are crucial. These voices have resonated across the United Nations (UN) system, leading to growing recognition, promotion, and mobilization of such actions in ever greater numbers. This article investigates optimistic arguments about nonstate engagement, namely: (a) “the more the better”; (b) “everybody wins”; (c) “everyone does their part”; and (d) “more brings more.” However, these optimistic arguments may not be matched in practice due to governance risks. The current emphasis on quantifiable impacts may lead to the under‐appreciation of variegated social, economic, and environmental impacts. Claims that everybody stands to benefit may easily be contradicted by outcomes that are not in line with priorities and needs in developing countries. Despite the seeming depoliticization of the role of nonstate actors in implementation, actions may still lead to politically contentious outcomes. Finally, nonstate climate and sustainability actions may not be self‐reinforcing but may heavily depend on supporting mechanisms. The article concludes with governance risk‐reduction strategies that can be combined to maximize nonstate potential in sustainable and climate‐resilient transformations.

(2018) Visual cross-platform analysis: digital methods to research social media images, Routledge

Tags: Energy And Climate Policy, Research Methods & Research Design, Public Opinion

Analysis of social media using digital methods is a flourishing approach. However, the relatively easy availability of data collected via platform application programming interfaces has arguably led to the predominance of single-platform research of social media. Such research has also privileged the role of text in social media analysis, as a form of data that is more readily gathered and searchable than images. In this paper, we challenge both of these prevailing forms of social media research by outlining a methodology for visual cross-platform analysis (VCPA), defined as the study of still and moving images across two or more social media platforms. Our argument contains three steps. First, we argue that cross-platform analysis addresses a gap in research methods in that it acknowledges the interplay between a social phenomenon under investigation and the medium within which it is being researched, thus illuminating the different affordances and cultures of web platforms. Second, we build on the literature on multimodal communication and platform vernacular to provide a rationale for incorporating the visual into cross-platform analysis. Third, we reflect on an experimental cross-platform analysis of images within social media posts (n = 471,033) used to communicate climate change to advance different modes of macro- and meso-levels of analysis that are natively visual: image-text networks, image plots and composite images. We conclude by assessing the research pathways opened up by VCPA, delineating potential contributions to empirical research and theory and the potential impact on practitioners of social media communication.

(2016) Cities to the Rescue? Assessing the Performance of Transnational Municipal Networks in Global Climate Governance, Springer

Tags: Energy And Climate Policy, Networks And Politics, Urban Politics

Despite the proliferation and promise of subnational climate initiatives, the institutional architecture of transnational municipal networks (TMNs) is not well understood. With a view to close this research gap, the article empirically assesses the assumption that TMNs are a viable substitute for ambitious international action under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It addresses the aggregate phenomenon in terms of geographical distribution, central players, mitigation ambition and monitoring provisions. Examining thirteen networks, it finds that membership in TMNs is skewed toward Europe and North America while countries from the Global South are underrepresented; that only a minority of networks commit to quantified emission reductions and that these are not more ambitious than Parties to the UNFCCC; and finally that the monitoring provisions are fairly limited. In sum, the article shows that transnational municipal networks are not (yet) the representative, ambitious and transparent player they are thought to be.

Media Appearances:

Newspaper Quotes:

(2012) Badische Zeitung

At the 1st International Convention of Environmental Laureates I spoke on a panel featuring i.a. Ashok Khosla (former President of President of IUCN and the Club of Rome) and Adolf Goetzberger (Founder of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems)