Faith-based actors as climate intermediaries in Scottish climate policy

Alice Hague*, Elizabeth Bomberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Faith-based actors (FBAs) are increasingly active in climate policy, and a growing literature focuses on how specific faith characteristics (theological and organisational) might shape climate action. This paper examines an under-researched dimension of their action. Using the example of Christian FBAs in Scotland, we examine their distinctive role as ‘climate intermediaries’ - ‘go-betweens’ between policymakers and their policy targets. We construct a framework of three core intermediary capabilities - representation, mobilization, aggregation - and examine strategies adopted to implement those capabilities. Using documentary data we identify FBA involvement in domestic and global climate policy, examining how certain Christian FBAs seek to shape government policy, but also aim to change the actions and behaviours of their congregations and members below. While FBA action has not alone shaped climate policy or agreements, we find their linkage role is distinct and multi-directional. First, by mediating ‘downwards’, FBAs mobilize action on global climate concerns within their own congregations. By converting parishioners’ religious concern into global action, these FBAs link the local to the global, but also the spiritual to the practical. FBAs also operate ‘upwards’ to successfully aggregate specific theological knowledge, and translate it into a powerful, general moral imperative for climate action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy Studies
Early online date24 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • climate policy
  • faith-based actors
  • intermediary actors
  • climate intermediaries
  • religion
  • Scotland


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