Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Dr Paula Castro

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel:  +49 (0)203 29861-130
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: castro@spam


Dr. Paula Castro joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Postdoc Fellow. She was conducting her research in Research Unit 1 'The (Im)Possibility of Cooperation' from March 2016 to February 2017.

Research Project at the Centre

Cooperating for the Climate: States’ Positions on Burden Sharing of Climate Change Mitigation and Finance

In the negotiations towards a post-2020 international climate agreement, a crucial area of debate entailed how to share the burden of climate change mitigation and of the financing of climate-related policies and measures across states. Traditionally, mitigation and financing have been considered exclusively as obligations of the developed countries. The developing countries were exempted in recognition of their need to grow and overcome poverty, and of their low historical responsibility towards climate change. This strict separation of responsibilities has been maintained until quite recently. The recent negotiations for a post-2020 agreement "under the Convention applicable to all Parties" were regarded by many as an opportunity to open up the differentiation of responsibilities and to reach an agreement in which all states contribute to mitigation – and maybe even financing.

In this project, I intend to analyse the factors that influenced states’ negotiation positions on whether and how to overcome the distinction between developed and developing countries in the climate regime. Beyond the traditional dimensions of national-level and international-level political interests, I seek to find out whether different conceptualisations of fairness influenced these positions. For this purpose, I will perform content analysis of two types of negotiation documents: (i) written negotiation submissions by parties to the Climate Convention in the period 2012-2015, and (ii) parties’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, which describe their own proposed contribution to climate change mitigation after 2020. The content analysis will result on the creation of a typology of the fairness principles used by states to justify their negotiation positions, and on variables indicating states’ negotiation positions regarding burden sharing of mitigation and finance, and states’ own proposed contributions. The data will be analysed by applying suitable statistical or qualitative analysis methodologies.

Research Interests

  • Global Environmental Governance
  • Negotiation Analysis
  • Institutionalism
  • Fairness, Equity and Burden Sharing
  • International Organizations
  • Content Analysis

Current Projects

  • Institutional design and ’constructed peer groups’ in international organizations: The case of the international climate change regime (book project)
  • Common but differentiated responsibilities beyond the national state: how is differential treatment addressed in transnational climate governance initiatives? (paper project)
  • Buying support at the UNFCCC: The strategic use of climate aid (paper project, co-authored with Chandreyee Bagchi and Katharina Michaelowa)
  • Donor accountability reconsidered: Aid allocation in the age of global public goods (paper project, co-authored with Chandreyee Bagchi and Katharina Michaelowa)
  • Fossil fuel subsidies as a barrier to renewable energy deployment - Evidence from a global sample analysis (paper project, co-authored with Martina Zahno)


12/2013-02/2016 University of Zurich, Switzerland
Department of Political Science
Senior Research Associate
10/2011-11/2013 University of Zurich
Department of Political Science
Post-doctoral Researcher
12/2007-09/2011 University of Zurich
Department of Political Science
PhD Candidate, Research and Teaching Assistant
11/2006-11/2007 Practical Action, Peru
Energy, Infrastructure and Basic Service
09/2005-08/2006 University of Reading, UK
International and Rural Development Department
MSc Student, Environment and Development
07/2003-09/2005 National Agrarian University La Molina, Peru
Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, Research Lab for Renewable Energies
Research and Teaching Assistant
05/2003-09/2003 CooperAccion, Peru
Programme on Coastal Development
08/2002-11/2002 Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Peru
PyMAGROS Project
01/2001-06/2002 Santiago de Surco Municipality, Peru
Department of City Services and Environment
Intern, solid waste recycling programme, environmental education programme
03/1998-12/2002 National Agrarian University La Molina
Faculty of Sciences
BSc Student, Environmental Engineering

Selected Publications

Castro, Paula, Hörnlein L., and Michaelowa, K. (2014): Constructed peer groups and path dependence in international organizations: The case of the international climate change negotiations, in: Global Environmental Change 25: 109–20.

Stadelmann, M., and Castro, Paula (2014): Climate policy innovation in the South - domestic and international determinants of renewable energy policies in developing and emerging countries, in: Global Environmental Change 29: 413–23.

Castro, Paula (2014): Climate change mitigation in developing countries: A critical assessment of the Clean Development Mechanism, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Betzold, C., Castro, Paula, and Weiler F. (2012): AOSIS in the UNFCCC negotiations: from unity to fragmentation?, in: Climate Policy 12 (5): 591–613.

Castro, Paula (2012): Does the CDM discourage emission reduction targets in advanced developing countries?, in: Climate Policy 12 (2): 198–218.

Buen, J., and Castro, Paula (2012): How Brazil and China have financed industry development and energy security initiatives that support mitigation objectives, in: Axel Michaelowa (ed.), Carbon Markets or Climate Finance: Low Carbon and Adaptation Investment Choices for the Developing World, Routledge, London, 53–91.

Castro, Paula, and Michaelowa, A. (2011): Would preferential access measures be sufficient to overcome current barriers to CDM projects in Least Developed Countries?, in: Climate and Development 3: 123–42.

Castro, Paula, and Michaelowa, A. (2010): The impact of discounting emission credits on the competitiveness of different CDM host countries, in: Ecological Economics 70: 34–42.

Friberg, L., and Castro, Paula (2009): Análise empírica do desempenho de projetos MDL: Estudo de caso Brasil, in: Markus Brose (ed.), O pagamento por serviços ambientais - O mercado de carbono promove a inclusão social?, Care Brasil, Editora da Universidade Católica de Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil, 123–47. (Published previously as: Empirical analysis of performance of CDM projects: case study Brazil. Climate Strategies Discussion Paper CDM-8, March 2008).

Coello, J., and Castro, Paula (2008): Biocombustibles, agua y agricultura en los Andes (Biofuels, water and agriculture in the Andes), in: Revista Virtual REDESMA, Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios, Julio.

Acosta,F., Castro, Paula, and Cortijo, E. (2008): Manual de construcción y uso de reactor para producción de biodiesel a pequeña escala (Handbook for building and using a reactor for small-scale biodiesel production), Lima: Soluciones Prácticas-ITDG.

Castro, Paula, Coello, J., and Castillo, L. (2007): Opciones para la producción y uso de biodiesel en el Perú (Options for biodiesel production and use in Peru), Lima: Soluciones Prácticas-ITDG.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Invited Lecture at PhD level "Background to the international climate negotiations", PhD Colloquium on Climate Change - Science, Economics, and Policy, ETH Zurich and University of Zurich, Switzerland, 6 March 2015 (Lecturer)
  • Invited Lecture at BSc and MSc level "Introduction to international climate policy and the negotiations under the UNFCCC", National Agrarian University La Molina, Peru, 2 and 4 December 2014 (Lecturer)
  • BA Research Seminar "International climate policy: Positions and strategies of developing countries", University of Zurich, Department of Political Science, Autumn 2013–Spring 2014 (Lecturer)
  • BA Seminar "Sustainable development and international environmental policy", University of Zurich, Department of Political Science, Spring 2009, 2010, Autumn 2012 (Lecturer)
  • BA Core Course "Political economy", University of Zurich, Department of Political Science, Autumn 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 (Tutor)
  • Lab sessions on biomass energy for BSc and MSc level courses, National Agrarian University La Molina, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, 2004–2005 (Lecturer)

Expertise and Consulting Work

Collaborated in consultancy projects for:

  • German Federal Environmental Agency
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Referee for:

  • Climate and Development
  • Climate Policy
  • Diplomacy & Statecraft
  • Ecological Economics
  • Energy Policy
  • Environment and Development Economics
  • Eurasian Economic Review
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Management
  • International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
  • International Journal of Green Energy
  • International Negotiation
  • Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis; Policy Sciences
  • Review of International Organizations

Seminars and Conferences

  • International Exploratory Workshop "Understanding data frontiers in climate governance research", University of Zurich, Switzerland, 15–16 February 2016 (organizer)
  • Annual Congress of the Swiss Political Science Association (2010–2016, paper presenter)
  • General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (2013 and 2015, paper presenter)
  • Annual Conference on the Political Economy of International Organizations (2012 und 2014, poster presenter)
  • Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (2013, paper presenter)
  • ECPR Joint Sessions (2012, paper presenter)
  • Workshop "Climate Policy Innovation: Sources, Patterns and Effects", Free University Amsterdam, 23–24 February 2012 (paper presenter)
  • Annual Meeting of the European Public Choice Society (2011, paper presenter)
  • Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (2010, paper presenter)
  • World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists (2010, paper presenter)
  • 21st PhD Workshop on International Climate Policy, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, 22–23 October 2010 (co-organizer and paper presenter)
  • 20th PhD Workshop on International Climate Policy, Stockholm University, 29–30 April 2010 (paper presenter)


  • European Consortium for Political Research
  • Swiss Political Science Association
  • Member of the Management Committee of the COST Network of Excellence INOGOV (Innovations in Climate Governance)


  • Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation for the organization of the International Exploratory Workshop "Understanding data frontiers in climate governance research" (2015)
  • Research grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation for the project "Institutional design and 'constructed peer groups' in international organizations: The case of the international climate change regime" (project of the chair, main contributor to proposal, 2012)
  • Professors' distinction for special services to the department, University of Zurich, Department of Political Science (2010)
  • Grants from the University of Zurich for the constitution and continuation of the Peer Mentoring Group PoliNet (member of proposal team, 2008–2009, 2010–2011)
  • Scholarship from the EU Alban Programme for MSc studies at the University of Reading (2005–2006)
  • Diverse grants by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences for participation in conferences and summer schools

Dr Philip Liste

Dr. Blayne Haggart

Prof. Dr Marianne Marchand

Dr Tamirace Fakhoury

Dr Adam Sandor

Prof. Dr Claudia Derichs

Dr Stephen Adaawen

Dr Dr Ariel Hernández

Prof. Dr Frank Adloff

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Prof. Dr Dr Marlies Ahlert

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Prof. Dr Andreas Thiel

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Prof. Dr Wouter Werner

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Jun.-Prof. Dr Manuel Borutta

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Prof. Stephen Brown

Prof. Dr Susanne Buckley-Zistel

Prof. Dr Bettina Burger-Menzel

Dr Alessandra Cappelletti

Prof. David Carment, Ph.D.

Dr Paula Castro

Dr Ayse Cavdar

Prof. Dr Gerald Chan

Prof. David Chandler

Prof. Hongming Cheng

Prof. Dr Manjiao Chi

Prof. Andrew Cooper

Prof. Dr Larry Crump

Prof. Dr Susan Erikson

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Jaroslava Gajdošová, Ph.D.

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Prof. Dr Bernd Lahno

Prof. Siddharth Mallavarapu

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Aysem Mert, Ph.D.

PD Dr Christian Meyer

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Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Dr Dirk Peters

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Prof. Elena Pulcini

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