There is widespread consensus that effective leadership will be required in order to successfully address the climate change challenge. Presently there are a number of self-proclaimed climate change leaders, but leadership is a relationship between leaders and followers. An actor aspiring to be a leader needs to be recognized as such. Despite its fundamental importance for leadership relationships, the demand side of the leadership equation has been comparatively neglected by past research. In this study we are looking for leaders by analyzing the perceptions of climate change leadership among UNFCCC COP-14 participants. Our results show that the climate change leadership mantle will have to be worn by more than one actor. Among the leadership candidates the EU was most widely recognized as a leader, however, only a small minority reported that they saw the EU as the only leader. The data also show that the US and the G77 thus far have failed to impress potential followers and it was China that clearly emerged as the second strongest leadership candidate.

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