The Nordic countries are often seen as forerunners in environmental protection and climate policy. This reputation is in accordance with the values of the Nordic welfare societies and grounded in national policies as well as international activism for more than 30 years. This paper explores the role of the Nordic countries as norm entrepreneurs in climate policy overt time by analyzing the interaction between status competition, goodwill competition and Nordic welfare state identities. Whereas status competition is viewed as competition for recognition among equals, goodwill competition, the paper argues, is the competition among small states for recognition from great powers. The paper discusses the relative importance of these mechanisms and how they are transmitted to foreign policy through Nordic welfare state identities.
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