Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.

Chapter 4: Science and technology studies

Sheila Jasanoff

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


As an emergent and politically salient knowledge domain, climate science has drawn much attention from STS scholars. This chapter reviews two streams of the resulting literature and traces their implications for governance. One broad stream explicates how climate-relevant knowledge is constructed, contested and achieves or fails to achieve credibility. Another stream examines debates on climate change in order to refine our understandings of the relations between knowledge-making and other social and political phenomena, such as globalization. This chapter reviews both lines of STS research under four themes: (1) making climate a topic for science; (2) uncertainty and ignorance; (3) relations between scientific knowledge and politics; and (4) climate science as a vehicle for world-making. The chapter suggests that better understanding of STS findings and insights by climate scientists and decision-makers might increase the probability of appropriate political action and enable our societies to assume more responsibility for our threatened future.

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