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The Emergent Politics of Geoengineering

Möller, Ina LU (2019)
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna avhandling undersöker vetenskapens roll i den politiska processens tidiga stadier. Detta görs genom att studera hur "geoengineering" kommer upp på den politiska agendan. Begreppet ”geoengineering” används även på svenska och beskriver en uppsättning idéer om hur man stabiliserar den globala temperaturen genom att ingripa i jordens miljösystem. Begreppet mötte stark skepsis i det vetenskapliga samfundet fram till mitten av 2000-talet. Sedan ett decennium har det dock blivit relevant i internationell klimatpolitik. För att förstå hur denna förändring ägde rum använder sig avhandlingen av både kvalitativa och kvantitativa metoder för att studera de kausala mekanismer genom vilka geoengineering blev föremål för politisk styrning.... (More)
Denna avhandling undersöker vetenskapens roll i den politiska processens tidiga stadier. Detta görs genom att studera hur "geoengineering" kommer upp på den politiska agendan. Begreppet ”geoengineering” används även på svenska och beskriver en uppsättning idéer om hur man stabiliserar den globala temperaturen genom att ingripa i jordens miljösystem. Begreppet mötte stark skepsis i det vetenskapliga samfundet fram till mitten av 2000-talet. Sedan ett decennium har det dock blivit relevant i internationell klimatpolitik. För att förstå hur denna förändring ägde rum använder sig avhandlingen av både kvalitativa och kvantitativa metoder för att studera de kausala mekanismer genom vilka geoengineering blev föremål för politisk styrning. Avhandlingens första delstudie (Paper I) beskriver den inre dynamiken i ett vetenskapligt nätverk som hjälpte till att omvandla geoengineering till ett tydligt avgränsat och formbart objekt för politisk styrning. Delstudien förklarar hur social sammanhållning, centrala pådrivande forskare och mångfald i nätverket fungerade som viktiga mekanismer i denna process. I den andra delstudien (Paper II) studeras vilken roll auktoritativa vetenskapliga bedömningar har spelat för att göra geoengineering till ett normalt och relevant forskningsämne. Den visar hur sådana bedömningar fungerar som en form av faktisk styrning när det gäller att forma verksamheten i ett forskningslandskap. I den tredje delstudien (Paper III) identifieras likheter och skillnader i hur olika delområden i klimatpolitiken styrs. Delstudien föreslår att om en problemstruktur uppfattas som skadlig, blir det mindre troligt att problemet blir integrerat i offentlig förvaltning. Omvänt, om en problemstruktur uppfattas som mer godartad, underlättas den offentliga styrningen. Delstudie fyra (Paper IV) undersöker hur problem definieras och institutionell ”passform", genom att utvärdera hur geoengineering matchar förväntningar hos de statliga aktörerna. Delstudien diskuterar tre områden där sådan passform saknas, och hur detta gör det svårt för regeringar att ta politisk ställning kring geoengineering. Resultaten av denna studie stödjer beskrivningen av ett mönster som verkar vara viktigt vid många olika steg i opinionsbildning. Detta mönster inkluderar införandet av ett ämne för en ny publik; publikens aktiva debatt om detta ämne; ingripande av en aktör med hög auktoritet; och att denna debatt strömlinjeformas enligt denna aktörs synsätt. Mönstret återfinns på många olika nivåer av den politiska processen och kan förklara varför vissa ämnen blir föremål för politiskt beslutsfattande och andra inte blir det. (Less)
Abstract
This thesis examines the role of science in the earliest stages of the political process. It does this by studying the emergence of ‘geoengineering’ on the political agenda. The term describes a set of ideas on how to stabilize global temperature by intervening into the Earth’s natural systems, and was subject to a strong taboo in the scientific community until the mid-2000s. Yet within a decade, it has become relevant to international climate politics. To understand how this transition took place, the thesis uses mixed methods to study the causal mechanisms by which geoengineering became an object of governance. Paper I describes the internal dynamics of a scientific community that helped transform geoengineering into a distinct, salient... (More)
This thesis examines the role of science in the earliest stages of the political process. It does this by studying the emergence of ‘geoengineering’ on the political agenda. The term describes a set of ideas on how to stabilize global temperature by intervening into the Earth’s natural systems, and was subject to a strong taboo in the scientific community until the mid-2000s. Yet within a decade, it has become relevant to international climate politics. To understand how this transition took place, the thesis uses mixed methods to study the causal mechanisms by which geoengineering became an object of governance. Paper I describes the internal dynamics of a scientific community that helped transform geoengineering into a distinct, salient and malleable governance object. It explains how social cohesion, brokerage and diversity acted as important mechanisms in this process. Paper II studies the role of authoritative scientific assessments in making geoengineering a normal and relevant topic for research. It shows how such assessments act as a form of de facto governance in shaping the activities of a research landscape. Paper III identifies similarities and differences in the way that different sub-areas of climate change policy are governed. It suggests that, if a problem structure is perceived to be malign, this makes it less conducive to public governance. Conversely, if a problem structure comes to be perceived as more benign, this facilitates public governance. Paper IV examines the role of problem definition and ‘institutional fit’, evaluating how geoengineering matches with the expectations of government actors. It discusses three areas where such fit is lacking, and how this makes it difficult for government officials to form a political position on geoengineering. The results of this study flow into the description of a pattern that seems to be important at many different stages of the opinion-shaping process. This pattern includes the introduction of a topic to a new audience; the audience’s heated debate around this topic; the intervention of an actor with authority; and the streamlining of the audience’s debate according to the authoritative actor’s judgement. Found at many different levels of the political process, the pattern may explain why some topics become subject to political decision making, and others do not. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Doctor Falkner, Robert, London School of Economics
organization
alternative title
Hur geoengineering blir politik
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Norms, Policy emergence, Agenda setting, Climate change, political community, sociological institutionalism, Science policy interface, vetenskap och politik, politisk process, politisk opinionsbildning, klimatförändring, nätverk, institutionalism, normer
pages
210 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
Edens auditorium, Paradisgatan 5H, Lund
defense date
2019-05-10 10:15
ISBN
978-91-7895-077-5
978-91-7895-078-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5db25b16-0faf-47f9-87a8-e90b88c7c2a9
date added to LUP
2019-04-15 14:54:51
date last changed
2019-07-05 15:52:20
@phdthesis{5db25b16-0faf-47f9-87a8-e90b88c7c2a9,
  abstract     = {This thesis examines the role of science in the earliest stages of the political process. It does this by studying the emergence of ‘geoengineering’ on the political agenda. The term describes a set of ideas on how to stabilize global temperature by intervening into the Earth’s natural systems, and was subject to a strong taboo in the scientific community until the mid-2000s. Yet within a decade, it has become relevant to international climate politics. To understand how this transition took place, the thesis uses mixed methods to study the causal mechanisms by which geoengineering became an object of governance. Paper I describes the internal dynamics of a scientific community that helped transform geoengineering into a distinct, salient and malleable governance object. It explains how social cohesion, brokerage and diversity acted as important mechanisms in this process. Paper II studies the role of authoritative scientific assessments in making geoengineering a normal and relevant topic for research. It shows how such assessments act as a form of de facto governance in shaping the activities of a research landscape. Paper III identifies similarities and differences in the way that different sub-areas of climate change policy are governed. It suggests that, if a problem structure is perceived to be malign, this makes it less conducive to public governance. Conversely, if a problem structure comes to be perceived as more benign, this facilitates public governance. Paper IV examines the role of problem definition and ‘institutional fit’, evaluating how geoengineering matches with the expectations of government actors. It discusses three areas where such fit is lacking, and how this makes it difficult for government officials to form a political position on geoengineering. The results of this study flow into the description of a pattern that seems to be important at many different stages of the opinion-shaping process. This pattern includes the introduction of a topic to a new audience; the audience’s heated debate around this topic; the intervention of an actor with authority; and the streamlining of the audience’s debate according to the authoritative actor’s judgement. Found at many different levels of the political process, the pattern may explain why some topics become subject to political decision making, and others do not. },
  author       = {Möller, Ina},
  isbn         = {978-91-7895-077-5},
  keyword      = {Norms,Policy emergence,Agenda setting,Climate change,political community,sociological institutionalism,Science policy interface,vetenskap och politik,politisk process,politisk opinionsbildning,klimatförändring,nätverk,institutionalism,normer},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  pages        = {210},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {The Emergent Politics of Geoengineering},
  year         = {2019},
}