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The climate as political space: on the territorialisation of the global carbon cycle
University of Kalmar, School of Pure and Applied Natural Sciences.
2006 (English)In: Review of International Studies, ISSN 0260-2105, Vol. 32, p. 217-235Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

International Relations have increasingly projected an image of the world where territoriality has lost its organising force. The global movements of people, information, capital and pollution are seen as signs of increasing deterritorialisation. Climate change is one of these issues ‘beyond borders’ that due to its global framing has been established within the international. This article is an investigation into the political geography of the carbon cycle. We approach the tension between the representations of climate space as global and deterritorial on the one hand, and political practices that reterritorialise the climate on the other. We trace the political transformation of the global carbon cycle into ‘national sinks’ and argue that the two tendencies of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation of climate space mirror the spatial assumptions of IR; the national inside and global outside.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2006. Vol. 32, p. 217-235
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Science, Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hik:diva-627DOI: 10.1017/S0260210506006991OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hik-627DiVA, id: diva2:1879
Available from: 2008-06-09 Created: 2009-09-21 Last updated: 2010-03-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Greening Earth?: Science, Politics and Land Use in the Kyoto Negotiations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Greening Earth?: Science, Politics and Land Use in the Kyoto Negotiations
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Can a deliberate enhancement of the natural uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide in forests and agricultural lands contribute to global efforts to mitigate anthropogenic climate change? This is a question that has generated a great deal of debate and controversy since the inception of the multilateral climate negotiations in the early 1990s. This thesis offers an analysis of how this debate has played out in the negotiations on the land-use change and forestry activities in the Kyoto Protocol. The overall aim of the thesis is to understand how the practices and findings of carbon cycle science are tied to international climate politics and the making of carbon sink policies. Inspired by social constructivist science studies, the analysis moves beyond conventional representations of science and policy as two distinctly separated domains and furthers an understanding of their mutually constitutive or co-produced nature. Hence, this thesis examines how scientific findings on terrestrial carbon uptake are tied to the socio-political context that gives them purpose and meaning.

One central conclusion from this study is that the widespread use of scientific findings in the Kyoto negotiations on terrestrial carbon sinks has fuelled rather than reduced the values conflicts in international climate politics. Uncertain and complex scientific findings have been used to legitimise different, and often competing, policy agendas and carbon cycle expertise has hereby both functioned as a source of authority and contestation. Accordingly, the land-use change and forestry activities in the Kyoto Protocol can be interpreted as the product of a hybrid science-policy interplay where facts are intimately linked to values, and authoritative expertise is tied to the exercise of power. A second conclusion from this study is that the political demand for usable knowledge during the Kyoto negotiations challenges a strict demarcation between 'pure' and policy-relevant climate science. By shaping the choice of research questions and methods used in the field of carbon cycle science, the global politics of carbon sinks has tied a seemingly independent realm of science to that of policy-making.

Finally, this thesis examines the implications of the discourses and nature concepts produced in the interplay between science, policy and politics in the Kyoto negotiations on sinks. The analysis moves beyond the notion of land use change and forestry activities as an avenue for greener climate policy, and offers a critique of the scientisation and commodification of nature enabled by the Kyoto Protocol's reporting system for changes in 'national' carbon pools and its global trade in carbon credits.

Series
Dissertation series / University of Kalmar, Faculty of Natural Science, ISSN 1650-2779 ; 35
Keyword
Kyoto Protocol, Carbon cycle science, International climate politics, Land use change and forestry, carbon sinks, science-policy interface, co-production, Kyotoprotokollet, Internationell klimatpolitik, kolcykelforskning, kolsänkor, vetenskap och politik, markanvändning och skog
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Science, Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hik:diva-332 (URN)91-89584-63-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
(English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-06-09 Created: 2008-06-09 Last updated: 2010-03-09

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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