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Climate Change: Anticipated Risk or Heralded Catastrophe? Questions from a Thwarted Public Enquiry

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Societies Under Threat

Part of the book series: Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research ((FSSR,volume 3))

Abstract

Regarding climate change, the strategic debate is shifting from an approach in terms of risks to that of a heralded disaster, if humanity is not able to contain the global warning around 1.5°. This chapter analyses the constitution and efforts of the scientific community to generate action, and the relationship between the knowledge produced and the active (or inactive) response of the decision makers (the politicians) or the public (attitudes and behaviour) more generally. It also raises, through a theory of the Paris Agreement, the issue of how action might be undertaken. Dewey’s experimentalism and his conception of the relation between action and knowledge is presented as a way of organising a new arena to tackle the grand challenge of providing the global climate public good, through a universal Public.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The same year, one of the fathers of climate change theory, Jim Hansen, was testifying to the US Congress. He told them that there was an evident correlation between human activities, in particular emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2, and the modification of the climate system. In April 2013 after 46 years of working at NASA’s research center, and being the most famous scientist to have called for action, Jim Hansen quit to spend more time on advocacy and action, including testifying against the government.

  2. 2.

    Most economists, up to the publication of the Stern Review in 2006, and even after contributed to delay action or inaction. Imposing cost-benefit reasoning despite the uncertainties about impacts strengthened politicians in their consistent decisions to push back action to a later time.

  3. 3.

    As a counter example we can cite Henry Kissinger’s latest book, a kind of geopolitical testament and manual of international relations that does not have a word on climate change and its implications for how we have think the world system today (Kissinger, 2015).

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Correspondence to Laurence Tubiana .

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Tubiana, L., Lerin, F. (2020). Climate Change: Anticipated Risk or Heralded Catastrophe? Questions from a Thwarted Public Enquiry. In: Jodelet, D., Vala, J., Drozda-Senkowska, E. (eds) Societies Under Threat. Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research, vol 3. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-39315-1_13

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