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Professor David Schlosberg
Department of Government and International Relations
Overview of the Challenges
Climate change challenges us to adapt – it’s too
late for prevention
Climate change challenges the relationship between
science, knowledge, progress, and democracy
Climate change challenges our dedication to justice
Climate change challenges how we govern
Climate change challenges us to rethink how we
relate to the rest of nature.
From Prevention to Adaptation
Adaptation is not an option
From unacceptable and impolitic to necessity
Not all adaptive responses are sustainable
 Adger:
“the ability of a system to absorb change while
retaining essential function…to have the capacity to
adapt and learn.”
Potential dangers of resilience as an adaptive
Science, Progress, Democracy
The fantasy of enlightenment thinking
Key Components of the Climate Change Denial Machine
Fossil Fuels Industry
Corporate America
Conservative Foundations
ExxonMobil, Peabody Coal,
American Petroleum Institute,
Fuels Association, Edison Electric
Institute, et al.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National
Association of Manufacturers, National Mining Association, American Forest & Paper Association, et al.
Koch and Scaife controlled foundations, John D. Olin Foundation, Lynde
and Harry Bradley Foundation, et al.
Conservative Think Tanks
American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, Committee for a
Constructive Tomorrow, Competitive Enterprise Institute,
Heritage Foundation, Heartland Institute, George C. Marshall
Institute, et al.
Front Groups
Global Climate Coalition, Information Council for the
Environment, Center for Energy and Economic
Development, Greening Earth Society, Cooler Heads
Coalition, et al.
Astroturf Organizations and Campaigns
Americans for Prosperity (“Regulation Reality” tours), Freedom Works (“Hot Air” rallies), Americans for Balanced Energy
Choices (“citizens’ army” to lobby for coal and oppose climate legislation), American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy (media
and lobbying campaigns, forged letters to Congress), Energy Citizens (rallies against climate legislation), et al.
From Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright, “Organized Climate-Change Denial,” In J. S. Dryzek, R. B. Norgaard and D. Schlosberg, (eds.), Oxford
Handbook of Climate Change and Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 147.
Knowledge, the public, and policy
Sarawitz: Science cannot solve disputes that are at
root political or ethical.
From one-way communication to public engagement
Inclusion of a variety of local knowledges and
heat island planning
 Alberta Climate Dialogue
 Forthcoming work in adaptation planning
The Challenge of Justice
UNFCCC 1992: “protect the climate system for the
benefit of present and future generations of mankind,
on the basis of equity and in accordance with their
common but differentiated responsibilities and
respective capacities”
 We
have responsibility to the future and across borders
 Equity is a basic principle
 Yet we also have differing responsibilities…
 …and differing capacities to act
 The climate system supports life itself
The Challenge(s) of Justice, continued
Expanding the community of justice:
 Across
 Across generations
Historical responsibility: polluter pays
Equity: everybody must act
Does climate change violate human rights?
Do we have environmental rights? An
“environmental justice threshold”
Justice for nonhuman individuals and communities?
Justice and Local Adaptation
Voice to local communities
Vulnerability mapping
Participation, engagement, and deliberation
The Challenge of Governance
How do we govern ourselves through climate change?
Proposals for new forms of global governance
Focus on governance – not just governments
Governance for adaptation - Bierman
 Distributed
 Networked governance
Opposition, contestation, reflexivity
The Challenge of New Materialism
The unsustainable practices of everyday life
Movements for sustainable materialism
 Local
energy generation and transition
 Food security through community agriculture
 Crafting, making, mending
Framing Sustainable Materialism 1
A response to powerlessness
 Resisting
the current flows of power
 Embodying new forms of power and flows of materials
Framing Sustainable Materialism 2
Beyond post-materialism
Not just about values or political interests
Developing sustainable practices and institutions,
focused on material flows
Framing Sustainable Materialism 3
Aimed directly at sustainability, and the human
relationship with nonhuman world
Flows of food, matter, energy.
Actively replace a politics of separation with one of
Latour: Neither liberation from Nature nor fall…but a
process of becoming ever-more attached
Critiques: Easily hijacked, often apolitical
Adaptation Gives Us A Lot To Do
Future plans, collaborations, networks.
Professor David Schlosberg
Department of Government and International Relations