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Climate Politics Beyond the Predictive Paradigm: A Symposium with Mike Hulme

Date: 2 June 2011 Time: 15.00-18.00

Venue: Cavendish Colloquium Room

Over the last half-century, computer models have come to play a number of crucial roles in the politics of global environmental change. Most recently, for example, general circulation models have been used to help establish the role of human activity in climate change, to guide adaptation strategies by making regional predictions of changes in sea level, temperature and precipitation, and to establish targets for emissions reductions. They are also increasingly being used to evaluate different geoengineering proposals, by simulating the effects on climate systems of deliberate technological interventions such as cloud brightening or stratospheric sulphate aerosols. However, despite their obvious usefulness there are concerns about the uncertainties inherent in climate models, and about the wisdom of a style of climate politics which depends crucially on the ability of such models accurately to predict future climates.

Do we need an approach to climate change that takes up a different relation with the future? Is it time to start to imagine new forms of climate politics that recognise the intrinsic indeterminacy of climate processes and the limitations of the predictive powers of humans and machines? What resources do we have - technical, cultural, political, ethical - out of which we can build such a politics? In this interdisciplinary symposium, organised around the visit to Lancaster of Professor Mike Hulme, we will explore such questions.


Bronislaw Szerszynski (CSEC, Lancaster University) 'Climate futures, non-knowledge and action'

Andrew Jarvis (LEC, Lancaster University) 'The real-time climate agenda'

Mike Hulme (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia) 'An enquiry into the state of climate change knowledge: expertise, institutions and representation'


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Bronislaw Szerszynski

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Sociology

Keywords: Climate change, Environment, Policy, Public policy, Science, Science studies, Science, technology and society


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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