3a sessió del Seminari CECUPS 2021-2022: Peter Wagner

online - via Zoom
Peter Wagner

The use of fossil fuels has been the main cause of climate change. It has dramatically increased since the middle of the 20th century as part of what has been called the "Great Acceleration". In the social sciences, climate change is mostly debated and analyzed in either a very long or in an ahistorical perspective: "Grand" explanations are offered in terms of the dynamics of modernity, the logic of capital, or an instrumental view of nature; or climate change is seen as a recent, urgent and complex, but rather "technical" problem of reducing CO2 emissions. The "grand" approaches assume some macro-historical logic without much concern for the events and mechanisms through which a trajectory of social development is continued or altered. The "technical" approaches combine insights from economics, policy analysis and studies of social acceptability to work out mitigation and adaptation measures with little focus on the reasons for which climate change has been brought about and "accelerated". In contrast to both, this presentation focuses on the political processes that led to key decisions on fossil-fuel use, the knowledge bases on which they relied, and the societal self-understandings within which political debate took place, providing a new angle on democratic politics and on the use of knowledge in democratic decision-making.