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The influential but diverse epistemic community of climate engineering research and policy

Thu, August 30, 11:00am to 12:30pm, ICC, E3.10


The intentional modification of the earth system in order to slow down global warming, i.e. climate engineering (CE), is researched, consolidated, and popularized by a community of experts. Knowledge production and dissemination of CE is largely driven by a community that has an underlying informal governance structure. This expert formation can be described as an epistemic community (EpiCom) due to its authoritative claim to policy-relevant knowledge (Haas 1992). Researchers, policy analysts, and some civil society actors assemble in an international and transdisciplinary community to investigate CE, a former taboo and now possible option against climate change. Taking conceptual shortcomings of the EpiCom concept into account – such as the underlying linear model of science-policy interaction – this paper pursues two goals. First, it will reconstruct how the intentional and unintentional influence of the EpiCom impacts societal and policy actors, while vice versa, the EpiCom is very receptive to policy trends (e.g. the Paris Agreement). Second, it will highlight the inner boundary work between subgroups and reasons for their divide (e.g. positions on desirability of large-scale field experiments). The discourses and networks of the CE EpiCom help to understand its inner entanglements.