Advertisement

Climatic Change

, Volume 126, Issue 3–4, pp 273–278 | Cite as

Behind the curve: science and the politics of global warming

Joshua P Howe (2014), University of Washington Press, Seattle & London, 290 pp
  • Mike Hulme
Book Review

‘The Plan’

A few years ago Dan Sarewitz wrote an opinion article called ‘Does climate knowledge really matter?’ (Sarewitz 2011). Sarewitz outlined what he called ‘the plan’, the dominant framing since the late 1980s of the international response to climate change. He argued that ‘the plan’ contained two key elements: first, that (consensual) scientific knowledge about global climate change would lead to agreed political action to deal with it and, second, that this political action should consist of multi-laterally negotiated national targets and timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In this framing, scientific knowledge about the Earth system was central: it would reveal by how much global emissions must reduce in order to disarm the risks and dangers of climate change by limiting the global temperature increase to no more than 2 °C above the nineteenth century level.

Although a caricature, Sarewitz’s description of ‘the plan’ opens up an imaginative space in which one...

References

  1. Beck S (2011) Moving beyond the linear model of expertise? IPCC and the test of adaptation. Reg Environ Chang 11(2):297–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowman A (2010) Are we armed only with peer-reviewed science? The scientization of politics in the radical environmental movement Chapter 8. In: Skrimshire S (ed) Future ethics: climate change and apocalyptic imagination. Continuum Press, London, pp 173–196Google Scholar
  3. Davey N (2011) Philosophy and the quest for the unpredictable. In: Bate J (ed) The public value of the humanities. Bloomsbury Press, London, pp 303–312, 319Google Scholar
  4. French RD (2012) The professors of public life. Polit Q 83(3):532–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Geominne G (2013) Does the climate need consensus? The politics of climate change revisited. Symploke 20(1–2):147–161Google Scholar
  6. Hewitt C, Mason S, Walland D (2012) The global framework for climate services. Nat Clim Chang 2(12):831–832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Howe JP (2011) History and climate: a road map to humanistic scholarship on climate change. Clim Chang 105(1/2):357–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Howe JP (2014a) Behind the curve: science and the politics of global warming. University of Washington Press, Seattle, p 296Google Scholar
  9. Howe JP (2014b) Getting past the greenhouse: John Tyndall and the nineteenth century history of climate change. In: Lightman B, Reidy MS (eds) The age of scientific naturalism: Tyndall and his contemporaries. Pickering & Chatto, London, pp 33–50, 256Google Scholar
  10. IPCC (1990) In: Houghton JT, Jenkins GJ, Ephraums JJ (eds) Climate change: the IPCC scientific assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 364Google Scholar
  11. Lajus J, Sörlin S (2014) Melting the glacial curtain: the politics of Scandinavian-Soviet networks in the geophysical field sciences between two polar years, 1932/33-1957/58. J Hist Geogr 44:44–59Google Scholar
  12. Rayner S, Malone EL (1997) Zen and the art of climate maintenance. Nature 390:332–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sarewitz D (2011) Does climate change knowledge really matter? WIREs Clim Chang 2(4):475–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schmidt G (2014) On scientists and advocacy. A review of ‘Science and the Politics of Global Warming’ Science, 344, 256Google Scholar
  15. Stewart RB, Oppenheimer M, Rudyk B (2013) A new strategy for climate protection. Clim Chang 120:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wirth TE and Daschele TA  (2014) A blueprint to end paralysis over global action on climate http://e360.yale.edu/feature/a_blueprint_to_end_paralysis_over_global_action_on_climate/2766/ [accessed 24 May 2014]

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson CenterLMU MünichMünichGermany

Personalised recommendations