Cracking the Climate Engineering Governance Code: How discursive structures can inform the anticipatory development of a Code of Conduct for Climate Engineering Research

Cracking the Climate Engineering Governance Code: How discursive structures can inform the anticipatory development of a Code of Conduct for Climate Engineering Research

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Calls for governance of the development of heterogeneous technological proposals for intentionally intervening into the global climate system, often collectively termed ‘climate engineering’ (CE), are currently picking up speed. However, so far there has been little empirical analysis of the discursive structure underpinning this debate. I will present the results of a post-structural discourse analysis of a series of interviews with governance experts from US, the UK and Germany about a proposed Code of Conduct for climate engineering research. My analysis illustrates how - by shaping what is defined as the object(s) of governance, why governance is considered necessary, and who is assigned the authority to govern - the underlying discursive structure of a given governance debate not only has an ongoing de facto governance effect, it also has a constitutive effect on how future de jure governance options can be conceptualised. By mapping the discursive structure into which a  concrete proposal for CE governance is being introduced, and drawing out the implications of these discursive patterns for anticipatory governance development, I aim to inform the future-oriented, reflective development of the Code of Conduct specifically and CE research governance more broadly.

Event Location: 
Australian-German Climate and Energy College
Level 1, 187 Grattan Street, University of Melbourne
3010 Parkville , VIC
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam & Freie University Berlin

Miranda Boettcher studied Political Science with a focus on International Environmental Politics, and Linguistics at the Ruperto Carola University of Heidelberg. In her Master Thesis she combined her two subjects of study, developing a discourse analytical framework to assess the social construction and legitimization of research and governance in emerging technology fields, using Climate Engineering as a case-study.

From 2010 – 2012 she worked in the International Relations Department at the University of Heidelberg as a Teaching and Research Assistant. At the same time she taught at the F&U Academy in Heidelberg.Following a year off travelling South America, she worked as an Investigator for the Mintz Group in San Francisco in 2014. Subsequently she was employed until the end of 2015 as a Research Analyst by the Berlin-based consultancy firm Foresight Intelligence.

Miranda Boettcher has been a Research Associate at the IASS since November 2015, where, as part of her PhD project, she assesses the development of emerging technology governance discourses in international scientific, public and political spheres.

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