Greening Earth? Science, Politics and Land Use in the Kyoto Negotiations

Sammanfattning: Can a deliberate enhancement of the natural uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide in forests and agricultural lands contribute to the efforts to mitigation anthropogenic climate change? This is a question that has generated a great deal of debate and controversy since the inception of the multilateral climate negotiations in the early 1990s. This thesis offers an analysis of how this debate has played out in the negotiations on the land-use change and forestry activities in the Kyoto Protocol. The overall aim of the thesis is to understand how the practices and findings of carbon cycle science are tied to international climate politics and the making of carbon sink policies. Inspired by social constructivist science studies, the analysis moves beyond conventional representations of science and policy as two distinctly separated domains and furthers and understanding of their mutually or co-produced nature. Hence, this thesis examines how scientific findings on terrestrial carbon uptake are tied to the socio-political context that gives them purpose and meaning. Once central conclusion from this study is that the widespread use of scientific findings in the Kyoto negotiations on terrestrial carbon sinks has fuelled rather than reduced the value conflicts in international cliamte politics. Uncertain and complex scientific findings have been used to legitimise different, on often competing, policy agendas and carbon cycle expertise has hereby both functioned as a source of authority and contestation. Accordingly, the land use change and forestry activities in the Kyoto Protocol can be interpreted as the product of a hybrid science-policy interplay where facts are intimately linked to to values, and authoritative expertise is tied to the exercise of power. A second conclusion from this study is that the political demand for useable knowledge during the Kyoto negotiations challenges a strict demarcation between 'pure' and policy-relevant climate science. By shaping the choice of research questions and methods used in the field of carbon cycle science, the global politics of carbon sinks has tied a seemingly independent realm of science to that of policy-making. Finally, this thesis examines the implications of the discourses and nature concepts produced in the interplay between science, policy and politics in teh Kyoto negotiations on sinks. The analysis moves beyond the notion of land use change and forestry activities as an avenue for greener climate policy, and offers a critique of the scientisation adn commodification of nature enabled by the Kyoto Protocol's reporting system for changes in 'national' carbon pools and its global trade in carbon credits.

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