The Physical Sciences and Climate Politics

Hans von Storch, Armin Bunde and Nico Stehr

in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566600
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 The Physical Sciences and Climate Politics

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This article discusses the physic-ness of climate science. It features three main sections. In Section 2, the article discusses the historical development of the concept of climate leading from an anthropocentric view to a strictly physical world-view, and one that is now moving once again towards a more anthropocentric view — this time concerning not only the impacts but also the drivers. In Section 3, the text discusses a series of physical issues, from modeling, over parameterizations, the impossibility of experimentation, and data problems. In Section 4, the article introduces the concept of ‘post-normal’ science, which is related to high uncertainties in the field of climate research, and the high stakes on the societal side. This article furthermore argues for the need for a trans-disciplinary approach to climate in order to assist in developing policies consistent with physical insights and cultural and social constraints.

Keywords: physic-ness of climate science; physical sciences; climate politics; anthropocentric view; trans-disciplinary approach

Article.  6774 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Public Administration

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