The Challenge and Opportunity of Climate Change for Political Science

June 18–19, 2021

This conference is closed to the public.

Human-caused climate change is an existential problem for modern society. Preventing catastrophic and widespread harm will require not only technological innovation and creative engineering, but will also necessitate effective economic, social, and political innovation.  Decarbonization will be disruptive of political economies around the world, with disorienting psychological and political effects. It will be difficult but imperative for democratic societies to understand these disruptions and anticipate barriers to progress and political backlash. 

Understanding this complex process is very challenging. At the same time, decarbonization provides an extraordinary opportunity for political science as an academic discipline to make a major contribution to public policy and to ensuring that human society continues to thrive. Crisis, as usual, denotes opportunity.

The lack of political science depth in studying climate change is emblematic of a broader lack of attention by the discipline. The situation is worsened by the fact that few current and recent PhD students are currently studying climate change politics at major research universities. 

We propose to tackle the pipeline problem by intentionally targeting current PhD students and people who have completed their PhD degrees to work on climate issues. The range of our attention is broad, including all subfields in political science. In short, we aspire to institutionalize climate politics as a major cross-subfield topic for study in political science.

See also: Conferences, 2021

Convener