Changing Climate, Changing Democracy: A Cautionary Tale

Mhairi Aitken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Climate change has come to hold a central position within many policy arenas. However, a particular framing of climate change and climate science, underpinned by modernist assumptions, dominates policy discourse. This leads to restricted policy responses reflecting particular interests and socio-political imaginaries. There is little public debate concerning this framing or the assumptions underpinning approaches to climate policy. The implications of this are illustrated by considering the ways in which UK planning policy has adapted to reflect commitments to mitigate climate change. It is shown that the importance attributed to climate change mitigation has had negative impacts on democratic involvement in planning processes. Given the uncertainty and high stakes of climate science (typical of post-normal science), value may be gained by incorporating the views and perspectives of ‘extended peer communities’, to question not only the processes and findings of climate science but also the ways in which the science is interpreted and responded to through policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-229
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • climate change
  • planning
  • post-normal science
  • renewable energy


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