A Changing Arctic Climate : Science and Policy in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

Abstract: Climate change has often been framed as a global issue but slow progress in the global climate negotiations and an increasing need to plan for local adaptation have made it increasingly salient to also discuss the potential of other arenas for climate policy and knowledge production. This dissertation analyzes the interplay between science and policy at the international regional level based on a study of an assessment of the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. In this case, the regional arena brought new actors into climate knowledge production and policy with an increased emphasis on the complexity of social and cultural impacts of climate change among indigenous peoples. The dissertation also shows how the structure of regional political cooperation played a role in highlighting the Arctic as a bellwether for global change. Meanwhile, the political negations that were linked to the regional climate impact assessment were ruled by the same political dynamics and policy positions as the global climate negotiations. The process illustrates how the structure of international cooperation can influence knowledge production about climate change. The dissertation emphasizes the role of vertical interplay among political regimes and how new arenas can make an assessment salient, credible, and legitimate to different actors. It also highlights the political dimensions of focusing on particular spatial scales and governance levels in climate knowledge production and policy.