GS05 Politics of Climate Change

Session Code
Session Chairs
Prof. Taedong Lee
Dr. Rakhyun Kim

Climate change is a crisis of world politics. An unprecedented degree of intergovernmental cooperation is required to address the issue, but it has not come about. Still, new forms of climate action have emerged with various configurations of global, national, and subnational actors, policies, and institutions. These include governments declaring a state of climate emergency, NGOs instigating climate litigation, corporations taking on voluntary climate targets, experts making authoritative scientific assessments, and civil society calling for a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. We have also witnessed the emergence of climate backlash or volatile and contentious social-political reactions to climate policy and action. Furthermore, there are increasing concerns over the use of the climate emergency context to justify certain climate response measures (e.g., solar geoengineering) that would simply shift the problem towards other social, economic or environmental areas. Politics are very much present in all of these processes, which require urgent and widespread attention from political scientists and international relations scholars.

This General Session on climate change approaches the topic from the point of view of political science, international relations, and other relevant disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. We welcome theoretical accounts and empirical analyses of key political processes observed in multi-level and transnational climate change governance networks. We also welcome critical perspectives on justice implications and prescriptions on how climate politics or governance should be reformed. The General Session will serve as a venue for scholars to share research directions and to strengthen their networks.