Revisiting the politics of expertise in light of the Kyoto negotiations on land use change and forestry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines the close links between knowledge-making authority and decision making authority in the multilateral negotiations on terrestrial sinks of greenhouse gases. Drawing upon social constructivist science studies and public sphere theories in international relations, the paper traces the communicative contexts in which state actors have struggled to bring meaning to the sink concept and hereby translated the production and validation of knowledge claims into political authority. In particular focus are instances of. epistemic chaos" when the lack of consensual knowledge and shared normative commitments has forced states to publicly interpret and justify what counts as credible carbon cycle expertise and good terrestrial carbon management. The empirical tracing of such justificatory arguments begins at the third conference of the parties (COP3) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto in 1997, and ends at COP 10 in Buenos Aires in 2004. Although scientific expertise emerges a central avenue for political bargaining in this negotiation process, the paper does not interpret expert politics as a mere reflection of material power and dominant state interests. Rather. when approaching authoritative knowledge as a product of social relations, the course and outcome of global climate governance appear more inclusive and open-ended. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Eva Lövbrand
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • Kyoto protocol, Scientific expertise, LULUCF, Climate politics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-412
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch