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Climate Change and International Political Co-ordination: Can Information Have a Global Effect?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Bauhr, Monika
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/199
Sector: Global Commons
Information & Knowledge
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources--global
climate change--global
collective action--international
Abstract: "What are the possibilities of creating an international co-ordination of measures necessary for limiting global climatic changes? Existing efforts to counter international environmental problems have experienced considerable obstacles. The international conferences held on the issues have been criticised for leading to few practical changes, and the lack of coercive power in the international system cripples much of the institutional setup. "First, the paper argues that collective action at the international level is dependent upon the issue being perceived in a similar way in different parts of the world. International regimes and epistemic communities are generally believed to be important international actors with the ability to create a globally agreed-upon knowledge and perception of risk. However, a range of contextual factors generally influences people's perception of information about environmental issues. The overall aim of the project is to determine if and if so, in what way differences in the economic, political and cultural context influences peoples perception of international scientific information regarding human impacts on global climatic changes. "The role of epistemic communities and international regimes in creating an international coordination of political measures is often discussed, but very little is known regarding how and through what mechanism the ideas proclaimed by these institutions can gain worldwide acceptance. "Secondly, the paper will present some preliminary results from an experimental study on the possibility of creating this internationally agreed-upon knowledge on global CPRs. For epistemic communities to be able to create this globally agreed- upon knowledge and risk perception, information must have a similar effect in radically different countries. The results of earlier studies on information effects, although mainly made within a single cultural, economic and political setting, seem troublesome as to the possibility of achieving global information effects. Information effects are compared in two countries with radically different prerequisites for change: Sweden and Tanzania. Interviews and experiments will be made with university students in Sweden and Tanzania. The university students knowledge, risk perception and willingness to support environmental measures will be investigated, as will the effects of exposure to international scientific information on these beliefs. The information used in the study will be based on material from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Changes). "The paper will thus 1) discuss if epistemic communities, and the scientific information provided by these communities, has the ability to create a global coordination of measures, and hence if they provide a possibility of dealing with global CPRs; and 2) show some preliminary results on what part of the international scientific information on the issue of global climatic changes can be perceived and assimilated among citizens in an African and European context respectively."

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