From the IPCC to the Green State Nobility: Towards a New Research Agenda on Expertise in the Green Transition

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Experts play a significant role in shaping global and local norms on how states should respond to the climate crisis. However, current scholarship on the relationship between states and expertise has not fullyaddressed recent transformations in the field, specifically the emergence and increasingly influential role of what we term ‘green transition expertise’. In this paper, we argue that if earth system scholars wantto further deepen their grasp of the politics of the green transition analytically and normatively, they need to embrace a ‘post-IPCC’ research agenda that turns increasingly towards state actions predicated onnew forms of expertise as a prime mover in addressing climate change. We advance this claim based on a literature review of the relationship between expertise and the state in climate mitigation research. Overall, we find that while existing research has provided highly nuanced studies of state-expertise relations, it has tended to cast the issue of expertise as one of climate science consensus construction andthe issue of state action as determined largely by failed (or limited) intergovernmental collaboration. To advance the study of state-expertise relations in the green transition, we outline a post-IPCC researchagenda centered on the study of what we, drawing on Bourdieu, term ‘green state nobility’.

This agenda sets out to understand how experts shape state action on the green transition and how the state actively assembles green transformation expertise, including the actors recognized by states asappropriate members of the emerging green state nobility. This includes analysis of how state action is conditioned by informal networks, partnerships, and inter-expert competition about what should constituteexpertise within the state and which forms of expertise matter. To capture the green state nobility, we combine literature on the green state with insights from the Sociology of Expertise. This research agendaproposes a three-pronged approach to studying green transition expertise in the state: (1) focusing on expert actors to understand who is recognized as a legitimate green transition expert over time and theirlocation, (2) examining expert content to understand the nature of green transition expert work, including what gets left out, and (3) considering expert context to examine the institutional, cultural, and politicalfactors that shape the relationship between green transition expertise and state behavior. Overall, a post-IPCC knowledge politics agenda seeks to address the agency of experts in influencing how the greenstate is currently carrying out its sustainability transition activities.
StatusUdgivet - 2023
Begivenhed2023 Radboud Conference on Earth System Governance: Bridging Sciences and Societies for Sustainability Transformation - Nijmegen, Holland
Varighed: 22 okt. 202327 okt. 2023


Konference2023 Radboud Conference on Earth System Governance