Climate Change: power, policy and public action


Sunday 13th December, 2009, Copenhagen


The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) takes place in
Copenhagen from 7th to 18th December 2009. Scientists and environmental and
social justice groups fear COP 15 will not meaningfully address the complex
issues of global climate change: rather, that governments will be reluctant
to challenge dominant and entrenched free market orthodoxy. James Hansen, of
NASA, is one of many scientists who question the sufficiency of both
conventional knowledge-making and representative politics in ensuring that
global carbon emissions are effectively curbed:


'The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working.. What is
frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections
but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.. I'm not surprised
that people are getting frustrated. I think that peaceful demonstration is
not out of order, because we're running out of time' (Adam, 2009).


Elsewhere in Copenhagen, then, grassroots movements from across the world
are staging a number of alternative forums, meetings and events to voice
their concerns. This call for papers/participation is a call to academics to
transform the everyday practice of the academy into a creative act of
resistance and solidarity with this global movement for climate justice. 


This session is intended as an 'Academic Seminar Blockade', a form of
constructive resistance. We wish to defend academic inquiry and critical
reflection on the complex issues surrounding climate change and
environmental and social justice by holding a peaceful academic seminar 'in
the street'. Participation in such an academic endeavour is resistance to a
culture of governmentality, through positively re-making public space to
reflect on the world and reclaim the global and intellectual commons of
democratic debate and accountability. Such academic activities have been
successfully utilized as an academic strategy and position elsewhere. As
part of Faslane 365, a year-long campaign against Britain's Trident nuclear
missiles, for example, organisers Stellan Vinthagen and Justin Kenrick
argued that academic blockades, grounded in empirical and epistemological
rationales, put critique into action: 


'Academics can and should be central to this process of envisioning and
realising the kind of society we want' (Kenrick & Vinthagen, 2008).


The Academic Seminar Blockade 'Climate Change: power, policy and public
action' will feature presentations, papers, questions and debate in much the
same way as in conventional conference spaces, but in visible, public space
in the centre of Copenhagen. The precise location will be decided through
participation with local academics and other alternative COP 15 event
organisers. This call invites potential participants to register an interest
in making a short academic intervention in this way, on any aspect of the
environmental and social injustices of climate change. A variety of
interventions is encouraged, from relevant research findings to ethical
statements, from disciplines across the academic spectrum. Similarly,
creativity in the use of images and performance is welcome.



Kye Askins (Geography and Environment, School of Applied Sciences,
Northumbria University) [log in to unmask] 


Justin Kenrick (Sustainable Development, Department of Geography and
Geoscience, University of St Andrews) [log in to unmask]

Kelvin Mason (Graduate School of the Environment, Centre for Alternative
Technology, Machynlleth) [log in to unmask] 


Please register an interest or send abstracts to Kelvin Mason by Thursday
November 5th 2009



Adam, D (2009) Leading climate scientist: 'democratic process isn't
working', London: Guardian, 18 March, accessed 5 October 2009


Kenrick, J & S Vinthagen (2008) 'Critique in Action: Academic Conference
Blockades' IN Zelter A, Faslane 365: A year of anti-nuclear blockades,
Edinburgh: Luath



Dr Kelvin Mason

Distance Learning Tutor

Graduate School of the Environment

Unit 7 Dyfi Eco Parc


SY20 8AX

[log in to unmask] 

01654 703065 ext. 29


Centre for Alternative Technology Charity Limited (CAT), Machynlleth, Powys,
SY20 9AZ, Wales, UK. 

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Llwyngwern, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ. 

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Registered office: Llwyngwern, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ