Making Carbon Count: Global Climate Change and Local Climate Governance in the United States
AuthorRice, Jennifer Lea
AdvisorRobbins, Paul F.
Committee ChairRobbins, Paul F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the absence of federally-mandated climate change regulations in the United States, many municipalities have begun to design and implement their own climate mitigation and adaptation programs during the past decade. These include programs such as the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, where more than 1,000 cities have pledged to meet Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions targets within their own jurisdictions, as well as efforts to integrate climate information (e.g. tree-ring reconstructions of streamflow) into resource planning efforts to better assess the effects of climate change on water supplies. Using three related case studies in these areas, this dissertation examines the emergence and spread of local climate change programs in the US, with an emphasis on how government institutions work to make climate governable, and the potential effects these practices have on social life and the production and circulation of scientific knowledge. Central findings of the dissertation include: 1) Cities, through the use of everyday and routine political mechanisms that they have available to them, have become key sites of government action on climate change. In the process, local governments have been able to reaffirm, and in some cases expand, their influence within the public sector of environmental policy; 2) Carbon is the political currency of local climate change programs. Through the creation of GHG inventories (i.e. "carbon territories") and the production of carbon-relevant citizens, climate has become the object of urban environmental governance; and 3) Climate science is utilized in complex and contradictory ways in climate mitigation and adaptation programs. Several framings of climate science have been constructed by local governments as a means to justify action on climate change, while resource managers have begun to incorporate paleoclimate data into water resources planning. In both cases, the use of science has advanced political action on climate change, but the reliance and privilege of scientific discourses may preclude other "non-expert" communities from participating in the debate. This also demonstrates the "science effect," where the practices of science and the state are constructed as separate and distinct, when they are, in fact, coproduced through the practices of climate governance.