Knowledge and the Climate Crisis: Disciplinary Boundaries, Complex Phenomena, and the Role of the MPG
March 31st 2023 at 2-4pm CET, hosted by the MPI for Astrophysics, physical participation at the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics and virtually on Zoom
Already in 2021, we organized a Sustainability Seminar with members of the Max Planck delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Edinburgh. Now Guinevere Kauffmann (MPI for Astrophysics) invites to the Sustainability Lecture "Knowledge and the Climate Crisis: Disciplinary Boundaries, Complex Phenomena, and the Role of the MPG" in collaboration with the MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, the MPI for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg and the Max Planck Sustainability Network!
The speaker Tom Sparks (MPI for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg) approaches the study of climate change as a lawyer, and his disciplinary training does not prepare him to engage with the climate crisis as a physical phenomenon. Yet climate law and climate litigation, often touted as one of the most promising routes to effective action on climate change, depend for their success on a sophisticated appreciation of climate science. Climate negotiations, meanwhile, are - or should be - the process of capturing in a negotiated, legal form the outcomes of processes which combine scientific knowledge with sociological, economic, moral, and real-political considerations. Few branches of knowledge are not implicated in solving complex, all-society problems, of which human-induced climate change is the example par excellence. The specialisation of academia within ever-narrower sub-disciplines has been of crucial importance in advancing the progress of science. But given the progress of specialisation both within and especially between disciplines, how can different fields be brought into conversation for the purpose of tackling complex, multi-scalar problems like climate change? In this talk the speaker wants to think through some of these challenges with the audience, using two examples: first, from his own work, the challenges associated with translating climate science into a form useable by international courts; and secondly, from the perspective of the MPG, how we can mobilise our resources to effectively contribute to the processes of international climate negotiations.
Tom Sparks coordinates MPG delegation participation at the UN Climate Change Conferences (Conference of the Parties, COP) on a volunteer basis and has participated in recent COPs himself.
To join in presence at the MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, please contact Christoph Kolbe: firstname.lastname@example.org