This project aims to study the role of experts in shaping climate policy. The problem of climate change poses challenges to those who develop policy instruments to reduce carbon emissions; this is as a result of complexity and uncertainty within the scientific field of climate research. As a result of this, expertise has had a particularly strong influence on development of policy. A qualitative analysis of the Climate Change Act adopted in 2008 by the UK Government and the advisory expert body the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which was established as a part of the Climate Change Act to advise the Government on climate science, is therefore used as a case study to illustrate the relationship between expertise and policy-makers. In light of Harry Collins and Robert Evans’ (2002, 20007) much debated efforts to create a normative theory of expertise, as well as some of the responding critical questions presented by Sheila Jasanoff (2003) and Brian Wynne (2003) I will analyse how expertise and policy makers interact to create the appropriate means to reduce carbon emissions.
The thesis also shows how the Government wanted to create a group with different expertise to summarize climate research in a better way in order to develop the best climate policy. It further examines the way in which the experts in the Committee work to promote their own expertise within the field of climate science as a united group of experts, an effort much in line with Collins and Evans’ proposed theory of expertise. Furthermore, this thesis shows that creating the CCC would be an interesting experiment as to how the Government can gather a group of experts from different scientific fields to let them work together to produce scientific advice that the Government has to listen to and create policy from, thus giving the experts a high power to influence policy.
In light of Jasanoff and Wynne’s work, however, the examination shows how different framings of scientific disputes could provide better insight to the solution. The analysis also shows how the boundaries between politics and science are blurred, thus suggesting that the Committee would benefit from public participation as a way to ensure that they produce the best result possible. This thesis presents a contribution to an ongoing discussion in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) concerning how expertise should be classified in connection with science-related disputes.
Keywords: Expertise, framing, co-production, policy, society, law and climate change.