SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

How to Deal with Truth and Post-truth in Climate Change Politics

Tim Forsyth

Date: 10 October 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 10 October 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: DLT

Type of Event: Seminar

Much current concern about climate change politics focuses on the divide between climate science and climate denialism. This talk will argue that this dichotomy can often reduce the complexity by which we understand climate risks, and for understanding why people are, or are not, vulnerable to climate change. The talk will review the current discussion about post-truth in climate change from the perspective of science studies, and then illustrate how scientific understandings of climate risk can be made more sensitive, using examples from Southeast Asia, and especially Myanmar. I will argue that there are still important challenges to understanding climate risk in poorer societies, but progress can be made by integrating a structural analysis of why people are vulnerable with analysing why scientific views about risk remain unchallenged in public debate and within development institutions.

Tim Forsyth is Professor of Environment and Development at the LSE. He is a specialist on the politics of environment and development, with a focus on understanding contested science and risk within environmental governance. His work analyses two themes: the politics and policy processes of contested environmental debates in rapidly developing countries; and the evolution of new multi-actor, multi-level forms of governance. He is the author of Critical Political Ecology: The politics of Environmental Science (Routledge, 2003), and Forest Guardians, Forest Destroyers: The politics of  Environmental Knowledge in Northern Thailand (with Andrew Walker, University of Washington Press, 2008), as well as numerous papers on climate change governance and social movements. He has degrees from the Universities of Oxford and London, and has been a fellow at Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs); the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex; and the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Organiser: Feyzi Ismail

Contact email: