Agency and climate change: a quantitative-structuralist approach to the assignment of moral agency in mitigation

Erik Thorstensen


This article uses the IPCC Working Group III’s latest report on mitigation of climate change as its material. The ambition is to investigate how the IPCC assigns moral agency to non-experts. For this, the article analyzes whether the terms “citizens”, “stakeholders”, “the public” and “laypeople” are presented as barriers to, drivers for or neutral towards mitigation measures. The “public” stand out in the IPCC report as a much larger barrier to mitigation than the other groups. This article relates these finding to work conducted by Brian Wynne (1991) and Mike Michael (2009) regarding perception of the public by scientific assessments. This article documents that the IPCC Working Group III tends to replicate stereotypes of the public from such scientific assessments.


Climate policy, IPCC, Mitigation, Structuralism, Greimas

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