Epistemic geographies of climate change: Science, space and politics

Martin Mahony, Mike Hulme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Anthropogenic climate change has been presented as the archetypal global problem, identified by the slow work of assembling a global knowledge infrastructure, and demanding a concertedly global political response. But this ‘global’ knowledge has distinctive geographies, shaped by histories of exploration and colonialism, by diverse epistemic and material cultures of knowledge-making, and by the often messy processes of linking scientific knowledge to decision-making within different polities. We suggest that understanding of the knowledge politics of climate change may benefit from engagement with literature on the geographies of science. We review work from across the social sciences which resonates with geographers’ interests in the spatialities of scientific knowledge, to build a picture of what we call the epistemic geographies of climate change. Moving from the field site and the computer model to the conference room and international political negotiations, we examine the spatialities of the interactional co-production of knowledge and social order. In so doing, we aim to proffer a new approach to the intersections of space, knowledge and power which can enrich geography’s engagements with the politics of a changing climate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-424
Number of pages30
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number3
Early online date9 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • climate change
  • co-production
  • environmental politics
  • geographies of science
  • modelling

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