Global warming in the public sphere

Jan Corfee-Morlot, Mark Maslin, Jacquelin Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Although the science of global warming has been in place for several decades if not more, only in the last decade and a half has the issue moved clearly into the public sphere as a public policy issue and a political priority. To understand how and why this has occurred, it is essential to consider the history of the scientific theory of the greenhouse effect, the evidence that supports it and the mechanisms through which science interacts with lay publics and other elite actors, such as politicians, policymakers and business decision makers. This article reviews why and how climate change has moved from the bottom to the top of the international political agenda. It traces the scientific discovery of global warming, political and institutional developments to manage it as well as other socially mediated pathways for understanding and promoting global warming as an issue in the public sphere. The article also places this historical overview of global warming as a public issue into a conceptual framework for understanding relationships between society and nature with emphasis on the co-construction of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2741-2776
Number of pages36
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1860
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2007

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