Climate change poses considerable challenges to democracy. Its global nature questions the traditional parameters of our political communities and moral responsibilities. Its complexity and urgency challenge the capacity of existing democratic procedures to produce effective outcomes. Transnational institutions and processes developed so far for mitigating and adapting to climate change often elude basic democratic values. Decisions on whether, where, and how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are generally made by elites in spatially and temporally distant settings, thus undermining the legitimacy of such decisions. Meanwhile, those most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change tend also to be, in many cases, the most socially disadvantaged and democratically disempowered. In this context, a key concern for scholars and citizens alike is how to ensure that the people who will be affected by climate change and climate governance are represented in decision-making processes. More effective democracy is likely to be instrumental to climate justice.

The purpose of this conference is to examine these challenges and explore potential avenues for democratizing climate governance. We invite proposals that address issues of accountability, representation, participation, and legitimacy, as well as the appropriate roles of national and transnational institutions, civil society, scientists, scholars, communities, and citizens confronted with issue complexity. Climate governance manifests in various forms and at various levels, as such we invite papers concerned with public, private, and hybrid modes of governance at local, national, and/or global levels. Understanding and responding to the democratic challenges posed by climate change will require advances in theory as well as empirical research, and we welcome papers that fall into either or both of these categories. Papers that approach the challenge from a discursive or deliberative perspective are especially encouraged, however we welcome a range of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.

Plenary speakers: Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard), Karin Bäckstrand (Lund), Ronnie Lipschutz (University of California, Santa Cruz), Robyn Eckersley (Melbourne). 

Fees: Registration for the conference is free, and paper-givers from Australia can claim a $300 contribution to travel expenses.

Deadlines: Deadline for paper proposals is 1 April 2010

Submissions: If you would like to present a paper, please send a title and abstract (300 words) to Alessandra Pecci: alessandra.Pecci [at] anu.edu.au

Conference Website: http://deliberativedemocracy.anu.edu.au/events.html