Event: Patterns of Authorship in the IPCC Working Group III Report: Why Geographic Diversity may not lead to Intellectual Diversity


Sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study



Friday, Sep 29th 2017 at 3:30 PM
Social Science Research Commons - Woodburn Hall 200


This talk is sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study. Esteve Corbera is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). He is a visiting scholar at IAS. 

Abstract: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) completed its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in 2014. In this presentation, the social scientific networks informing the IPCC’s Working Group III (WGIII) will be explored. Based on social network analysis to identify authors’ institutional pathways and patterns of co-authorship, the presentation will show the persistence and extent of North–South inequalities in the authorship of the report. The dominance of US and UK institutions as training sites for WGIII authors, and the unevenness in co-authoring relations among WGIII authors indicates the influence of a particular epistemic community over the IPCC’s definition of mitigation. The presentation will also show that these co-authoring networks follow regional patterns, with significant EU–BRICS collaboration whereas authors from the US are relatively insular. From a disciplinary perspective, economists, engineers, physicists and natural scientists remain central to the process, with insignificant participation of scholars from the humanities. The shared training and career paths revealed by our research suggest that broader geographic participation may not lead to a wider range of viewpoints and cultural understandings of climate change mitigation.