Amy Dahan on the failures and possibilities of climate governance


The Shift Project was delighted to welcome Amy Dahan, a science historian and mathematician whose book sheds a unique light on climate governance. The study, co-written with Mr. Stefan Aykut, aims to place current climate negotiations in their historical context and identify main obstacles.


In her book, Amy Dahan explains that so far, climate negotiations have suffered a “Reality Schism”, a concept which highlights that although the democratic process is still apparently intact, a closer look shows that violence and arbitrary matters prevail and can cause the situation to explode”. 


Amy Dahan offered three main recommendations for the upcoming climate negotiations (COP21 and beyond):



              Video (french) – Amy Dahan at the “Ateliers du Shift” – 10/09/2015

  • Give back their autonomy to both the scientific and political spheres : “A simple agreement on science to begin with, would be enough to facilitate the discussions”
  • Identify underlying interests by focusing on economic, geopolitical and environmental issues. “Ignoring the 2008 economic crisis during the Copenhaguen negotiations was a mistake”
  • Identify contradictions : for this recommendation she pointed out the recent publication of The OECD’s Inventory of Support Measures for Fossil Fuels 2015, which details the level and variety of government support for fossil fuel production and consumption in both OECD and key G20 countries. 


Amy Dahan concluded by saying that «climate change governance should be polycentric and multi-scale » and thus should encompass global commitments, not just limited to the action of the COP21.