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Über dieses Buch

This book provides an innovative theoretical and analytical framework for studying the role and impact of specialized research organizations and consultancies on decision making in climate politics. It includes advanced empirical analysis of the case of Germany, compared with the situation in the USA. The book improves the understanding of the role and impact of ‘scientific’ advice in coping with the challenge of anthropogenic climate change.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
In April 2016 Bill Nye, American TV personality, trusted expert, and self-declared “Science Guy”, triggered a small scandal. According to The Washington Times, Nye had proposed that climate change dissent was made a criminal, even jailable, offence (Richardson 2016). “Was it appropriate to jail the guys from Enron?” Nye was quoted as saying, continuing “Was it appropriate to jail people from the cigarette industry who insisted that this addictive product was not addictive, and so on?” (Richardson 2016). His words raise some provocative questions. How should societies respond to individuals, groups, and industries that query widely held scientific opinions? Do those who do so deliberately mislead the public? Is it appropriate to compare climate change scepticism and denial with the deliberate and scandalous deception of stakeholder and regulatory authorities by Enron executives, a deception that ultimately led to the downfall of that once powerful corporation and the loss of jobs and pensions of thousands of its employees?
Alexander Ruser

Chapter 2. Knowledge and Climate

Abstract
This chapter discusses the complex relation of climate, knowledge, and politics. Climate change, if taken seriously, demands robust policymaking. This raises the important question of how exactly science can inform decision-making and how to safeguard science from being “politicized” and whether, indeed, this is actually possible. The chapter describes some of the principles and strategies that allow climate sceptics to beat climate scientists at their own game: Exploiting the differences between an everyday understanding and a scientific definition of “certainty” and “proof” allows partisan experts advocacy think tanks to cast doubt, influence public opinion, and provide policymaker with “reasoned arguments” against climate protection.
Alexander Ruser

Chapter 3. What Think Tanks Do: Towards a Conceptual Framework

Abstract
This chapter outlines the conceptual framework for analysing think tanks, assessing the effectiveness of their respective strategies, and estimating their impact on the national climate politics in the United States and Germany. It argues that differences in the respective political systems have to be taken into account in order to explain the different roles and strategies of think tanks in the United States and Germany. Moreover, different “knowledge regimes” explain why think tanks differ at the organizational level and why, for instance, partisan advocacy think tanks, arguably the most important type in the US, struggle to getting influence in Germany.
Alexander Ruser

Chapter 4. Heated Debates and Cooler Heads: Think Tanks and Climate Politics in the United States

Abstract
This chapter focuses on think tanks in the United States. The chapter provides an historical overview of the evolution of think tank in the United States with a special focus on how think tanks became instrumental in serving special political interests, including climate politics. Conservative think tanks will be portrayed as key members of counter-movements such as the Cooler Heads Coalition which are providing counter-evidence for political decision-makers, conservative media, and the wider public.
Alexander Ruser

Chapter 5. Members Only: Think Tanks and Climate Politics in Germany

Abstract
This chapter maps the think tank landscape in Germany highlighting structural and historical particularities that help explain why academic research institutions and party foundations dominate while German think tanks in general stay more in the background. The chapter explains the paramount significance of “membership” in public research networks to exercise political influence.
Alexander Ruser

Chapter 6. German and US Think Tanks in Comparison

Abstract
This chapter systematically compares the two cases, analysing the way in which think tanks “fit in” their respective institutional and political environment and how they shape public debate and political decision-making on climate politics. The chapter shows that the respective knowledge regime influences opportunities for think tanks to accumulate “social capital” and in consequence affects the strategies that are available to them.
Alexander Ruser

Chapter 7. Conclusion and Outlook

Abstract
It is tempting to portray think tanks as a “fifth column” of powerful corporate interests, reflecting the preferences of political and economic “power elites” (Mills 1956). For Naomi Klein, for instance, think tanks are important adversaries of the political left: ‘We did not lose the battles of ideas. We were not outsmarted and we were not out-argued,’ we lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks’ (Klein 2007).
Alexander Ruser

Backmatter

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