'Reconceiving climate action as the fractal politics of decarbonisation' with Professor Matthew Hoffmann

Past Event

17 May 2018, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This talk is organised by the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition

The Paris Agreement has ushered in a new era for the global response to climate change. The international community and scholarly world came to understand that the problem of climate change did not fit with traditional and familiar top-down cooperation efforts and the change to a bottom-up, national policy-centered approach has generated a good deal of hope. Yet, even as the response has changed, too few academics and practitioners have moved beyond conventional conceptions of the problem and politics of climate change steeped in public good and global commons thinking. We need new guiding metaphors and analytic lenses and the tools that come with them for understanding the political dynamics and potential of the global response to climate change post-Paris.

In this talk, Professor Matthew Hoffmann will propose a way to reorient thinking on the global response to climate change that focuses on decarbonisation as the key political problem. Further he considers that a guiding fractal metaphor is both an accurate description of the problem structure and generative of insights for understanding and pursuing decarbonisation. This reorientation has implications for understanding the challenge of decarbonisation and for pursuing rapid decarbonisation.

About the speaker

Professor Matthew Hoffmann is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and Co-Director of the Environmental Governance Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Professor Hoffmann has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the George Washington University. His research and teaching interests include global governance, climate change politics, complexity theory, and international relations theory. In addition to a number of articles and book chapters on climate politics, carbon markets, and global governance, he is the author of Climate Governance at the Crossroads: Experimenting with a Global Response after Kyoto (Oxford University Press 2011), Ozone Depletion and Climate Change: Constructing a Global Response (SUNY Press 2005) and coeditor with Alice Ba of Contending Perspectives on Global Governance (Routledge 2005). He also is a coauthor on a recent collaborative book Transnational Climate Change Governance (Cambridge University Press 2014). His current research project, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, is Conceptualizing Policy Pathways to Decarbonization.

Professor Hoffmann is a Lead Faculty Member for the Earth System Governance network and Co-Editor of the journal Global Environmental Politics. He is also the chair of the board of directors for the Canadian NGO, Green Economy Canada and a member of the Sustainable Dialogs Canada network of scholars.