Climate Change Media Partnership

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Maxwell T. Boykoff
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Profile Information

What is your name?
Max
What organisation do you work for?
University of Colorado-Boulder
What country are you based in?
USA
Please summarise your areas of climate-change expertise (in terms of subjects and geographical areas)
My research has concentrated on interactions between state and non-state actors at the interface of environmental science, policy and practice. Woven through these endeavors, I have engaged in two primary research areas:

1. issues in the cultural politics of climate change, and
2. transformations of carbon-based economies and societies.
These pursuits also intersect with issues of public understanding and engagement/action as well as ongoing considerations of ethics, environmental justice movements, and climate adaptation.
What is your telephone number?
001-303-735-6316
Do you have a Skype account?
no
Which languages can you give interviews in?
english
What is your website address?
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/about_us/meet_us/max_boykoff/
Please use this section to introduce yourself in more detail so the administrator can decide whether to approve your membership
The first strand of work involves projects such as analyses of media coverage of climate change, how discourses influence workings in the new carbon economy and ongoing environmental policymaking, and the role of celebrity endeavors in environmental issues. His work on media representational practices and climate change has entailed inter- and intra-national analyses through interdisciplinary and mixed-method approaches. He has explored how media representations shape and are shaped by socio-economic and geopolitical contexts, as well as how they influence public understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change. This research has sought to clarify contentions as well as improve connections between media, science, policy and civil society.

He has authored or co-authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters for edited volumes on this theme (below many are listed). Among them, he co-authored a background paper in 2007 for the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports (with Prof. J. Timmons Roberts, College of William and Mary). At present, Max is completing a monograph book (for Cambridge University Press) entitled "Who Speaks for Climate? Making Sense of Mass Media Reporting on Climate Change."

Related to this work, he has delivered presentations in many venues such as the G8+5 Environment Ministers meeting in Siracusa, Italy in April 2009, the 5th World Congress of Science Journalists in London, UK in July 20009, a side-event at the 2008 UN Conference of Parties meeting to the UNFCCC in Poland in December 2008, and a session (he chaired as well) on "Media and Climate Change" at the March 2009 Copenhagen Climate Congress, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Also related, Max Boykoff and Maria Mansfield are tracking newspaper coverage of climate change or global warming in 50 newspapers across 20 countries and 6 continents. To view the latest graph see: 2004-2009 World Newspaper Coverage of Climate Change or Global Warming (updated monthly)

In associated research in the cultural politics of climate change, Max is working on a project with Dr. Michael K. Goodman (Lecturer in Geography at Kings College London) on the role of celebrity interventions at the interface with climate science, governance and the everyday. This examines how the (de)legitimisation of a particular set "privileged" non nation-state actors influence unfolding considerations and actions to grapple with anthropogenic climate change. They have been working to theoretically and empirically explore some of the promises, pitfalls and contradictions of this increasingly entrenched set of amplified non-state "actor" voices. One paper from this project is forthcoming in the May 2009 issue of Geoforum on the theme of "extended networks at the science-policy interface". Another paper is a book chapter called "The cultural politics of climate change: interaction in everyday spaces" forthcoming in the edited book "The Politics of Climate Change: A Survey" (edited by Max), due out in November [Download working paper verion]. (see below for more).

In addition, Max has assessed public understanding climate change through collaborations with AC Nielsen market research organization and colleagues J. Timmons Roberts (Chancellor Professor of Sociology, College of William and Mary), Diana Liverman (Professor of Geography, University of Oxford) and Ian Curtis (University of Oxford). They have contributed for the past three years on global omnibus online surveys that involve approximately 28,000 respondents in 51-countries. Max has also worked with Oxford University"s Lower Carbon Futures team and leading members of the UK music industry to develop viable and multi-scale – from individual to collective – strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in music production and performances. From this, he contributed to a report called First Step: UK Music Industry Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2007.

The second strand of ongoing research is focused on aspects of carbon-based industry and society. This engagement has taken many current forms. Among them, Max has co-authored a paper with Dr. David Frame (Deputy Director, Smith School of Enterprise & the Environment, University of Oxford) and Dr. Sam Randalls (Lecturer in Geography, University College London), which has just been accepted to the journal Global Environmental Change. This article interrogates the institutionalization of the discourse of "climate stabilization" over the last three decades. Taking a historical perspective, they argue that while this discourse has been valuable in making climate science legible and useful to governance in the past, it is now limiting wider considerations for alternative mitigation efforts, through premature foreclosure around fixed international policies.

In another project, Max is collaborating with Dr. Emily Boyd (Leeds University) in order to examine cultural interpretations of disasters, as well as climate adaptation strategies in urban environments. In this project they have focused on adaptation to flood events in Mumbai, India, and compare particular events in recent years to flooding in urban areas of the UK, and associated adaptive strategies. This project links with some of Max"s past research that has examined vulnerability and livelihood issues in relation to global climate change and extreme events in Honduras. They have presented preliminary research on this project at a number of international conferences such as the Open Meeting of the International Human Dimension Programme of Global Environment Change in Bonn Germany in April 2009 and the World Bank Urban Research Symposium on Cities and Climate Change in Marseille France in June 2009. They are preparing one article from the project for a special issue of Antipode on "What is "new" about the carbon economy?" This is scheduled to appear in 2010, with a Wiley-Blackwell companion book in 2011. Max is co-editor of this special issue and book with Dr. Emily Boyd as well as Dr. Peter Newell (University of East Anglia).

Further, Max has co-edited a special issue of "Theorising the Carbon Economy" with Dr. Sam Randalls (University College London) for the October 2009 issue in Environment and Planning A. He has co-authored the introduction with Dr. Adam Bumpus (University of Oxford), Prof. Diana Liverman (University of Oxford), and Dr. Sam Randalls (University College London). Authors in this special issue brought a range of theoretical tools to bear in attempts to understand, interpret and productively critique contemporary constellations of interests surrounding the "carbon economy". The articles emerged mainly from a set of sessions on "Theorising the Carbon Economy" at the 2007 Association of American Geographers meeting, in San Francisco, California.

Connected to these projects, in 2008 Max co-authored an edited book, entitled "Contentious Geographies: Environmental Knowledge, Meaning and Scale", with Dr. Michael K. Goodman (Lecturer in Geography, Kings College London) and Dr. Kyle Evered (Assistant Professor of Geography, Michigan State University), published through Ashgate. The volume focuses on human-environment relationships across a range of issues, scales, spaces and contexts. Through an array of critical approaches, case studies explore how conflicts over resources, livelihoods and the environment are (re)considered and (re)negotiated in efforts to achieve more effective environmental stewardship.

Max brings these two research areas together through a book he has edited for Routledge/Europa called "The Politics of Climate Change" (mentioned above too). This volume will be available in November 2009, and brings together scholars from many disciplines to examine pivotal elements shaping attitudes, knowledge, and actions specifically on climate change. View advance purchasing information.

Here is the table of contents:

* Foreword: TIM O"RIORDAN, University of East Anglia
* Introduction: MAXWELL BOYKOFF, University of Oxford
* 1) The Politics of Climate Science (STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER, Stanford University, and MICHAEL D. MASTRANDREA, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University)
* 2) The History of International Climate Change Politics: Three Decades of Progress, Process and Procrastination (HEIKE SCHROEDER, University of Oxford)
* 3) The Politics of Interstate Climate Negotiations: (CHUKWUMERIJE OKEREKE, University of Oxford)
* 4) Protagonists on the Market of Climate Knowledge (HANS VON STORCH, Institute of Coastal Research, GKSS Research Center)
* 5) The Politics of the Carbon Economy (PETER NEWELL, University of East Anglia, and MATTHEW PATERSON, University of Ottawa)
* 6) Impacts and Adaptation: The Politics of Disasters and Consequences (MARIA CARMEN LEMOS, University of Michigan and EMILY BOYD, Leeds University)
* 7) Addressing Inequality and Building Trust to Secure a Post-2012 Global Climate Deal (BRADLEY C. PARKS, London School of Economics, and J. TIMMONS ROBERTS, Brown University)
* 8) Climate Ethics and the "Dirty Hands" of Climate Politics (MARK SHEEHAN, University of Oxford)
* 9) Cultural Politics of Climate Change: Interactions in Everyday Spaces (MAXWELL BOYKOFF, University of Oxford, and MICHAEL GOODMAN, Kings College London and IAN CURTIS, University of Oxford)
* 10) Costly Knowledge – Unaffordable Denial: The Politics of Public Understanding and Engagement on Climate Change (SUSANNE C. MOSER, Susanne Moser Research and Consulting and University of California-Santa Cruz)
* A – Z terms: (MAXWELL BOYKOFF, University of Oxford, and CHUKWUMERIJE OKEREKE, University of Oxford)

Max's research has also been mentioned in a range of outlets such as Science, Nature, the Guardian, the New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Utne Reader, The Toronto Star, Environmental Science and Technology, La Rázon (Spain), China Meteorological Administration, (US) National Public Radio, Grist, United Press International (UPI), In addition, research Max published with Jules Boykoff appeared in the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth. Max has also appeared on CNN International and France24 television.

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