We have been given the Earth to look after, and we have also been given the science and technology to do it.
(John Houghton, quoted in Shackley, 1994:2)
The politics of science is a pervasive theme in international environmental politics, and global warming is no exception. Thus it is no surprise that some writers have developed theories as to how this politics works. Within IR, the prevailing approach is the ‘epistemic communities’ approach, developed by Peter Haas and others. This chapter tries to evaluate the utility of this approach. In a manner similar to that used in previous chapters, it concludes with a look at alternative approaches to the relationship between science and politics regarding global warming, developed mainly within the sociology of science by people like Brian Wynne (1994) and Simon Shackley (1994) and, most recently, to very good effect within IR by Karen Litfin in her book on ozone depletion (1994). These approaches are also more consistent with the general constructivist approaches in IR outlined at the end of Chapter 6.
Largely in response to the increasing number of international environmental agreements which have been signed since the beginning of the 1970s, several analysts have highlighted the role of transnational scientific and technical groups in international politics. Given that these analyses were developed to explain environmental politics, we might expect them to have something to say about the emergence of a regime on global warming. There are some notable features which distinguish this