Undermining futures : Antarctic uncertainties in a risk society. (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineAntarctic Studies
Degree NameMaster of Antarctic Studies
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Future studies and temperature modelling are innovative tools allowing for the development of polar resource management policies and initiatives; however, these tools must be credible, relevant, and legitimate to overcome barriers in the science-policy interface. If tools for polar resource management are to be credible, relevant and legitimate, then their associated uncertainties must be identified, acknowledged and appropriately communicated.
To date, futures climate modelling for Antarctica has not acknowledged the uncertainties present in the Antarctic’s physical and socio-economic elements; nor have scenarios acknowledged the social context that influences how futures are interpreted and accepted. Climate change is a wicked problem, such that there are many uncertainties involved, the risks are high and there is no obvious solution. This dissertation makes the argument that post-truth politics within the context of a risk society intensifies existing uncertainties involved with climate change and together, provides the framework to undermine Antarctic future scenario work and temperature modelling. By acknowledging and referencing uncertainties involved with Antarctic climate modelling and future scenario work, the credibility, relevance and legitimacy of the science will be increased.
In an attempt to recognise the diverse range of uncertainties particular to the Antarctic, regional physical and socio-economic elements are evaluated and discussed in this dissertation. This evaluation is displayed in a dashboard of uncertainties for future researchers to utilise, ensuring that Antarctic future scenarios assess and acknowledge different outcomes and paths for physical and socio-economic elements. Model uncertainty is the most crucial physical uncertainty for Antarctica. It is recommended that policy makers acknowledge this uncertainty in order for evidence-based decisions to be made appropriately. Additionally, Antarctic governance is particularly important, as it pervades all socio- economic elements. Researchers should acknowledge the Antarctic Treaty System’s future as the most critical of all uncertainties to consider when making future Antarctic scenarios.
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