Purpose - An assessment of the ideology of climate management. Design/Methodology/Approach - Zizek's (S. Zizek, 2004, From politics to biopolitics . . . and back, The South Atlantic Quarterly, 103(2/3): 501-521) theorization of the real and the signified is used to develop a discursive framework for capital flows associated with climate management. Media communications and decision making theories are used to interpret data drawn from participant observation and interviews with climate scientists, policy makers and institutional investors. Findings - The framework suggests a digital divide between the élites of science and privately managed capital. Its outcomes have been disastrous in terms of climate management. Published rankings of corporations' climate-readiness bear tenuous linkages with scientific data. The linking of corporate revenues to corporate carbon emissions data has represented the heaviest polluters as contributing to carbon-minimised investment portfolios. Assets owned by privately managed pension funds have remained materially exposed to risks posed by climate change. In public finance, a narrow range of financial instruments centred on derivatives trading has entrenched global North-South capital flows. Combined outcome is that access to food and clean water for nearly half the world's population remains chronically underfunded. Research limitations/implications - Descriptions of the conditions and mechanics of capital flows provide bases for research on the connections between human rights, climate change, and the stability of private pensions provision. Originality/value - Provides policy sciences useful assessments of communication media and financial instruments used in climate management. Establishes bases for theoretical and applied communications research on the uses of visualization media and rhetoric. Offers some thoughts about how to bridge the gap between the official discourses of science and privately managed capital. Suggests a suite of innovative modifications to extant financial mechanisms.
Main Research Area:
Tenth Annual Global Conference on Environmental Taxation - Water Management and Climate Change, 2009