International expertise under 'controversy'. The case of the IPCC
Kari De Pryck
(University of Geneva)
Paper short abstract:
In this paper, we explored how controversies have influenced and made more visible the practices, procedures and discourses of hybrid organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Paper long abstract:
International expert organizations are an integral part of global environmental politics. In particular, the mobilization of scientific information has been essential to identify complex environmental problems and their consequences at different temporal and spatial scales. International expert organizations, however, are often contested, especially on issues where "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent" (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1993, p. 744). Godard (1993) introduced the notion of controversial universes to describe the constrained environment within which these organizations evolve. In this paper, we explored how controversies have influenced and made more visible the practices, procedures and discourses of international organizations, using the case of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one of the most contested examples. We relied on both qualitative (interviews, archive analysis, ethnography) and quantitative methods (database of experts). We argued that institutional changes following internal and external controversies are shaped by the disagreements concerning the legitimacy and credibility of the organization. They have led to a need for a balanced representation of all nations in the assessment and to more negotiated outcomes. Critiques have also fostered an increase in the formalization of procedures and a more attentive management of the information displayed on the organization.
What do we still not know about the IPCC?