Climate Politics in Interesting Times: Workshop Recap

Last Friday, the PSA Environment Specialist Group hosted a workshop at Keele University to discuss Climate Politics in Interesting Times. The event was made possible through funding provided by the Political Studies Association, as part of their Pushing the Boundaries programme. The theme for the event had been inspired by discussions held at the PSA Annual Conference in Glasgow earlier this year, which highlighted that the politics around governing global climate change are complex enough at the best of times. Now, a surge of populism, ‘fake news’, and the election of Donald Trump as US President, all in times of ongoing austerity in Western democracies, add even greater challenges to the picture. In response, we held a research workshop to explore what these ‘interesting times’ mean for the prospects, barriers, and new opportunities of climate governance.


Panel discussion on Brexit, Trump and the Geopolitics of Climate Change

A group of academics, researchers, activists, and policy-makers gathered at Keele University’s Sustainability Hub in order to explore questions such as how has transnational climate governance evolved since Paris 2015? How are climate politics being affected by the recent political changes such as Brexit, Trump’s election, and the rise in populism around these events? And how might academic research and political action help to overcome any challenges and open up new opportunities in this context?



Louise Maythorne runs a clinic on Grant Writing in Environmental Politics

These questions were explored through two panel sessions, the first on Trump, Brexit, and the geopolitics of climate change, and the second on New actors and spaces on the horizon. This was followed by a grant writing clinic hosted by Louise Maythorne, and a working lunch where participants could ask questions and seek advice on developing their own grant applications.


Panel discussion on New actors and new spaces on the horizon?

The event concluded with a roundtable to discuss the future of climate politics. Roundtable participants included Mike Childs (Head of Policy, Research and Science at Friends of the Earth), Neil Carter (University of York), Marc Hudson (Editor of Manchester Climate Monthly), Sherilyn Macgregor (University of Manchester), and Sam Gibbons (Keele University). The roundtable produced a wealth of engaging discussions, ranging from the tensions between activism and maintaining independence as a researcher, to how researchers and activists can best engage and communicate with the public, and to what extent there is still hope for the future in the battle against climate change. For more detail on the presentations and debates that unfolded during the day, you can view the live-tweeting that happened on the day by searching for ‘#CPIT2017’ on twitter, or by viewing our PSA Environment twitter account (@psaenvironment). In addition to providing space for discussion and debate, Friday’s event was also used as a ‘springboard’ event to encourage members to get in touch if you have any ideas for events that you would like to see take place. We can help to provide administrative, advertising, and sometimes also funding support, depending on the event. So if you have any ideas for events that you would like to see take place, please get in touch at psa.environment [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you attend Friday’s event, you may be interested in using the discussions to develop a paper or panel submission for the next PSA Annual Conference, held on 26-28 March 2018 in Cardiff. The conference theme will be ‘Politics in Interesting Times: Asking the Difficult Questions’, which links closely to the themes discussed at our climate politics workshop. We will be issuing a call for papers shortly, but in the meantime if you wish to submit a paper or panel affiliated to the group please let us know via email.

Finally, we’d like to sincerely thank all those that attended the workshop, especially those who presented papers and our roundtable speakers. We very much look forward to seeing you all at our next event!

Programme Released: Climate Politics in Interesting Times

We are excited to announce the programme for our upcoming event at Keele University on Climate Politics in Interesting Times.   The event will consist of two academic panels, a grant writing clinic, and a roundtable on the future of climate politics. We are fortunate to have such esteemed guests as Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, and Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science at Friends of the Earth, participating in the roundtable. There is still time to register your attendance free of charge via Eventbrite.

Further details are available in the programme below. We hope to see you there!

Climate Politics in Interesting Times

Friday 15th September 2017, 10:30-16:30

The Sustainability Hub, Keele University, ST5 5BG


From 10:30 Arrival / Coffee / Welcome
11:00 – 12:15 Panel 1: Trump, Brexit and the new geopolitics of climate change

Chair: Marit Hammond

·       John Vogler (Keele): Climate change at the G7 and G20

·       Fay Farstad, Neil Carter and Charlotte Burns (York): ‘What does Brexit mean for the UK’s Climate Change Act?’

·       Joanna Wilson (Manchester): ‘An Intersectional Feminist Approach to Climate Change Politics Post-Trump’

·       Paul Tobin (Manchester) & Charlotte Burns (Sheffield): ‘EU Climate Policy at a Time of Crisis’

12:15 – 12:30 Grant writing clinic with Louise Maythorne
12:30 – 13:30 ‘Working lunch’ to share questions and advice about grant writing
13:30 – 14:45 Panel 2: New actors and spaces on the horizon?

Chair: Marit Hammond

·       Sidan Wang (Exeter): ‘Dynamic climate change discourse and discourse coalitions in newspapers in China across 2007, 2009 and 2015’

·     Lydia Messling (Reading): ‘Climate Change Scientists as Advocates? The tensions between scientific independence, poor policy, and avoiding a dangerous world’

·       Ian Christie (Surrey): ‘Cities and the Limits of Climate Politics’

·       Stephen Hall and Ian Smith (UWE Bristol): ‘Exploring “self organised” responses to climate change in Europe: A Q Methodology Study’

14:45 – 15:00 Coffee break
15:00 – 16:30 Roundtable: The future of climate politics in interesting times

Chair: Shashi van de Graaff

·       Neil Carter, Professor of Environmental Politics, University of York

·       Sherilyn MacGregor, Reader in Environmental Politics, University of Manchester

·       Marc Hudson, Editor, Manchester Climate Monthly/PhD student, University of Manchester

·       Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader, Green Party UK

·       Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science, Friends of the Earth

16:30 Close



Climate Politics in Interesting Times

Upcoming PSA Environment Event at Keele University

On Friday 15 September, the PSA Environment Group will be hosting a workshop on Climate Politics in Interesting Times at Keele University. The politics around governing global climate change are complex enough at the best of times. Now, a surge of populism, ‘fake news’, and the election of Donald Trump as US President, all in times of ongoing austerity in Western democracies, add even greater challenges to the picture. In this research workshop, we will explore what these ‘interesting times’ mean for the prospects, barriers, and new opportunities of climate governance. The event brings together academics, researchers, activists and policy-makers with expertise in climate politics, to explore any or all of the following questions:
  • How has the transnational climate governance arena evolved since Paris 2015?
  • What new barriers have arisen as a result of austerity, populism, Brexit and Trump?
  • How might they be addressed?
  • What are the prospects for international climate politics without US involvement in the Paris Agreement?
  • Does the changed context create any new opportunities as well?
  • What are the (new?) roles of scientists / experts / activists / citizens in today’s climate politics?

Contributions are invited that deal with these or related questions in relation to climate politics at all levels – local, regional, national, trans- and international – focussing on different types of actors and specific issue areas, and from all relevant disciplines, whether empirical or theoretical. We particularly invite contributions and participation of postgraduate students and early career researchers. Some funding is available to help support travel expenses for postgraduates and early career researchers on fixed-term contracts; please just include a note outlining why you would need to draw on this with your abstract submission.

The workshop will comprise:
  • Two academic research panels on different specific themes;
  • A roundtable that brings together these scholarly perspectives with the perspectives of practitioners, activists and policy-makers;
  • A career advice session for postgraduate students and early career researchers; and
  • A grant writing clinic specifically geared towards environmental research.

Whether you are submitting a paper or roundtable outline, or would just like to attend as a participant without presenting, please register via the Eventbrite page:

Please submit your abstracts or outlines to Marit Hammond (m.hammond [at] by Monday 10 July 2017. Those interested in presenting a panel paper should submit an abstract of 300 words max.; those interested in taking part in the practitioner roundtable should submit a brief outline of their role and the position/themes they would wish to speak about, also of 300 words max. 

Further details about the workshop will be posted in the coming weeks. We hope to see you there!

PSA Environment at the 2017 Annual Conference

A very big thank-you to all our panellists and members that attended the PSA Annual Conference in Glasgow this month! It was wonderful to see you all and we hope you enjoyed the panels and the conference. We had two panels at the conference this year, both of which were very well attended and received. All panellists are warmly invited to transform their papers into a blog post for our website – please get in touch if you are interested in doing so!

Thanks again to all those who attended and we look forward to seeing you all at the next conference in 2018!

PSA Annual Conference 2017

Only one week until the PSA Annual Conference in Glasgow! We have two panels at the conference this year, both on Wednesday 12th April. All panels and our AGM are being held at the Technology & Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Theoretical Perspectives on Environmental Governance and Citizen Engagement

Session 7 09:00 – 10:30

Chair: Dr Paul Tobin (University of Manchester)

Room: Conference Room 1

Dr Marit Hammond (Keele University) Social Resilience and Conceptions of Sustainability

Dr James Wong (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) Representing Future Generations in Environmental Democracy

Scott Leatham (De Montfort University) Selling Aspiration, Selling Activism: Green Marketing and the Reduction of Crisis to Commodity

Professor Derek Bell (Newcastle University), Dr Joanne Swaffield (Newcastle University) What Should You or I Do About Climate Change? Exploring Individual Responsibility for Protecting Other People’s Human Rights

Crisis and Uncertainty: Environmental Politics in Interesting Times

Session 8 11:00–12:30

Chair: Shashi van de Graaff (University of Queensland)

Room: Conference Room 1
Dr Paul Tobin (University of Manchester) and Dr Charlotte Burns (University of York) Ever Greener Union, or European Greenwash? Changes to European Union Environmental Narratives since the Eurozone Crisis Began

Professor Elizabeth Bomberg (University of Edinburgh) and Alice Hague (University of Edinburgh) Faith-based Climate Mobilization: Exploring the Role of Spiritual Resources

Esther Lew (University of St Andrews) Global Climate Governance and ‘Ego-Perceptions’ of Responsibility: A Malaysian Perspective


You are also invited to our AGM on Tuesday 11th April, 12:30 – 13:30, Executive Room B. We strongly encourage all our members to attend!

See you in Glasgow!

Postgraduate Essay Competition

“The relationship between the environment and quality of life”

Win up to £200 and create impact beyond your research!

 The PSA Environment Specialist Group is inviting submissions of 1500-word essays on the theme “The relationship between the environment and quality of life”.

This should be understood as a broad topic – your essay can focus on any area of environmental politics research or personal reflection, whether philosophically, theoretically, empirically, or comparatively inspired; addressing the past, the present, or visions of the future; and relating to any scale and level of abstraction you like.

What can you win?

Winners will earn an immediate cash prize as well as getting a rare opportunity to produce research impact this early in your career: With the help of us from the Environment Group as well as the PSA outreach and early careers teams, you will have the chance to turn your essayideas into professional teaching materials which will be made available through the PSA and used for special taster sessions for A level students interested in studying Politics at University.

Cash prizes:

Winner – £200

Runner-up – £150

Third place – £100

All entrants will also have the chance to publish their essay in a special postgraduate series on the PSA Environment blog.

How to take part?

To take part, you must be a Masters or PhD student in Environmental Politics or a broadly related subject. Submit your essay of a maximum of 1500 words in length to psa.environment [at] by 20th November 2016, midnight UK time.

The judging panel consists of co-convenors of the Environment Group Marit Hammond and Shashi van de Graaff as well as PSA Programme Development and Outreach Officer Josh Niderost. Winners will be announced on 1st December and notified by email.

We look forward to your submissions!

Call for Papers – PSA Conference 2017

The PSA Annual Conference 2017 will be taking place in Glasgow, between the 10th and 12th of April 2017, at the Technology & Innovation Centre – University of Strathclyde. You’ll find all available information on the conference on the PSA website. Registration rates will be published at the end of October and registration opens at the end of November.

Our Group will propose up to six panels for inclusion in the conference. Each year, our panels produce fascinating and lively debates, and we’re certain that we’ll see the same again next year.

Panel and Paper Submissions

We welcome your submissions for both panels and individual papers by 5pm on Monday 10th October 2016.

The theme of the conference is ‘Politics in Interesting Times’. We will consider all panels that broadly link with the conference theme, whether through a comparative, policy, global, local, empirical or green theory lens.

If you are submitting a full panel proposal, it will need to include full details of the papers (titles, abstracts, etc) and the authors (names, email addresses, etc.). If you would like to propose a panel but are seeking additional papers to support it, just email us and we can advertise your panel on our group website, or tweet us at @psaenvironment and we’ll advertise your requests.

If you are submitting an individual paper, we can sort these papers into panels after you have submitted your paper.

The PSA is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all areas of its work. As such, all panels submitted to the annual international conference must endeavour to reflect the diversity of the profession and gender balance – we will be taking this into account when accepting proposals.

Postgrads and Undergrads

PSA Postgraduate members who have had a paper proposal accepted for the conference will be eligible to apply for the PSA’s central Postgraduate Access fund for help with conference registration and accommodation costs. Applications will open along with conference registration in late November 2016.

In addition, the Environmental Politics Group will be making a small number of travel bursaries available to its postgraduate members to help facilitate their participation in our panels. To register your interest in applying please send an email to Marit, at m.boeker [at]

For the first time a PSA Undergraduate Research Conference will take place on Thursday 13th April. Details will be made available shortly, but any members interested in organising an Environmental Politics presence at the conference are encouraged to get in touch with us.

Looking forward to seeing you at the conference!