Forståelse af klimaforandringer i fortid og nutid

Studenteropgave: Speciale (inkl. HD afgangsprojekt)

  • Aske Åbo Lund
4. semester, Historie, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
We are living in a time of fear concerning our future climate. The discourse about climate change is dominated by words like danger and catastrophe. But why do we have this fear of climate change? Is it constituted by present physical and cultural settings? Or is it a product of the past’s way of understanding climate? If we are able to understand the way people handled climate change in the past, we might have a chance to configure our own understanding of the climate at present and in the future. This master thesis will research the questions above and try to make sense of climate change in a social context.
This thesis will focus on the social construct of climate and try to describe the relationship between man and nature. It will furthermore focus on the difference between climate and weather. This is important to do, because the social construct of today’s climate could be something entirely different, than it was in the past. Another interesting perspective in the context of social constructionism is the aspect of power relations. What determines the way we understand climate change and how does this differ in present and past.
The little ice age was a period of extreme climate and was a lot colder than the climate today. This paper will try to clarify how people perceived climate and climate change during the little ice age from 1300 to 1850 and how they were affected by it. The changes in climate during the little ice age will represent the study’s fundamental structure. The thesis will study two different discourses of the past: the Christian discourse of climate change and the age of enlightenment discourse of climate change. This is done to understand if there are concepts from the past that still remain in our present discourse of climate change.
The Christian discourse during the little ice age is interesting in many perspectives. Firstly the general discourse will be examined. Secondly power relations between the church and the people will be studied. Thirdly the aspect of counter discourses will be looked upon.
The age of enlightenment discourse of climate change will be examined in the context whether the discourse represented a broader part of the population or just the enlightenment elite. This is done to determine whether it was the most dominant discourse of climate change at the time or just a counter discourse which opposed the Christian discourse of climate change.
Finally the two main discourses of the little ice age will be compared to each other and to the present discourse of climate change. This is done to examine if the discourses of climate change are uniquely linked to the period in which they are developed or products of accumulated experience.
This master thesis concludes that the way we understand climate today is influenced by the ways we understood climate in the past. The structure in which climate change is perceived is to a certain degree the same today as it was in the past. We live in a climate of fear, just as our ancestors did. Although in a different form, doomsday scenarios continue to be a part of the discourse of climate change. It is furthermore possible to make penance for our sins. The selection of CO2-neutral products in the supermarkets makes climate awareness to a moral choice, between the anthropogenic induced global warming and the natural climate on Earth. To get a better understanding of today’s perception of climate we need more research in how these structures work, rather than research in how “the greenhouse effect” was discovered.
Antal sider65
ID: 73415877