The ‘co’ in co-production of climate action: Challenging boundaries within and between science, policy and practice
Effective action taken against climate change must find ways to unite scientific and practice-based knowledges associated with the various stakeholders who see themselves as invested in the global delivery of climate governance. Political decision-makers, climate scientists and practitioners approach this challenge from what are often radically different perspectives and experiences. While considerable work has been done to develop the idea of ‘co-production’ in the development of climate action outputs, questions remain over how to best unite the contrasting epistemological traditions and norms associated with different stakeholders. Drawing on the existing literatures on climate action co-production and from translational perspectives on the science-policy interface, in this paper we develop the concept of ‘boundary agency’. Defining this as the agency ‘possessed’ when willing and able to translate between different epistemological communities invested in a similar policy and governance challenge such as climate change, we offer it as a useful means to reflect on participants’ understanding of the ‘co’ in co-production. This is in contrast to the more established (often academic-led) focus on what it is that is being produced by co-production processes. We draw from two complementary empirical studies, which explicitly encouraged i) engagement and ii) reflection on cross-boundary co-production between climate action stakeholders from different backgrounds. Reflecting on the two studies, we discuss the benefits of (and barriers to) encouraging more active and sustained engagement between climate action stakeholders so as to try to actively blur the boundaries between science and policy and, in doing so, invent new epistemological communities of practice.
C. Howarth, M. Lane, S. Morse-Jones, K. Brooks, D. Viner, The ‘co’ in co-production of climate action: Challenging boundaries within and between science, policy and practice, Global Environmental Change, Volume 72, 2022, 102445, ISSN 0959-3780,