Scientific narratives about oil and climate change and their reverberations on Brazilian climate policy

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From an analytical perspective on the interactions between science and policy around energy and climate issues, this paper identifies different scientific narratives regarding the role of fossil fuels, specifically Brazilian pre-salt oil, in a context of climate change and energy transition to renewable sources. Next, it analyzes how these narratives were articulated with the government's positions in two moments of inflection in the international climate negotiations: in the Brazilian participation in the COP-15, through its National Policy on Climate Change, established in 2009; and in COP-21, through its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (iNDC), proposed in 2015. Using documentary research and semi-structured interviews, the article identifies and analyzes three scientific narratives about Pre-salt, shaped by both factual and subjective elements. Although all narratives are consensual about climate change and its human causes, they have brought different interpretations, expectations and propositions regarding the role of oil, especially in countries with large reserves of this resource, as is the Brazilian case. Of the three scientific narratives studied, two presented greater proximity and intertwining regarding the decisions of the Brazilian government in protecting the pre-salt from climate questions and impositions, and concentrating mitigation actions, especially in the sector of land use. The paper also highlights the relevance of the methodological and analytical approach to scientific narratives to understand the policy making process and the interfaces between science and policy around consted and multifaceted issues, such as climate change.




Viglio, J. E., Di Giulio, G. M., Barbi, F., & Ferreira, L. da C. (2019). Scientific narratives about oil and climate change and their reverberations on Brazilian climate policy. Sociologias, 21(51), 124–158.

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