Conference “Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability in the Pacific Region: knowledge, policies, and transfers (1970s-present)”

Country: Japan

City: Tokyo

Abstr. due: 15.07.2020

Dates: 19.04.21 — 21.04.21

Area Of Sciences: Ecology; Geography;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: German Institute of Japan Studies, in collaboration with the Max Weber Foundation Research Group at the National University of Singapore and the Max Weber Foundation China Branch Office in Beijing



Doubtlessly, climate change and environmental degradation pose some of the most urgent problems of our time. However, while most nation-states and non-state actors acknowledge that immediate action is required and the consumption of fossil energy and a variety of other natural resources needs to be curbed drastically, success stories remain scarce. Reasons for this are manifold and stretch from national economic goals to geopolitical rivalries, from social structures to cultural preferences/habits.

Our conference will focus on the Pacific region, which over the last decades has turned into a powerhouse of the world economy. The ever increasing hunger of Pacific Rim countries like China, the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and Mexico for natural resources to fuel this growth vastly affects mankind´s chances of finding sustainable modes of living on this planet and of mitigating climate change to levels defined as bearable according to the Paris Agreement.

The present interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the historical development of attitudes towards climate change and environmental degradation within various Pacific Rim countries, as well as interactions between their climate, energy, and environmental policies. In which instances have the issues appeared on the agenda of political decision makers both on national and regional levels? To what extent have there been transfers and/or tensions between the countries of the Pacific region regarding the knowledge about these interrelated concerns and ways of handling them? What kinds of transnational cooperation and conflicts have taken place between Pacific Rim countries in the realm of energy policy and environmental preservation and to what extent have they been related to attempts to mitigate climate change?

We are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in papers on historical and present developments of

  • climate change knowledge creation and transfer between Pacific Rim countries
  • transpacific entanglements and influences on sustainability discourses and policies
  • transpacific cooperation concerning climate, environment, and energy issues
  • various energy policy approaches in and between Asia Pacific countries and their implications for climate change
  • climate change mitigation efforts and environmental protection policies on the part of regional, national, and international activists and decisionmakers
  • transnational influences on the way climate change has been used, ignored, and/or (mis)interpreted in national debates within various Pacific Rim countries
  • new (trans)Pacific trends in climate mitigation and energy policy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis

Travel costs and accommodation will be taken care of by the Max Weber Foundation / German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Conference Web-Site: