Forging ahead under a changing sky: Meteorological services and crop seed breeding as climate change adaptation in China

PhD Project

Anthropogenic climate change is no longer a scientific prediction but an unfolding, lived experience that is increasingly affecting people and the nonhuman world. Since climate change mitigation has lacked behind ‘safe’ emissions reduction levels so far, increased political and practical attention is payed towards questions of adaptation to changing environmental conditions. As heterogeneous impacts intensify across the globe, the adaptive decisions made (or not made) influence present and future trajectories across societies and localities across all scales.

In agriculture, climate change presents another layer of change and uncertainty to the question of how to ensure food security in addition to a wide range of other challenges. With a focus on agriculture in the People’s Republic of China, this project seeks to understand ways in which climate change adaptation is addressed in a non-democratic political system and what is discussed in deciding which locally specific socio-ecological transformations to embark upon.

I focus on two cases of adaptation to climate change that aim at agricultural practice: rural meteorological services and crop seed breeding. How do these two fields of meteorological services and crop seed breeding interact with the questions raised by climate change? How does the issue of climate change enter and integrate into long-standing debates around progress and reform amongst experts and decision-makers?

This project contributes to research interested in reflexivity in environmental decision-making and coping with uncertainties at the interface of science and policy under climate change. In-depth reading of party-state documents and domestic scientific publications allows a nuanced analysis of debates, hierarchies and practical sensemaking at the intersection of climate change and agriculture, environmental change and decision-making processes.