My dissertation, We Are All In This Together: Climate Change and the Global Ethos, addresses the problem of inaction on climate change, using political theory supported by work in international relations and environmental politics. I am working under the direction of Corey Brettschneider (chair), James Morone, Nina Tannenwald, Sharon Krause, and J. Timmons Roberts (Sociology/Environmental Studies). It argues that our collective global habits (our ethos) are out of sync with what will be required of us to adequately address the problem of climate change. We need to collectively be much better at living sustainably and my dissertation provides an account of how we might achieve this by way of a new ethos I call in-it-togetherness.
The dissertation takes this core theoretical claim and demonstrates its practical utility by applying it to two major means of addressing climate change: reforming the global climate regime and technological innovation. In the former, I argue that the recent Paris Agreement embodies the idea of in-it-togetherness, but this makes it all the more imperative to hold states to account for their pledges. In the latter, I argue that technological innovation alone is highly unlikely to achieve a lasting solution, but that the right mix of technologies coupled with a change in ethos presents a more likely to succeed approach. I have presented material from chapters of my dissertation at the Annual Meetings of the American Political Science, Midwest Political Science and New England Political Science Associations, and I expect to turn the dissertation into a book manuscript.