Sikina Jinnah named a 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow

Photo of Sikina Jinnah
Associate Professor of Politics Sikina Jinnah specializes in global environmental politics and international institutions. She will study the contentious subject of international regulation of climate geoengineering. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.)

Sikina Jinnah, associate professor of politics, was awarded a 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards available to scholars in the social sciences and humanities.

Jinnah is one of 35 winners selected from a field of nearly 200 nominees who were put forward by their home institutions. Jinnah's project was submitted by Chancellor George Blumenthal, who described Jinnah as "arguably one of the most qualified scholars to take on a study of the contentious topic of international regulation of climate geo-engineering."

Andrew Carnegie Fellows receive support that allows them to focus on research and writing projects that address pressing issues. Jinnah was awarded $200,000 to fund her proposal, "Global Governance of Climate (Geo)Engineering," which will address the political challenges surrounding governance of emerging technologies designed to address climate change. Recipients were announced in a full-page ad in the New York Times today (April 26).

Jinnah specializes in global environmental politics and international institutions. She is the author of Post-Treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance (MIT Press), which received the 2016 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award from the International Studies Association for the best book in international environmental affairs. She is also co-editor of New Earth Politics: Essays from the Anthropocene (MIT Press 2017).

As part of her fellowship, Jinnah will focus on global governance for the suite of emerging technologies known as climate engineering, or simply geoengineering. Climate engineering has long been a taboo topic in climate science and policy circles, with many arguing it would distract attention away from greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation strategies. Recently, however, the idea has gained traction in global politics—in, for example, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change references to negative emission technologies, and the Paris Agreement’s call for a net negative carbon economy by mid-century.

Jinnah argues that governance remains insufficient to manage the substantial uncertainties surrounding the efficacy and possible broader social impacts of these technologies. Without advocating for the actual use of climate engineering, Jinnah argues that near-term governance is needed to enable society to make informed determinations about any future use—or rejection—of climate engineering technologies for addressing climate change.

Fellowship recipients were announced by the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding. Nominations were reviewed by one or more of 33 anonymous evaluators; final selections were made by a 16-member committee of distinguished scholars that includes 10 current or former university presidents.

"The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program is designed to support scholarship that brings fresh perspectives from the social sciences and humanities to the social, political, and economic problems facing the United States and the world today," said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Jinnah joined the UC Santa Cruz faculty in July 2016. She came to the campus from American University's School of International Service. She earned her Ph.D. in environmental science, policy, and management from UC Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.