Uncertainty complexity and dissent make climate change hard to tackle with normal scientific procedures. In a post-normal perspective the normal science task of "getting the facts right" is still regarded as necessary but no longer as fully feasible nor as sufficient to interface science and policy. It needs to be complemented with a task of exploring the relevance of deep uncertainty and ignorance that limit our ability to establish objective, reliable, and valid facts. This article explores the implications of this notion for the climate science policy interface. According to its political configuration the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adopted a "speaking consensus to power" approach that sees uncertainty and dissent as a problematic lack of unequivocalness (multiple contradictory truths that need to be mediated into a consensus). This approach can be distinguished from two other interface strategies: the "speaking truth to power approach," seeing uncertainties as a temporary lack of perfection in the knowledge (truth with error bars) and the "working deliberatively within imperfections" approach, accepting uncertainty and scientific dissent as facts of life (irreducible ignorance) of which the policy relevance needs be explored explicitly. The article recommends more openness for dissent and explicit reflection on ignorance in IPCC process and reporting.
Jeroen P. van der Sluijs
Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda
In any region of the world, in any country, each beginning of the year offers us a scenario for potential changes, purposes, goals and hopes, and 2019 does not have to be the exception. Despite various forecasts of slower global economic growth in the coming year (World Bank, Forbes, Reuters), and despite the latest reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on stressful atmospheric conditions, among other environmental discomforts around the planet, we cannot limit our human capacity to see the future with courage and optimism.
Perspectives from a Century of Water Resources Development
Clive Agnew and Philip Woodhouse
The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the influential Stern Report both reinforce the warming of the earth's climate system. The alarming environmental, social, and economic consequences of this trend call for immediate action from individuals, institutions, and governments. This article identifies parallels between the problem of adaptive management presented by climate change and an earlier 'global water crisis'. It explores how adaptive strategies have successively emphasized three different principles, based on science, economics, and politics/institutions. The article contends that the close association between climate change and water resources development enables a comparative analysis to be made between the strategies that have been adopted for the latter over the last 100 years. It argues that the experience of water resources development suggests a strong interdependence between the three principles and concludes that conceptualizing them as different dimensions of a single governance framework is necessary to meet the challenge of climate change adaptation.
Speaking Scientific Truth to Power
Charles F. Kennel
This article takes up three issues associated with connecting knowledge with social action. First, we discuss some of the pitfalls of communication and perception that are always there when natural or social scientists present their versions of truth to decision-makers. Next we review how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deals with these pitfalls in producing its global assessments. While there is only one global assessment, there will be thousands helping local communities adapt to climate change. Each will need its own analogue of IPCC, its own 'knowledge action network'. Social Anthropology will play a key role in such networks, and so will have to devise its own ways to cope with the same issues that face climate scientists when they provide advice to action leaders. The way assessments are done at the regional and community levels, especially in the developing world, will necessarily differ from IPCC practice, but the considerations that brought the IPCC into being will still apply.
This article explores how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has dealt with growing public scrutiny of its workings. It reviews recent initiatives set up to respond to the Climategate controversy. An independent review of the IPCC undertaken by an international scientific umbrella body—InterAcademy Council—can be shown to have triggered one of the turning points in the debate, placing the focus of attention on the IPCC's transparency and accountability. However, the council's recommendations have been implemented by the IPCC in such a way that the issue of public trust is treated as one of effective communication. The article then explains how IPCC's responses to Climategate can be traced back to the linear model of expertise. The article concludes with a discussion why the challenge of producing policy-relevant knowledge under conditions of heightened public scrutiny also requires new forms of scientific appraisal aimed at wider publics.
Indigenous Resurgence, Decolonization, and Movements for Environmental Justice
service of global sustainability. As a case in point, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summary report for 2014 asserts: “Indigenous, local, and traditional knowledge systems and practices, including indigenous peoples’ holistic view of
The Challenges of Geoengineering
Klaus Radunsky and Tim Cadman
Background: Rising Temperatures under Different Climate Change Scenarios In its special report on the 1.5 degrees centigrade target, published in 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded human activities are
Aquatic Imagery and Ecocritical Complexity in Titus Andronicus
categorised as one of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) recommended approaches for mitigating climate change through education, knowledge-sharing and learning platforms. 8 Patricia Yaeger makes a more direct call for the involvement of
Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies
Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
from science to decision-making have not delivered the expected results ( Lidskog and Sundqvist 2015 ). The global scientific consensus on climate change, thoroughly and continuously represented since 1990 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
A class experiment in interdisciplinary education
Anna M. Frank, Rebecca Froese, Barbara C. Hof, Maike I. E. Scheffold, Felix Schreyer, Mathias Zeller, and Simone Rödder
assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( Hulme 2011 ; Victor 2015 ). But scholars of society increasingly negotiate their role and added value, arguing that climate change is a ‘wicked social problem’ – rather than a scientific