Roger Pielke Jr. - #steps13

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Roger Pielke Jr. - #steps13

  1. 1. The Promise and Pitfalls ofScience as Political AuthorityRoger A. Pielke, Jr.University of ColoradoCredibility across cultures:expertise, uncertainty and theglobal politics of scientific advice6 February 2013University of Sussex
  2. 2. Conclusions 1. Expert advice confers great authority 2. That authority is seductive to both experts and decision makers 3. Strong institutions are necessary to preserve that authority and the advice that it brings 4. The expert community must show leadership and responsibility slide 2
  3. 3. Scientific advice has deep roots … slide 3
  4. 4. Andreas Georgiou, Hellenic Statistical Authority slide 4
  5. 5. L’Aquila Earthquake Trial of Major Risks Committee slide 5
  6. 6. David Nutt, UK Drugs Advisory Council slide 6
  7. 7. Bush Administration difficulties slide 7
  8. 8. Obama and Plan B Medication slide 8
  9. 9. Red River Floods 1997 - Beware “messages” slide 9
  10. 10. Mayor of E. Grand Forks: “I want one number” slide 10
  11. 11. All politicians have interests “But understand me correctly; at the end of the day, here in Copenhagen, we have as politicians to make the final decision… I need your assistance to push this process in the right direction, and in that respect, I need fixed targets and certain figures, and not too many considerations on Anders Fogh Rasmussen uncertainty and risk and Prime Minister of Denmark March 2009 things like that.” Science meeting in advance of Copenhagen Climate Conference slide 11
  12. 12. The seductive appeal of the “message” "That [next IPCC] report is going to scare the wits out of everyone. Im confident those scientific findings will create new political momentum.„ Yvo de Boer Former head, UN FCCC 7 November 2012 slide 12
  13. 13. Predistortion? US Rep. Bill Foster (D-IA) Foster said that scientists should expect that the information that they bring to the political process, such as through testimony before congressional committees, will inevitably be "distorted" in the political process. He then raised what he called "a difficult ethical question" -- if a scientist knows that their message will be distorted in the political process, to what degree should s/he predistort their message in hopes that what comes out the other end is a closer approximation to reality? slide 13
  14. 14. Clarifying choice for effective action slide 14
  15. 15. An Analogy: Where should we have dinner? slide 15
  16. 16. An Analogy: Where should we have dinner? Four Perspectives on Answering this Question  Pure scientist  Science arbiter  Issue advocate  Honest broker of policy alternatives slide 16
  17. 17. Science Arbiter Concierge slide 17
  18. 18. Reality Check – Science as a Political Arena "The notion that scientific advisors can or do limit themselves to addressing purely scientific issues, in particular, seems fundamentally misconceived ... the advisory process seems increasingly important as a locus for negotiating scientific differences that have political weight." Sheila Jasanoff 1990 The Fifth Branch: Science Advisors as Policymakers slide 18
  19. 19. Issue Advocate slide 19
  20. 20. What is the problem? Legitimacy “We have learned that the scientist-advocate, on either side of such a debate, is likely to be more advocate than scientist and this has unfavorably altered the public view of both the nature of the scientific endeavor and the personal attributes of scientists.” Philip Handler 1976 President U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1969-1981 Handler, P., 1976. Science and hope in science: a resource for humankind. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Bicentennial Symposium, vol. 12. slide 20
  21. 21. Honest Broker of Policy Alternatives slide 21
  22. 22. Honest brokers of policy alternatives slide 22
  23. 23. Conclusions 1. Expert advice confers great authority 2. That authority is seductive to both experts and decision makers 3. Strong institutions are necessary to preserve that authority and the advice that it brings 4. The expert community must show leadership and responsibility slide 23
  24. 24. Thank you!  pielke@colorado.edu  Papers etc. can be downloaded from: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu  Weblog: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/ 2007 2010 2010 slide 24

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