The role of science in policy

Spiked has, what to me is, a nuanced discussion with Professor Mike Hulme (professor of climate change in the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia. He is author of Why We Disagree about Climate Change, published by Cambridge University Press.) on science and its role in informing policy.

Two quotes of Professor Hulme struck me. The first is what he see as the two different ways people view the world’s nature toward our role in climate change.

[S]ome see nature, and therefore the planet, as something that is fragile and easily dislocated. Others see that nature is actually quite robust and resilient.

The second quote is about having the wrong argument.

So I think that it’s the wider cultural phenomenon in which climate change sits that helps to explain why we’d rather argue about whether this is good science or bad science or whether a scientist is being influenced by oil companies or by environmental alarmists. We’d rather have those sorts of arguments because they seem more comforting and less challenging than arguments about the scandal of global poverty in a world of affluence, or the question of whether we can really secure unfettered capitalist growth at three per cent of GDP per annum for the next 300 years… And so the convenient arguments, the much more narrowly bounded ones about good and bad science, take their place.

Read the full article here: We must stop saying ‘The science demands…’

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