Time for Climate Scientists to ‘Stop Watering Down Their Work’
A German researcher is calling on climate scientists to “stop watering down their work to appease smooth-talking politicians,” reports Grist editorial fellow Suzanne Jacobs.
“The negotiations’ goal has become what is politically possible, not what is environmentally desirable,” writes Oliver Geden of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in the journal Nature, referring to the process leading up to UN climate talks in Paris in December.
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“Climate researchers who advise policy-makers feel that they have two options: Be pragmatic or be ignored.”
Geden argues that “scientific advisers should resist the temptation to be political entrepreneurs, peddling their advice by exaggerating how easy it is to transform the economy or deploy renewable technologies.” But he acknowledges that “while scientists can stand on their lab benches, notebooks held high, and bellow their findings to the world (and it would be awesome if they did), their input will only go so far,” Jacobs writes, in an era when evidence-based policy-making has been replaced by “policy-based evidence-making.”
Geden is receiving pushback from colleagues: one accuses him of taking “an ivory-tower view of life,” while another says he’s failed to factor in the potential of climate mitigation technologies.