Climate. The Long Distance Between Science And Politics. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)
Last week the celebrity physicist Brian Cox appeared at the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night to discuss the state of climate with other panellist.
Several different digital platform media have covered the debate with sensationalist headlines focusing on the confrontation of two points of view. Brian Cox defended the existence of a climate change linked to anthropogenic forcing and Co2 emissions based on data and scientific agreement. Meanwhile, the Australian senator-elect Malcolm Roberts defended his doubts based on an untrusted sense over the agenda behind the institutions handling the measurements and assessments supporting Brian’s posture.
Both postures have become stereotypes in the debate on climate. Same situation can be found all over the different channels supplying information and allowing interaction between participants.
Brian used “data based” assessments representing the scientific thought. Malcolm defended his doubts based on inaccuracies on computer modelling and the need for “empirical evidence.”
The missing link
Both postures are so close that they could be called the two sides of the same coin. Both represent postures which are allegedly based on analytical thinking and resource management.
The scientific thought looks for the most accurate method to analyse situations and evaluate their impacts and applications. Similar approach is expected in politics when they take decisions applied in designing and imposing policies affecting access to social-care, education, economic stability and environmental policies.
The assessments from scientists and politicians have an impact over all aspects related with the dynamics of any society.
The posture of following data blinded by its “objectivity” is risky and any posture based entirely on datasets, should be followed with an attitude of constant critical thinking. So I would not go so hard on anybody bringing doubts into the table. But, somebody with such critical attitude, should also show it with any other assessments directly related with the implementation and designing of all other policies and use of resources.
In the present economic situation, many countries are suffering economic imbalances triggered by lousy assessments followed by the politic absence of criticism. So it takes my attention how easily it can be made a strong political statement against assessments made by scientists over the use of natural resources and its impact over the global dynamics when such strong political criticism is not applied in the design and application of other policies.
Science and Politics surged as a necessity to manage resources and apply strategies aimed to generate a sustainable growth in our societies.
Both are carried out by humans and therefore, all aspects of human behaviour are present in all sectors. Political and economic agendas and personal interests are involved in both sides. But also the responsibility behind any decision and posture having an impact over the whole society.
Science and politics are advocated to work together. The mere fact of losing trust over each other, by extension, triggers the lost of trust from society towards either politics and science.
People pick their sides and create a sense of right and wrong in a dispute which has no winner.
We need to focus on understanding the source of our differences before we can move into convincing any fictitious “opponent”. And that is what I missed in the debate. A discussion over the source of the differences between both postures, a scientists and a politician.
One major question arise for me from the debate which involves everyone:
Which assets do we ask for in a scientists and in a politician?
And after you think for a while over those, look at them and ask yourself why are not the same assets for both?
More assessments presenting chronologically the line of research published in this blog can be accessed in the category Framework and Timeline.
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