What is excellent Science? Challenges of Global Environmental Change Research Juergen Weichselgartner Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Institute for Coastal Research 5th SOLAS Summer School 2011 30 August, 2011, Cargese, Corsica Outline Scientific Principles A Great Example: Hans Rosling’s TED Talk Photo: Weichselgartner Cartoon: Sidney Harris Barriers and Challenges of GEC Research Potential Pathways Cartoon: Justin Bilicki What is excellent science? What are scientific principles? 1) Honesty in reporting of scientific data 2) Careful transcription and analysis of scientific results to avoid error 3) Independent analysis and interpretation of results (based on data, not on the influence of external sources) 4) Open sharing of methods, data, interpretations (through publication, presentation) 5) Sufficient validation of results (through replication, collaboration with peers) 6) Proper crediting of sources of information, data, ideas 7) Moral obligations to society (rights of human and animal subjects) see session “Ethics in Science” Source: Union of Concerned Scientists How is scientific knowledge produced? Problem Research Knowledge Translation Transfer Adoption (small-scale) Diffusion (large-scale) Rejection • “Pipeline” mode of knowledge production (i.e., by and by research will be taken up by users without additional effort by the producers) But there are pitfalls in …. • addressing multiple scales • combining physical and social aspects • co-producing knowledge Problem Research Knowledge • recognizing institutional structures • communicating science Translation Transfer Adoption (small-scale) Diffusion (large-scale) Rejection • appreciating context • identifying needed knowledge • addressing users‟ needs • ignoring management options • designing knowledge • ignoring cultural context • ignoring large-scale dynamics Who are stakeholders in science? • Editors and publishers • Research project managers • Institutional research program officials • Officials in federal and other research funding agencies • Scientists themselves • Politicians? • General public? Source: Union of Concerned Scientists What are new production forms? academic, investigator-initiated, discipline-based vs. context-driven, problem-focused, multidisciplinary • Science in action Latour, B. (1987): Science in Action: How to follow Scientists and Engineers through Society. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. • The fifth branch Jasanoff, S. (1990): The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policy Makers. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. • Post-normal science Funtowicz, S.O. & Ravetz, J.R. (1990): Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy. Kluwer, Dordrecht. • Mode 2 Gibbons, M. et al. (1994): The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. Sage, London. • Post-academic science Ziman, J.M. (1996): “Postacademic science”: Constructing knowledge with networks and norms. Science Studies 9 (1): 67-80. Barriers process level: understanding - multi-dimensional (economic, geophysical, historical a.o.) - socially divergent (varies individually, among/within groups) - scale dependent (varies temporally, spatially, unit of analysis) - dynamic (driving forces change over time) - interactive (driving forces influence each other) • Scale interactions (spatial/temporal; up-/down scaling) • Example: teleconnections Cartoon: Sidney Harris • Process characteristics Example: deforestation Amazon Snyder, Delire & Foley (2004): Evaluating the influence of different vegetation biomes on the global climate. Climate Dynamics (23): 279-302. Barriers system level: integration • Language-conceptual dissonance • Processing and dissemination of knowledge • Example: ozone depletion Cartoon: Sidney Harris • Availability, quality and transferability of data/models Example: ozone depletion 1822: Fourier identifies the “greenhouse effect” 1839: Schönbein isolates ozone (O3) by sparking air 1896: Arrhenius calculates the sensitivity of Earth‟s surface temperature to changes in CO2; forecast slow global warming 1930: Chapman discovers the physical and chemical processes that lead to the formation of an ozone layer 1960: Keeling reveals the secular increase of CO2 from direct measurement 1969: Baffling problem (Chapman‟s theory led to overestimation of the amount of O3; Crutzen proposes catalytic reduction via NO) 1970: Crutzen & Johnston describe the NOx-induced O3destruction cycle 1985: Farman et al. discover the ozone hole 16 1995: December,Nobel 1986 Prize in chemistry to Crutzen, Molina & Rowland Barriers practice level: application • Competition of prioritizing and agenda setting • Diverse responsibilities (institutions, foci) • Science-policy-practice interface (social, structural, functional barriers) • Example: public perception and political will Cartoon: Sidney Harris • Inadequate funding schemes (duration, scope) Example: risk perception Source: R. MacDonald Vancouver, 30 May, 2007 Example: political will “We must explore every reasonable prospect for meeting our energy needs when our current domestic reserves of oil and natural gas begin to dwindle in the next decade. I urgently ask Congress and the new administration to move quickly on these issues. This Nation has the resources and the capability to achieve our energy goals if its Government has the will to proceed, and I think we do.” State of the Union Address Gerald R. Ford, 1975 (38. President of the USA, 1974-77) What are barriers? Functional (objectives, needs, scopes, priorities, fragmentation) • many practical issues are not relevant/not known to scientists • multi-faceted questions that don't translate well to practitioners Cartoon: Sidney Harris Structural (inst. settings, standards, time frame, reward system) • practitioners lack accurate input data for proposed methods • “publish or perish” vs. clear recommendations Social (cultural values, communication, understanding, mistrust) • propose solutions that are often unworkable in practice • science language is too complex How to overcome barriers? • Create dense social networks that provide bi-directional links across scales and mechanisms for early problem identification in order to better match the needs of various users • Involve a variety of actors in setting up the research agenda and establish a shared problem perception within the group • Combine understanding from multiple sources in order to discover which can be adapted to diverse local contexts • Avoid to the use of generalizing, decontextualizing and reductionist approaches and strengthen integrative social-ecological approaches and tools • Engage end-users early in defining data needs to create a research process more likely to produce salient knowledge Also Batman started little … In order to increase impact you should … • Include multiple types of expertise to increase credibility • Propose context-appropriate solutions to improve relevance • Engage in collaborative production of knowledge to increase legitimacy Cartoon: Brandeins • Build a “knowledgeaction system”! Contact ______________________________________________________ Dr. Juergen Weichselgartner Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Tel.: +49-4152-871542 E-Mail: [email protected] Photo: Weichselgartner Hans Rosling’s TED Talk http://www.gapminder.org Environmental problems Traditional Modern Causation Caused by (easily) identifiable human activities, e.g., pollution of rivers Many and diffuse causes, or causes may be integrated with the way society is organized, e.g., emission from transport Visibility Visible damage to local environments Damage as a rule not directly visible, but must be identified by means of scientific research Importance of time Cause and effect can relatively easily be linked in time; those who are causing the problems are also those who suffer the consequences Cause and effects are not easily linked in time; the environmental damage may lie in the future; those causing the problem may escape the effects Importance of space Cause and effects are linked in space Cause and effects are not easily linked in space; diffuse causes like burning of fossil fuels or gene-manipulated plants spreading Role of science The problem as a rule identifiable through common knowledge; science supports and „expands‟ common understanding of the problem and how to solve it The problem is made visible only by means of scientific knowledge and expertise; the findings of research are often not supported by common knowledge or daily experience of people Naustdalslid, J. (2011): Climate change: the challenge of translating scientific knowledge into action. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology 18 (3): 243-252.
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