Monday, August 12, 2013

Like humans, climate scientists have a vested interest in getting the right policy on climate change

We scientists talk to each other ... much. Usually it comes out or techniques that can help you better understand the world around us. Sometimes, however, we talk about how to communicate our science in the world. We believe that our research is essential to help everyone make better decisions today to protect the future of us all.

During one of those conversations that I had with a colleague, Dr. Andrew Dessler, we come to the question of how scientists should defend the public. In particular, we focus on recently published an article in the Guardian myopic. After our conversation. Dr. Dessler writes his thoughts below in the context of this blog. Take Andy ...

"In a recent post for The Guardian, Dr Tamsin Edwards says that scientists should scrupulously avoid promoting specific policies - even going so far as to say that it is a "moral obligation."

The basic argument of Dr. Edward is that the general public is too stupid to understand the difference between science and scientific defense policy conversation. While most members of the general public are not scientists who are experts in the research are the experts and to discern what the practical importance of the opinion of experts. Arguing that we filter what we say to the general public so as not to confuse them is patronizing and greatly underestimated their intelligence and abilities.

collect and interpret evidence." Certainly can not believe it, but this is wrong. Cognitive research has shown that views on climate science can be explained almost entirely by the values ??of a person - for example, their views on the role of government.

The skeptical argument that "scientists are political supporters" is nothing more than a post hoc rationalization for rejecting the expert opinion of the world scientific community, allowing skeptics to come a conclusion consistent with their values. While scientists have been promoting policies, skeptics simply think of another excuse to reject the advice of scientific experts. Blaming scientists skeptical of irrationality is hopelessly naive.

So what I think scientists should do? Firstly, I think it depends on each individual researcher to decide where to draw the line. If Dr. Edwards is uncomfortable talking about a carbon tax, then you definitely should not talk. When I speak in public about climate change, I feel comfortable saying that, as a citizen who happens to know a lot about science, I strongly support action to reduce GHG emissions. If people want more details, I can add that political experts agree that the key policy action we must take is a price on carbon, which can be achieved either a carbon tax or cap-and-trade.
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