9 July 2012

Article on the role of scientists and policy makers in reaching sustainability

Article on the role of scientists and policy makers in reaching sustainability.

CAST Director Prof. Ole Wæver and the director of KU’s Sustainability Centre (and chair of the Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy etc.), Professor in Biological Oceanography Katherine Richardson published an article 'Building Bridges between Scientists and Policymakers to Reach Sustainability' in a special issue of the journal Solutions prepared for the recently held ‘Rio+20’ summit on sustainable development.

In the article Richardson and Wæver argue that now that we know that humans directly influence the earth system and its resources, we have a responsibility to actively manage that influence and to become stewards of the planetary processes that support human development. In order to successfully do so, an internationally recognized and respected infrastructure of scientific knowledge is required. This infrastructure would convey to decision makers a synthesis of the scientific understanding of a given resource’s role in earth system function as well as human impact on the resource. According to the authors, this bridge that carries scientific understanding of planetary boundaries to political decision makers has to be carefully designed drawing on understandings of the natural science as well as political science analyses of self-reinforcing transnational policymaking and science studies insights into the relationship between science and society.

The cooperation behind this article is an outgrowth of the international scientific congress ‘Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions’, held as part of the preparations to the COP15 summit in 2009, resulting in the book  Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions, Cambridge Universtiy Press 2011, where both authors of the article are in the writing team.