A commission chaired by Chris Rapley in the UK has reported that climate scientists have failed to communicate climate science adequately.
In a sense this is obvious, (people do not seem to understand what is going on) but in another sense it is absurd (when did journalism become yet another obligation of the academic?). So controversy duly ensues, but it seems to me perhaps more semantic than substantive.
Key points start with:
Climate science as currently practised finds itself mismatched
to societal needs.
Climate scientists need to reconsider their roles and expand
their knowledge and skills accordingly.
A change in the relationship between climate science and
society is required.
and move on to
Climate scientists should collectively fulfil five roles: ‘Pure
Scientist’, ‘Science Communicator’, ‘Science Arbiter’, ‘Issue
Advocate’ and ‘Honest Broker of Policy Alternatives’.
The use of the phrase “honest broker” appears to have dominated Eli’s judgment of the report, but I think this taxonomy is far more useful than the one proposed by Pielke Jr., in first popularizing the phrase in this context.
Steve doesn’t like it either.
I think that rather than seeing this as blame-the-scientist we should see it as identify-the-roles. Roger asks a good question. His answer is, I think, weak.
Perhaps this one is stronger – I have yet to read it. Perhaps not. Normally if Steve and Eli agree on something I am not likely to disagree, but in this case I may just do so.
It’s certainly true that we (society as a whole) do need to do something different in connecting science to decision-making, and I think it’s good at the least that somebody besides Roger tries to think about it.