Samhandling; interaction; decision making under uncertainty; scientific disagreement; unforeseen
“This chapter sheds light on interaction (samhandling) between scientists
and politicians. What happens when the latter gives the former a role in an effort to
ensure that society is not exposed to an unforeseen calamity? The chapter has two
objectives – one conceptual and one pertaining to the analysis of public policy in a
particular context. First, distinctions are drawn between three dimensions of uncertainty
about the consequences of action. The aim is to create a clearer understanding
of what is meant by assertions that policy is made under conditions of uncertainty.
Secondly, the political implications of uncertainty are charted with particular reference
to the choice of climate policy. The analysis targets the way the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has handled the task of publicizing the
effect that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have on the atmosphere.
The conclusion is that the IPCC’s communication with politicians and the public
has contributed to, rather than ameliorated, the problem of uncertainty that stands
in the way of resolute political action.”