“The main IPCC report should be focused on establishing and presenting scientific
facts. But seemingly technical choices can crystallize into value-laden political conclusions, particularly given tight word and time limits. It is more productive for authors to be aware of alternative political interpretations of their concepts and findings and to factor these into representations of data, than to strive, unrealistically, to ignore political concerns.“
Global assessments need to adopt more rigorous and focused processes for collation and review, says William J. Sutherland.
This approach seems to have a range of advantages. It concentrates on the few crucial issues but presents them in a more transparent and rigorous manner that is likely to provide greater confidence and reduce the likelihood of errors. After the evidence is collated, it can be updated regularly to allow for quick reassessment (conversely, the IPCC assessment is repeated about every six years and is hugely expensive). With the bedrock of the evidence assembled and presented in a user-friendly way, the evidence on key issues can be continually collated and regularly assessed.
Tackling global problems requires a fresh approach, argues Georgina Mace, as the British Ecological Society celebrates its centenary.
“Calls for the closer integration of science in political decision-making have been commonplace for decades. However, there are serious problems in the application of science to policy …
To this end, we suggest 20 concepts that should be part of the education of civil servants, politicians, policy advisers and journalists — and anyone else who may have to interact with science or scientists. Politicians with a healthy scepticism of scientific advocates might simply prefer to arm themselves with this critical set of knowledge.
We are not so naive as to believe that improved policy decisions will automatically follow. We are fully aware that scientific judgement itself is value-laden, and that bias and context are integral to how data are collected and interpreted. What we offer is a simple list of ideas that could help decision-makers to parse how evidence can contribute to a decision, and potentially to avoid undue influence by those with vested interests.”
“Future Earth has just published the final report of the Transition Team, the group of experts that led the initial design of the research initiative on global sustainability.”
An exploration of current population, habitat, and threat information for the world’s polar bears.
State of the Salmon
The information presented in this tool was drawn from a species assessment (2008, amendment released in 2011) conducted by the Salmonid Specialist Group (SSG) of the IUCN. The SSG is one of many international species specialist groups that work together under the auspices of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Formed in 2001, membership in the Salmonid Specialist Group includes fisheries scientists and conservationists from five nations, all dedicated to protecting and restoring wild salmon throughout their natural range.