Monday, August 18, 2014

2014er Umfrage unter Hamburger Bürgern

Die Ergebnisse der 2014er Umfrage der Arbeitsgruppe Beate Ratter (Institut für Küstenforschung, HZG) durch FORSA liegt jetzt vor. Es ist die siebte Umfrage seit 2009, die im jährlichen Rhythmus durchgeführt wird.

Der 2014er Umfrage nach findet man für Hamburg

"Der jüngste IPCC Bericht zeigt keine Auswirkungen auf das Risikobewusstsein für den Klimawandel: laut der diesjährigen Telefonumfrage unter Hamburger Bürgern steigt die Besorgnis bezüglich des Klimawandels weiterhin nur leicht an. 2014 liegen die Hamburger Werte erstmalig auf gleicher Höhe wie die amerikanischen Vergleichsdaten."

Das vollständige Resultat findet sich hier.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


For a workshop  "Better together? Reconciling the supply of, and demand for, climate knowledge in adaptation decision-making" in September 2014 in the UK, Hans von Storch and Nico Stehr have prepared a contribution.

The introduction of "知己知彼百战不 -  a precondition for a successful climate communication?" reads:

"In this Chinese proverb “Precise knowledge of self and precise knowledge of the threat leads to victory.”  Perhaps we could replace in a less ambitious sense “threat” by “challenge”, and “victory” by “achievement”. Then the saying implies we need to know our own limitations, our own blind spots, or the assumptions of our knowledge claims, before being able to enter into a meaningful communication with individuals and groups outside the scientific community. Such communication may or may not lead to changes in the social world. If persuasive and therefore effective, the communication will not only change the social world for our partners, as they act upon it but also for us scientists. But the proverb refers also to “knowledge of the challenge” – which means that we have to recognize that the production of scientific knowledge is a social process as is the communication of scientific findings and that our partners may well their own ideas and knowledge with respect to similar features of the world. In fact, their claims that may be in conflict with current scientifically constructed and accepted knowledge.

For a successful communication it does not only need a clear and understandable language, good images and pedagogical skills as well as the attentiveness of the intended recipients but the recognition of the presence of a competition of knowledge claims in guiding societal decisions, in explaining how the world functions. Such a competition for relevant knowledge is not automatically “won” by those with more scientific arguments.

In a nut-shell, this is what we want to convey with our presentation. Implications for regional climate servicing are added in the end.

But before we enter the discussion about knowledge competition and its consequences of climate change communication, we should clarify the meaning of “knowledge”, as we use it here. We follow Nico Stehr’s (2012a) definition, according to which “Knowledge may be defined as a capacity for action". Our use of the term “knowledge” as a capacity for action is derived from Francis Bacon's famous metaphor that knowledge is power ( scientia est potentia. Bacon suggests that knowledge derives its utility from the capacity to set something in motion; for example, using modern examples, new communicative devices, new forms of power, new regulatory regimes, new chemical substances, new political organizations, or financial instrument. Thus, knowledge has no connotation such as “right”, “accurate”, “scientific” or “truth”, but no more and no less than making sense of a complex situation, which allows drawing conclusions about what can, or should, be done about it.

Also, the term “communication” may need an explanation. In the past, “communication” was an euphemism for “teaching”, “informing”, “explaining” to less-knowledgeable people, for a one-way communication. Here we refer to exchanging knowledge between scientists, who have a complex, often abstract but in most cases specific and often narrow understanding of elements of a multifaceted system, and practitioners, who tend to an equally specific understanding of problems based on the circumstances that govern public discourse of the day, on the contingencies of everyday life and the various interests that govern the life-world. Exchanging ideas and knowledge claims requires a dialog, as opposed to providing a portal which provides numbers and Q&A sections."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Theses on " Rethinking EU leadership in fighting climate change"

I have been asked to come forward with a few "points" addressing the question "Rethinking EU leadership in fighting climate change". Having prepared a first draft, I would appreciate to hear comments by the readers of Klimazwiebel.

Some lay-people think that "The issue that climate is changing and that elevated CO2 levels play a dominant role, is no longer controversial among climate scientists." is a false assertion. I ask these people to restrain from contributing to this debate by ritual repetitions of long-known positions. Thanks

Addition, 10. August 2014: Thanks to constructive comments here and from a few colleagues, the text has undergone some clarifications - the final one is available at

Friday, July 25, 2014

Herausforderung Klimaservice

In der Ausgabe 31-32/1014 von Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 31-32/2014 wird "Nachhaltigkeit" von einer Reihe von Autoren diskutiert. Ob mein Beitrag, zur Herausforderung eines Klimaservice, wirklich unter diese Überschrift paßt, sei mal dahin gestellt. In jedem falle findet sich dieser Beitrag nun unter dem Titel
Klimaservice: Nachhaltig "Vorhersagen"?. Der Artikel kann unbeschränkt heruntergeladen werden.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Diethard Tautz : "Neuer Turm in Babel"?

"Publizieren und Zitieren sind die Währungen der Wissenschaft. Aber lesen wir noch, was andere schreiben? Ja, verstehen wir uns überhaupt noch?" fragt der Direktor am Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionsbiologie Diethard Tautz in seinem Beitrag "Neuer Turm in Babel?" im

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New blog: Circling the Square

As reported earlier, the University of Nottingham hosted a conference at the end of May with the title 'Circling the Square: Research, politics, media and impact'. It was organized by the Science, Technology and Society Priority Group which I am leading.

The conference explored the role of knowledge in policy making, bringing together international scholars in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, practitioners at the science-policy interface, the public and the media.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tool boxes and road maps for decision makers

I think blogs can be used to gather information as well as disseminate it.  As such I am asking for the help of readers of this posting. I was asked recently to comment on a proposal for a sustainability tool-box for decision makers and a roadmap to creating a well balance socio-eco system.   On Google, a search for “climate change roadmap” produces “about 5,110 results”; "decision makers toolbox climate change" produces “about 962,000 results”. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Climate science: the shrinking middle / Wissenschaft in der Klimapolitik: Die Mitte in der Zange der Extremisten

Hans von Storch had been invited to publish in the new journal Technologist the op-ed
Climate science: the shrinking middle. Not online, but in the print version there are also available German and French versions:  Klimapolitik in der Zange der Extremisten and Science et changement climatique – les scientifiques pris en tenaille. The original manuscript was in German, and was edited by the publisher.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Climate Change and Virtue: An Apologetic" (Mike Hulme)

Mike Hulme is one of the most innovative thinkers in the climate debate. He is a critic of the natural science monoculture that dominated climate discourse for so long; with his work, he has constantly and consistently shifted the center of the debate towards the humanities. In his seminal book "Why we disagree about climate change", he argued that instead of focusing on solutions for the climate problem we should ask what climate change can do for us. This is the starting point for his new article, "Climate change and virtue: an apologetic" (free download).

He takes up a line of arguments from the fringes of the scientific climate debate and develops it further. For example, Sheila Jasanoff pleads in a Nature article for more "humility" in the climate debate, or climate scientist Mike Flannery ends his recent book with the words  "if we do not strive to love one another, and to love our planet as much as we love ourselves, then no further progress is possible here on Earth”. But what do these appeals to love and humility actually mean? When, as Mike Hulme says, "in all the climate models I have examined, used and criticised over 30 years I have not yet come across a variable for love or an equation for calculating humility"? In this article, he provides an answer. Alongside with wisdom, integrity, faith and hope, humility and love are "virtues", and those virtues mark "the most enduring response" to the challenge of climate change.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Posthumane Sommerlektüre

Auf Deutschlandradiokultur ist ein schönes Interview mit Eva Horn zu  hören, das auf ihr neues Buch "Zukunft als Katastrophe" neugierig macht.

"Ob auf der Leinwand oder in der Literatur, Untergangsszenarien haben Konjunktur. In der Fiktion, aber eben auch in der Realität. Klimakrise, Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise, Natur- und Technikkatastrophen wie Tsunami oder Fukushima, längst scheinen sich Menschen nicht nur auf apokalyptische Szenarien einzustellen, sondern sich auch eine Welt nach dem Menschen vorzustellen. Welche kulturellen Prägungen und Tiefenkräfte beim Entwurf posthumaner Lebenswelten am Werk sind, warum uns diese - so angstbesetzt und schrecklich sie sind - auch unwiderstehlich anziehen, das hat die Wiener Kulturwissenschaftlerin Eva Horn untersucht." (Ankündigung DLF)