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Integrating climate change science into policy-making processes Katharine Vincent.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating climate change science into policy-making processes Katharine Vincent."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating climate change science into policy-making processes Katharine Vincent

2 Overview The role of the IPCC On the incompatibility between the availability of the science and needs of policy-makers A vignette to exemplify the difficulties of ensuring science is accessible to policy-makers at all levels

3 Background to the IPCC Established by WMO and UNEP in 1988 Does not conduct research: monitors and synthesises scientific literature on climate change Publishes assessment reports based on three working groups: WG1 – physical science WG2 – impacts, adaptation and vulnerability WG3 – mitigation of climate change

4 Background to the IPCC Four assessment reports to date: Publication of the first assessment report (1990) led UNGA to consider a framework convention Publication of the second assessment report (1995) provided input to discussions leading to the Kyoto Protocol Third assessment report (2001) The Fourth assessment report was published in 2007 and won the authors a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (with Al Gore)

5 Background to the IPCC Synthesis for policy makers-subject to simultaneous expert and government review Every word of the document is negotiated How can the output therefore be objective?

6 What policy-makers must understand about climate science Uncertainty IPCC reports in terms of likelihoods (expert judgement and statistical analysis) Virtually certain (>99%), extremely likely (>95%), very likely (>90%), likely (>66%), more likely than not (>50%), about as likely as not (33%-66%), unlikely (<33%), very unlikely (<10%), extremely unlikely (<5%), exceptionally unlikely (<1%)

7 Excerpts from the Africa impacts chapter (WG2, chapter 9) Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change and climate variability, a situation aggravated by the interaction of multiple stresses, occurring at various levels, and low adaptive capacity (high confidence). Agricultural production and food security (including access to food) in many African countries and regions are likely to be severely compromised by climate change and climate variability (high confidence). Climate change will aggravate the water stress currently faced by some countries, while some countries that currently do not experience water stress will become at risk of water stress (very high confidence).

8 How to ensure policy related to climate change is linked to evidence? Policy-makers need to have a basic understanding of the science Responsibility of scientists to make sure that the limits of the science are known Knowledge translation (packaging information so that it is understood) Communication channels between policy-makers and scientists need to be built and maintained Boundary organisations e.g. SAWS and farmers Internal department communication channels and capacity

9 A story of disaster management from Limpopo…

10 Existing fora to work through in SA Government Climate Change Committee (GCCC) Agriculture, DEAT, DME, Foreign Affairs, Health, DPLG, DTI, DWAF, Housing, Arts and Culture, DST National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) Also includes provincial and local government, civil society, and business representatives (National Climate Change Response Strategy 2004)

11 Further Reading Roger Pielke Jr, 2007. The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sheila Jasanoff, 1998. The Fifth Branch: Science Advisors as Policy Makers. Amherst, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

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