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THE MUTUAL ADAPTATION OF SCIENCE AND POLITICS

THE MUTUAL ADAPTATION OF SCIENCE AND POLITICS

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THE MUTUAL ADAPTATION OF SCIENCE AND POLITICS

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  1. THE MUTUAL ADAPTATION OF SCIENCE AND POLITICS • Understanding the interaction of science and politics through complexity theory By: Neil E. Harrison Executive Director, The Sustainable Development Institute University of Wyoming, USA Draft paper available from: nharriso@uwyo.edu

  2. PRIOR VIEWS OF SCIENCE-POLITICS • Epistemic Communities: scientists interpret technical uncertainty through their values and beliefs and attempt to influence national policy • Discursive Practices: cognitive structures of power-knowledge determine what can be thought in politics and science • Mutual Construction: science goals and methods influenced by political needs

  3. COMMON FINDINGS AMONG PRIOR THEORIES • Politics and science in international environment not separable • Links can cross levels of analysis • Effects may be disproportionate to causes

  4. CONCEPTS OF COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS (CAS) • myriad interactions between very many agents • agents self-seeking through cooperation • agents use internal models to find niche in system • system behavior emerges from agent interactions • system adapts to environment (other systems) • path dependent and irreversible • small causes may produce large effects • non-linear and unpredictable

  5. CAS SYSTEMS MODEL OF SCIENCE-POLITICS • Science and politics are mutually adaptive complex systems • Events at one level affect decisions at another - emergence links up, adaptation links down • Incommensurate causes and effects • Science and politics systems interact at all levels • THUS, CAS IS A COMPREHENSIVE MODEL OF SCIENCE-POLITICS

  6. THE IMPORTANCE OF RULES IN CAS Because of emergence and the large number of (often) small causes for any effect, it is not practical to search for specific cause-effect relationships. CAS systems are understood through the rules (institutions) that govern system processes: • complex systems may be simulated using a few rules of agent behavior • social systems emerge from rules of behavior (also called “institutions”) • science and politics are social systems

  7. RULES OF SCIENCE & POLITICS

  8. RULES OF SCIENCE SYSTEM Primary: Peer review determinesthose methods, theories, and empirical evidence that are generally accepted by scientists. Operational: • Consensual “knowledge” evolves from peer review • Force policy relevant conclusions on the state of science in response to demand from politics • Interpret scientific data, limitations, and uncertainties to politics

  9. RULES OF POLITICS SYSTEM Primary: Form collective internal models (that determine agent behavior) from discourse among individual internal models (derived from values operating on “facts” and knowledge). Operational: • Determine values in issue (environmental conservation, equity, growth, free trade, etc.) • Select meaning of science (apply values to knowledge) • Compare values to other issues and rank • Assess alternate strategic choices • Adapt to prior rules and institutions (laws, treaties, etc.) and the values they embody

  10. AGENTS AND INTERNAL MODELS • ‘Nations’ are meta-agents: agents that are themselves CAS. Thus, agent rules operate at all levels of analysis Internal Models: • Agents use internal models (IMs) to anticipate, plan, and set goals and attribute meaning to data • Internal models come from: (1) knowledge (science) and (2) values (beliefs about right & wrong, good and bad)

  11. EXAMPLES OF RULES IN ACTION IN CLIMATE CHANGE - 1 Force conclusions on state of science: • FAR (1990) interim conclusions much hedged but indicative of problem • SAR (1995) summary wording negotiated • In SAR warming was “discernible,” carefully chosen wording intended to minimize obstruction to mitigative policy

  12. EXAMPLES OF RULES IN ACTION IN CLIMATE CHANGE - 2 Interpret science to politics – individual level: • In UK: Tickell persuades Thatcher who proposes Earth Summit • In US (1991): Bromley, Sununu say science uncertain & Watson, EPA ignored - Bush refuses to act

  13. EXAMPLES OF RULES IN ACTION IN CLIMATE CHANGE - 3 Interpret science to politics – national level (US) : • US Committee on Earth Sciences • US Global Change Program • M.A.R.S working group

  14. EXAMPLES OF RULES IN ACTION IN CLIMATE CHANGE - 4 Interpret science to politics – international level: • IPCC charged by UN with defining state of science • IPCC assessment reports to INC & COP in 1991, 1995, and 2000 accepted by politics as knowledge of climate change causes and effects for selecting policy and distributing costs thereof • IPCC chair presents reports to plenary INC & COPs, explains and interprets

  15. EXAMPLES OF RULES IN ACTION IN CLIMATE CHANGE - 5 Determine values affected by issue - individual level: • past polluters (developed countries preserving wealth) vs. future polluters (developing countries) • environment (mitigative policies) vs. development (GDP) • Human rights (per capita emissions ) vs. sovereignty (national reduction targets

  16. EXAMPLES OF RULES IN ACTION IN CLIMATE CHANGE - 6 Determine values affected by issue – national level: • For US, economic cost during ’91 recession • At Kyoto sovereignty & cost for US, AUS, Japan, etc. • For AOSIS states, their existence

  17. EXAMPLES OF RULES IN ACTION IN CLIMATE CHANGE - 7 Determine values affected by issue – international level: • UNFCCC Article 3, as amended, states principles and norms • Specific UNFCC reference to priority of free trade • Sovereignty explicitly accepted • Protection of intellectual property • Weak, unspecified references to equity, sustainable development

  18. LINKS BETWEEN LEVELS - 1 Domestic politics influence on international: • UK in 1988: Tories lose much support in EU elections for poor environmental record. Climate change viewed as cost-free environmental issue • US in 1993: Congress rejects carbon tax; Clinton Administration refuses to lead at COP 1 • US in 1995: Policies of Republican majority spurs environmental backlash opening door for Clinton “green” foreign policy and COP 2 deal

  19. LINKS BETWEEN LEVELS –2 International politics influence on domestic: • 1988 Toronto conference organized by Environment Canada officials coincides with North American drought leads to extensive media reporting. US Senate hearings ensue • 1991 International negotiations precede domestic debate in most countries • Kyoto & Bush rejection spur media interest and public concern in Europe & North America

  20. LINKS BETWEEN LEVELS –3 Individual influence on national and international: • In UK government scientist (Fiske) credited with educating all senior officials in several parliaments • In US (1990-92) Bush decision to keep climate policy in White House leaves EPA “outside looking in” and permits economic arguments to dominate • Gore as VP credited with ‘greening’ Clinton White House and foreign policy

  21. ADVANTAGES OF A CAS MODEL • Inclusive: uses many potential factors, not few hypothesized cause-effect relations • Holistic: integrates main concepts from all prior theories • Dynamic with feedbacks to values and science consensus • Understanding: no explanation in complex human systems • Find few rules to comprehend system ops. • Near-term projections and scenarios possible

  22. DISADVANTAGES OF CAS • Simulations of rule interaction used to compare modeled with actual outcomes can be time-consuming • Extensive data collection • Interpretation required to identify values from behaviors etc. • Radical ontology shift from simple models not well accepted • Several epistemological problems

  23. LEVERAGE POINTS – SCIENCE • Evolving consensus: propose conclusions around which agreement may coalesce • Scientific conclusions: stretch the envelope in interpretation of available data. E.g. interpret uncertainty aggressively • Interpretation of science: influence meaning of science for influential policymakers

  24. LEVERAGE POINTS – POLITICS • Ranking values affected: explicitly state values affected & debate comparative with contending issues • Domestic politics: mobilize popular concern esp. in democratic states, emphasizing values, practical ethics (human rights, education, etc.) • Public debate using rhetoric (e.g. ethics) not only facts (science) • Propose creative, ethical (value-based) strategies: “contraction and convergence”

  25. RESEARCH AGENDA • Identify more rules • Simulate interaction among rules • Case studies on application to other environmental issues • Case studies on leverage points in this and other issues • Case studies on non-environmental technically dependent issues