Political implications of data presentation

Science 345(6192), 36-37

Author(s): Dubash, N.K. ; Kartha, S. ; Fleurbaey, M.
Year: 2014

This article, by three IPCC authors, examines the controversy over the approval process for the Summary for Policy-makers of IPCC reports, and proposes an alternative approach.

What is the appropriate balance between scientific analysis and governmental input in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? Claiming government overreach and calling for greater insulation of the process, the authors argue, comes from a misleadingly simple interpretation. Such insulation would likely diminish the policy relevance of the SPM. The SPM is "approved" by governments, not merely "accepted" as is the main report, which invests it with an important measure of governmental ownership.

An approval process is worth preserving, the authors argue, as it is precisely what makes the IPCC distinct from any number of technical reports. They conclude by exploring an alternative vision for articulating science and politics at the IPCC.

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