NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security, Uncertainties in Environmental Modelling and Consequences for Policy Making, pp.231-251
As the types of problems that policy-makers attempt to solve grow more complex, they increasingly are turning to scientists for specific advice. A critical challenge in communicating the results of scientific research arises when those results contain a great deal of uncertainty. Different academic disciplines offer diverging advice on how scientists should proceed, based in large part on differences in how the various disciplines view the process of decision-making process itself. In this chapter, the author links the strategies for communicating uncertainty to the decision-making models of economics, psychology, and sociology, respectively. He suggests that the relative strength of each strategy depends on the context within which the decision-maker is operating. To resolve this ambiguity about how best to communicate uncertainty, he offers first-best and second-best approaches. The first-best approach is rooted in a process of dialogue, with attention to two-way communication and the relationship between scientists and policy-makers. The second-best approach is rooted in the goal not of giving all decision-makers all of the information they need, but rather in providing them with just enough information to judge whether they need more. To assist in that latter task, the author suggests particular guidelines for the aspects of uncertainty that scientists need to communicate.
Environment ; Math. Appl. in Environmental Science ; Environmental Law/Policy/Ecojustice ; Environmental Management ; Climate Change ; Soil Science & Conservation ; Engineering ; Environmental Sciences