Communicating climate science - Science and Technology Committee Contents

5  Conclusions

105. Successive Government efforts to create a clear narrative that ensuresa discourse about climate change that is coherent, constructive and results in proper public engagement has been disappointingly limited.

106. The Government's hands-off approach to engaging with the public and the media, relying heavily on scientists as the most prominent voice, has a resulted in a vacuum that has allowed inaccurate arguments to flourish with little effective challenge.

107. If the Government is to demonstrate its climate policies are evidence based, it needs to be an authoritative and trusted voice which explains the current state of climate science.It is important that climate science is presented separately from any subsequent policy response. We recommend that the Government work with the learned societies and national academies to develop a source of information on climate science that is discrete from policy delivery, comprehensible to the general public and responsive to both current developments and uncertainties in the science.

108. We have always sought to ascertain that policy is evidence based.We remain convinced that peer review is the best current option for judging the strength of science in any issue.Peer reviewed science is overwhelmingly of the view that anthropogenic climate change exists.

109. Science is the ultimate sceptic, challenging theories and opinion and ready to abandon or adapt as the available evidence changes. Genuine scepticism should be embraced by the climate science community. Dogma on either side of the debate should be revealed as such.

110. To achieve the necessary commitment from the public to climate policy, the Government must demonstrate a coherent approach to communicating both the scientific basis and the proposed solutions. We recommend that the Government consolidates its strategic approach to communicating climate science across all Departments, formulate the principles of that approach and make it public. All Ministers should acquaint themselves with the science of climate change and then they, and their Departments, should reflect the Government approach in person, in media interviews and online by a presenting a clear and consistent message.

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Prepared 2 April 2014