Burger
Journalpaper

Climate Science in a Postnormal Context

Abstract

Postnormal Science: The Case of Climate Research; Hamburg, Germany, 4–6 May 2011 Climate research has left the narrow confines of pure science and has entered the public arena. At a workshop organized by Helmholtz Research Centre Geesthacht and the KlimaCampus, University of Hamburg, experts from the cultural, social, and natural sciences discussed the current state of climate science through the lens of “postnormal science” (see, e.g., S. O. Funtowicz and J. R. Ravetz, “Science for the postnormal age,” Futures, 25, 739–755, 1993). Science turns postnormal when facts are uncertain, stakes are high, values are disputed, and decisions are urgent. During the workshop, situations and practices in climate research were identified and discussed to provide a solid empirical basis for a more realistic definition of climate science.
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