Values in Science Advice: The Case of the IPCC

23 May 2019 (Thursday)
3:00pm - 4:30pm
Room 2303 (via Lift 17-18)
Division of Public Policy


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reviews scientific literature on climate change in an attempt to make scientific knowledge about climate change accessible to a wide audience that includes policy makers. Documents produced by the IPCC are subject to negotiations in plenary sessions, which can be frustrating for the scientists and government delegations involved, who all have stakes in getting their respective interests met. This seminar draws on the work of Bruno Latour in order to analyze the role of different values in science advice and the need for “diplomacy” between these values.

Professor Arthur Petersen
Professor of Science, Technology & Public Policy (STEaPP), University College London

Professor Arthur Petersen (DPA PhD MA MSc FISSR FIET FRSA FHEA) is Professor of Science, Technology and Public Policy at University College London (UCL) and Editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. He joined UCL’s Department of Science, Technology and Public Policy (STEaPP) fulltime in September 2014 after more than 13 years’ work as scientific adviser on environment and infrastructure policy within the Dutch Government. He served as Chief Scientist of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (2011–2014).

Professor Petersen is also Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (he has held the affiliations to both MIT and LSE since 2009). He has been Adjunct Professor of Science and Environmental Public Policy at the VU University Amsterdam (2011–2016), Professorial Fellow at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment – RIVM (2016–2017) and Visiting Fellow at Osaka University (2018).

Professor Petersen studied physics and philosophy, obtained doctorate degrees in atmospheric sciences (Doctor of Philosophy - PhD, Utrecht University, 1999) and philosophy of science (Doctor of Public Administration - DPA, VU University Amsterdam, 2006), and now also finds disciplinary homes in anthropology, political science and science & religion. Most of his research is about dealing with uncertainty and ignorance.

Professor Arthur Petersen

Professor of Science, Technology & Public Policy (STEaPP), University College London

Organizer: Division of Public Policy