Provocation

‘Climategate’: a salutary episode

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Ian Christie argues that the “Climategate” scandal, where emails between scientists were stolen from the University of East Anglia in the UK, show that scientists need to better communicate the contested and probabilistic nature of data, be aware of their own values and interests, and not react to criticism with defensiveness and evasion.

Scientists also need to be open and frank about the implications of their findings, particularly in response to reduced deference to authority and increased scrutiny by the media. Ian also notes that this scientific uncertainty requires a more precautionary insurance approach to decision-making.

Ian Christie, December 2009

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