Climate is changing; not only the physical climate, but also the social and political climate within which this issue is discussed. From being an issue that was mostly debated by scientists and between scientists and policymakers in the IPCC, the topic has caught the attention of economists, businesses, engineers and the public at large. Everyone seems to have an opinion about climate change, turning it into a highly contested issue.
At the same time, decision-making about this issue is very slow, especially in relation to the urgency that most scientists deem necessary. In this session, we would like to debate the role of science journalists in creating this deadlock, and what can be done to break it. Have we been too alarmist, for instances by presenting scenarios as (dire) predictions of the effects of climate change on weather extremes, biodiversity, food production or refugees? Or have we been too ‘journalistic’ in the sense that we tried to balance views without scrutinizing the arguments and facts of either side? In this session, participants will be challenged to actually choose sides and convince opponents to join them.
The session is structured as a debate in the British House of Commons. Our speakers are asked to give a short challenging introduction on the theme and attendes will be asked to vote for or against the statement.