Stand on the shoulders of giants, take the next leap on climate


Welcome to our expert series on the post-COVID reset. That is, a reset along a more inclusive and smart path. The series introduces listeners to leading thinkers as they debate concrete policy options for such a recovery and take stock of the data that could (and should) inform these policy shifts. 


This podcast is concerned with trust in climate science – why it matters and how it drives collective policies and, ultimately, our climate trajectory.


The expert is Mark Howden. He is a Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC members and Al Gore. Mark is also the Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions at the Australian National University. These roles and the rich expertise Mark brings are key to this discussion.


The host is UNESCO’s Iulia Sevciuc.


THREAD 1 is on trust between climate scientists and policymakers. It discusses how critical such a relation is yet warns against the pitfalls of too much trust – think complacency, favouritism, cognitive lock-ins. An optimal level of trust should be sought, but how would that look like between knowledge and policy actors on climate?


THREAD 2 talks about how climate science ended up so politicised and polarised. It discusses the driving forces behind the trend, identifies the new points of contention on climate, and pitches solutions for de-escalating the debate.


THREAD 3 puts forward concrete steps to forging an effective relation of trust between producers and users of climate science. It says that nurturing knowledge brokers is key. So is the need for policymakers to understand the political economy operating in science, and vice-versa.


Have you seen?
We politicised science and scientised politics – is that a problem?
Recalibrate - our policies were too heavy on efficiency, too light on equity
Wanted: a low-carbon and fair reset
From ivory towers to glass houses, science is transforming


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Mark Howden is the Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions at The Australian National University and an Honorary Professor at Melbourne University. He is also a Vice Chair of the IPCC to which he has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC members and Al Gore.


Iulia Sevciuc is UNESCO’s lead on inclusive policies and knowledge impact on policy. Prior to this appointment, Iulia worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on similar agendas.


The facts, ideas and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the authors; they are not necessarily those of UNESCO or any of its partners and stakeholders and do not commit nor imply any responsibility thereof. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this piece do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. 



Music: Algorithms by Chad Crouch is under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC 4.0)