Integrated Assessments for Environmental Policy in a 'Post-Truth' Society

It is now almost a cliché to refer to the ‘post-truth’ society, implying a knowledge crisis in science and society. But although this phenomenon is widely discussed, the question of what this means for theories, methods and practices of Integrated Assessment (IA) is yet to be answered satisfactorily.

This seminar will investigate the underlying elements of this alleged knowledge crisis, to identify current practices of addressing contested knowledge in IA, and to discuss promising and alternative future strategies for dealing with the phenomenon. It thus provides a platform for participants to exchange views and experiences in various situations on the science-policy interface, with an emphasis on IA.

The programme consists of keynotes and short statements by scientists and practitioners who have extensively dealt with the issues at hand. Two rounds of three parallel sessions will complement the programme. The first round will focus on current practices in IA that seem particularly relevant in times of contested knowledge. The second round will focus on identifying ‘better’ strategies for the future. The seminar will close with a round table to refine and anchor insights and findings from the keynotes and parallel sessions.

Tentative programme

Please note we are still finalizing the programme, and not all speakers are confirmed yet, so the programme below is subject to change.

The programme for day 1 (October 6)

Time Type Description
12:00  - 13:00 Plenary Welcome (moderator) and lunch
13:00 - 14:45 Plenary Keynote lectures by:
  • Noortje Marres (University of Warwick; TBC): Scientists’ and experts’ discomfort with the post-truth society and contested knowledge: how NOT to deal with it. ‘Why we can’t have our facts back’
  • Hans Mommaas (director PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency): PBL Environmental Assessment Agency’s experiences with and responses to critical audiences: lessons learnt
15:00 - 16:30 Parallel Workshops round 1: current IA practices for dealing with contested knowledge
  • WS 1: Focus on societal perspectives of the issue
  • WS 2: Extreme vetting of assessment findings
  • WS 3: Helping audiences to interrogate results
16:45 - 17:00 Plenary Video contribution by: Pedro Jacobi (University of Sao Paulo; TBC): Environmental assessments and divergent perspectives
17:00 - 17:30 Plenary Reflections from the workshops and preview of tomorrow’s programme

The programme for day 2 (October 7)

Time Type Description
9:00  - 9:30 Plenary Video contribution by Sondoss El Sawah (UNSW Canberra; TBC): Socio-environment models and their grand challenges
9:45 - 11:15 Parallel Workshops round 2: promising future practices?
  • WS 4: Towards more diverse, humble and credible IA?
  • WS 5: IA focusing on underlying societal discomfort?
  • WS 6: New modes of communicating IA findings?
11:30 - 12:15 Plenary Round table: identifying promising elements of coping strategies
12:15 - 12:30 Plenary Closing keynote Hans Mommaas: bridging science and policy in times of uncertainty, and urgency
12:30 - 13:30   Lunch


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