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Uncertainty as Information: Narrowing the Science-policy Gap

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Bradshaw, G. A.; Borchers, Jeffrey G.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 4
Page(s):
Date: 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/2539
Sector: Social Organization
Information & Knowledge
Region:
Subject(s): adaptive systems
decision making
environmental policy
climate change
monitoring and sanctioning
risk
uncertainty
Abstract: "Conflict and indecision are hallmarks of environmental policy formulation. Some argue that the requisite information and certainty fall short of scientific standards for decision making; others argue that science is not the issue and that indecisiveness reflects a lack of political willpower. One of the most difficult aspects of translating science into policy is scientific uncertainty. Whereas scientists are familiar with uncertainty and complexity, the public and policy makers often seek certainty and deterministic solutions. We assert that environmental policy is most effective if scientific uncertainty is incorporated into a rigorous decision-theoretic framework as knowledge, not ignorance. The policies that best utilize scientific findings are defined here as those that accommodate the full scope of scientifically based predictions."

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