Science of the Earth System in Times of Scepticism and Polarization

October 10th, 2019, 16:00 – 17:30

Bistro area (ground floor)– Vening Meineszgebouw A., Princetonlaan 8a, Utrecht, The Netherlands

What is the role of universities as knowledge institutions in handling and dealing with climate scepticism?

The Earth System Governance Speaker Series and Pathways to Sustainability are happy to host author Jan Paul van Soest, who has been invited to Utrecht University to speak about climate scepticism and polarization of scientific knowledge, as well as the role of universities as knowledge institutions in handling and dealing with climate scepticism.

A stable Holocene climate, clean air and water, biodiversity and other natural resources are at the basis of our existence, and hence our economies. Conservation and sustainable use of these resources require a common understanding of their nature, values and functions, as a basis for governance and policies to preserve them. Science plays a crucial role in that understanding and to develop solutions to overcome environmental challenges. But how can shared governance principles and policy measures be developed in a highly polarized debate on environment and climate change, in which not only different worldviews bring different solutions, but also scientific truths are questioned and undermined. Can we find common ground? Can the academic community deal with the challenges? What is the role of universities as knowledge institutions in facing climate scepticism? How should individual researchers respond in cases when scientific truths are questioned?

These questions will be further delved into in an ensuing panel debate chaired by Prof. Frank Biermann after the lecture with Professor Appy Sluijs and Jan Paul van Soest. The event will also be followed by an informal drink for registered participants.

About Jan Paul van Soest

Jan Paul van Soest (1955) is a well-known consultant, initiator and thinker/writer in the field of sustainability in the Netherlands. He leads negotiations on complex social projects and plans where sustainability is the key issue, he gives advice to Governments, businesses and NGOs. Furthermore, Jan Paul initiates and develops new concepts, activities and organizations, such as the Green Business Council (now part of MVO-Nederland) and the FoodTransition Coalition.In addition, Jan Paul is author of numerous publications, articles and several books, including the much talked-about book De Twijfelbrigade (2014), analysing the background of climate scepticism: ideologies, lobby and the brain seeking comfort and confirmation. Jan Paul is Chairman or member of several boards and advisory bodies.

About Appy Sluijs

Appy Sluijs (1980) is Professor of Paleoceanography and co-chair of the research group Marine Palynology and Paleoceanography at the Earth Sciences Department of Utrecht University. His primary research interests include climate and ecological change in the geological past.

We ask you to please Register for the seminar here