1 Section for Global Development, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Section for Global Development, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
How to make sense of "climategate"
What do we know about what goes on in the laboratories and wider institutional networks that produce the scientific facts about the state of the Earth's climate? This question was brought to the fore by the recent event, known as "climategate", which was generally taken to reveal that climate scientists manipulated their data sets to make them speak to contemporary political agendas. I shall ague that this interpretation of climategate hinges on a conception of science as "modern", i.e. as a pure pursuit of truth above and beyond worldly affairs. Departing from my own ethnographic fieldwork among climate scientists, I shall argue that this modern conception of science - carrying the implication that climategate was a scandal - is inadequate and misguided. I hope to show that the defense mounted by the climate scientists was about illuminating context, rather than being reflective about their own epistemic practices and commitments. Thus, it is argued that the problem about climategate is not so much the ways in which climate science is conducted, but rather the ways in which scientists go about depicting their own business and ultimately the ways in which the public perceives science.
Environmental Science and Policy, 2013, Vol 28, p. 92-99
Conceptualizations of nature; Science and society; The science of climate change; Communication of science; ``Climategate''