KlimaCampus Kolloquium: Has the climate crisis put an end to green ambivalence about science?

The idea at the heart of this colloquium presentation is that there is an elective affinity between environmental campaign organisations/the environmental movement and scientific claims that is, to a large degree, distinctive among social movements. This gives environmentalists and green campaigning bodies an urgent interest in science communication issues and has turned many of them into significant science-communication actors.

However, these ties to science have – as is well known – not been problem-free. Demands for scientific “proof” of environmental problems have often been used by governments or regulators as grounds for inaction. Green campaigners have themselves been sceptical about scientific arguments in relation to GMOs and – before that – nuclear safety. At the same time, environmentalists’ opponents have learned to deploy doubt and uncertainty as ways to counter science-based claims. Scientific claims have also typically stemmed from the “Global North”, giving rise to concerns about their applicability or sensitivity to issues in the Global South. Finally, scientific claims are typically presented as empirical assertions and thus non-normative; this may be beneficial when identifying problems but tells one less about solutions and the ways we should live with environmental change.

The urgency of the climate crisis intensifies these questions about the environmental movement’s attachment to science: has the climate crisis put an end to green ambivalence about science?




15:15 h


Bundesstr. 53, room 022/023
Seminar Room 022/023, Ground Floor, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Hamburg


Steven Yearley, University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science


Simone Rödder

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