Workshop about the role of climate scientists in society


Over the last week of September, the participants of the workshop did not only have the chance to experience Bergen’s proud meteorological palette, ranging from mild summer to stormy autumn – but also investigated the climate crisis from diverse points of view with an impressive range of speakers from various academic fields. After a quick update about the most recent climate projections from the latest IPCC report, the group was in the mood to lively discuss a huge set of challenges related to climate change. These ranged from technical mitigation solutions, greenwashing and political decision making to communication in the media and storytelling in science. Historians gave us an overview about how previous evolutions in climate and climatic catastrophes triggered changes in political and social systems during the Antiquity. A historical perspective on the evolution of meteorology showed how deeply the natural sciences are intertwined with political decisions and how society and science depend on each other. In a final panel discussion with climate scientists actively engaged in outreach, the participants had the chance to discuss difficulties regarding the embedding of outreach into a scientific career with all its advantages and disadvantages.
The participants themselves added great value to the course, not only with many and various contributions during the lectures, but also with their own experiences and ideas for future outreach projects.
All in all, the course showed that as a scientist trying to align their work with the current necessary adjustments to a world threatened by the climate crisis, it is impossible to not interact with other disciplines, including the social sciences and policy making, but that there are numerous ways one individually can find his/her role within society.

Text: Anna-Marie Strehl, Julien Pooya Weihs, Rebekka Frøystad, Britta Schäfer
Photos: Anna-Marie Strehl