J4.1
What counts as knowledge? Using science dynamics to communicate climate dynamics

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 10:30 AM
What counts as knowledge? Using science dynamics to communicate climate dynamics
609 (Washington State Convention Center)
James Rodger Fleming, Colby College, Waterville, ME

Historians are passionate about change over time and the underlying causes of these changes. They identify events, trends, and common shared experiences that place people and their environment in larger contexts. History matters. It shapes collective identities and consciousness on all temporal and spatial scales from personal to national to global. Framed correctly, history is an essential component of interdisciplinary communication and a resource for future innovation and citizen involvement.

In this presentation I identify the terms Climate, Climate Change, and Climate Dynamics as the 0th, 1st, and 2nd order components of climatology. I then draw analogies to the practices of historians of science (and technology) who study Science, Scientific Changes, and what I have termed “Science Dynamics,” or the complex web of intellectual, social and technical influences surrounding science.

Since both climate scientists and historians study change over time, and since both are interested in timescales of decades to centuries, the two communities have much in common indeed and obviously share mutual interests and even methodologies. Historians have much to learn from and much to offer to students of climate, climate change and climate dynamics.

The two communities, working in tandem, have much to offer the world in the way of clear communication and compelling messages to foster enhanced public understanding of the human and technical dimensions of climate science.

Several case studies from the deep and recent past will illustrate these interactions and their potential policy implications.