Hard Choices for the Future: Role of Evidence and Power in Environmental Decision-making

Burton, Kerry
January 2010
International Journal of Science in Society;2010, Vol. 1 Issue 4, p55
Academic Journal
This paper discusses environmental evidence based decision-making with reference to two critical areas of concern for mankind in the 21st century, climate change and resource shortage. It is widely agreed that the evidence should be both scientific knowledge with the qualifications of honesty, relevance, accessible and neutral (as far as possible), and lay knowledge which provides valuable stakeholder insights and allows cultural and social factors to be discussed. Critically important in the decision-making process are the pivotal roles of interpreters who facilitated understanding between knowledge providers and decision-makers, and also the acquisition of power by groups and individuals. Evidence for environmental decisions is usually incomplete, complex, lacking certainty and multidisciplinary in nature. When this evidence base includes competing and opposing arguments and the use of discourse management may aid resolution between opposing groups. However if the gap between opposing arguments cannot be bridged then disputes arise, sometimes between environmental groups, 'Green vs. Green' disputes, for instance whether to install low carbon energy generation technology and how this effects wildlife, biodiversity and the landscape. Politicians then make Hard Choices based on assessment of evidence and power judgements of the arguments. This paper discusses the themes of evidence, role of interpreters, and acquisition of power in the decision-making process with reference to biofuels and low carbon energy generation (wind turbines). Despite the apocalyptic thinking associated with climate change, the behaviour of individuals has changed little, however resource shortage (energy-security) has become politically important and has changed the power dynamics in favour of renewable and low carbon technologies.


Related Articles

  • How green is my lecky? Willis, Rebecca // Green Futures;Apr2008, Issue 68, p20 

    The article offers information on the common misconceptions of green energy in Great Britain. When a person engages himself in sustainable development, one is not sure that it is powered by zero-action electricity or provide the much needed help to the country's renewables industry because there...

  • Climate change needs action not words. Milne, Roger // Utility Week;11/12/2004, Vol. 22 Issue 17, p6 

    Reports on a call for action concerning climate changes in Great Britain as it assumes presidency of the European Union (EU), as of November 2004. Background on a report by the Lords EU committee on environment and agriculture regarding measures identified by Europe for addressing climate...

  • COP-21 and After -- a statement from 350.org.  // Against the Current;Jan/Feb2016, Vol. 31 Issue 180, p31 

    The article presents the statement from environmental organization 350.org on the agreement signed in Paris, France by various countries to combat climate change as of January 2016, dealing with topics including the agreement's loopholes and the importance of using renewable energy.

  • Energy for change. Wright, Martin // Green Futures;Jul2008, Issue 69, p44 

    The article features several winning projects in the international category of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. Several recipients of the awards includes the solar power lights in Qinghai province in China by the Renewable Energy Development Project, the solar cookstove in Kerala, India...

  • Overcoming obstacles. Gerlat, Allan // Waste & Recycling News;4/13/2009, Vol. 14 Issue 25, p8 

    The article focuses on the lack of clarity of purpose being faced by the green movement initiative in the U.S. The availability of numerous environment friendly solutions, particularly with regards to renewable energy, makes it difficult for the initiative to decide on a specific issue. It...

  • In Defense of Downshifting and Work Sharing. White, Anna // Synthesis-Regeneration: A Magazine of Green Social Thought;Fall2010, Issue 53, p23 

    The article reports that governments and institutions across the globe have intended to adopt the path shown by environmental groups in calling for a "Green New Deal." The deal suggests that investment made by various governments in renewable energy and other green initiatives would create...

  • Renewable energy: Australia's going green.  // MarketWatch: Global Round-up;August 2005, Vol. 4 Issue 8, p141 

    This article reports that Australians are among the most willing national groups to support the environment and use green energy. While accredited green power has remained just a niche market in Australia for many years, the launch of more affordable tariffs coupled with more active sales and...

  • Climate change - Africa's solution. Kubukuru, Wanjohi // African Business;Jul2011, Issue 377, p70 

    The article focuses on the capabilities of Africa, which has plentiful supply of renewable energy sources, to mitigate the effects of climatic change on the world. It mentions the cost to develop and utilize renewable energy sources which can contribute substantially to human well-being by...

  • Serious Wind: Why environmentalists should be careful what they wish for. McKibben, Bill // Orion Magazine;Jul/Aug2003, Vol. 22 Issue 4, p14 

    This article reveals that the overall consumption of renewable energy in the U.S. fell 12% in 2001. Evidence of global warming and climate changes; Reason for the decline of renewable energy consumption; Responsibility of environmentalists to compel politicians to be serious about renewable energy.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics