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An Interhemispheric Perspective on Environment and Energy

Volume 11, Number 6, November 2015 - Paper 7 - pp. 589-603

JÖRG MATSCHULLAT8, LINDA H. ARMBRECHT1, HANS BACHOR2, KLAUS BREMHORST3, MEGANNE CHRISTIAN4, SITTIMONT KANJANABOOTRA5, PAUL LENNOX6, DAVE LOWE7, W. ANDREW MATTHEWS9, PAUL MEDWELL10, PAUL MULVANEY11, PETER NELSON12, IAN NICHOLLS13, ROGER READ14, CHRIS RIZOS15, LEONE SPICCIA16, and YONGQIANG ZHANG17

1. Department of Biological Sciences, Climate Futures, Macquairie University; North Ryde NSW 2109, AUSTRALIA
2. The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, AUSTRALIA
3. Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Queensland; Brisbane QLD 4072, AUSTRALIA
4. Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems, Physics and Matter Technologies Department of CNR, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, ITALY
5. School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle; University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, AUSTRALIA 
6. School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science, University of New South Wales; UNSW Sydney NSW 2052, AUSTRALIA 
7. Lowenz Ltd. Plimmerton, NEW ZEALAND 
8. Interdisciplinary Environmental Research Centre, TU Bergakademie Freiberg; Brennhausgasse 14, 09599 Freiberg, GERMANY
9. The Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research and Royal Society of New Zealand; AM-NZ
10. School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide; Adelaide SA 5005, AUSTRALIA 
11. School of Chemistry and Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne; 30 Flemington Road, Parkville VIC 3010, AUSTRALIA 
12. Department of Environment and Geography, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University; Sydney NSW 2109 AUSTRALIA 
13. School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University; Clayton VIC 3800, AUSTRALIA 
14. School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales; UNSW Sydney NSW 2052, AUSTRALIA 
15. School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of New South Wales UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA 
16. School of Chemistry, Monash University; Wellington Road, Clayton VIC 3800, AUSTRALIA 
17. CSIRO Land and Water; Clunies Ross Street, Canberra ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA 

(Received in revised form July 27, 2015)

Abstract:

Risk perception and communication are amongst the most critical topics of our time, if governance is to be successful in helping to circumnavigate the identified complex risks and “wicked” problems.  But is there significant dissent within the scientific community about the pressing global environmental issues and energy challenges? Are the related risks perceived differently even amongst specialists from the northern and southern hemispheres, such as Europe and Australasia? We argue that there is a strong agreement within the scientific community on the problems that we face and that we share a similar vision for the challenges that should be prioritised. 

So why is the broader community so slow to respond? Clearly there is a discrepancy between “us” and “them” in the risks perceived. It is our responsibility as well-informed scientists to bridge the gap and faithfully communicate with governments, industry and the public worldwide so that we can promote good governance and evidence-based decision-making.

 

References: 28

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