MCC recommends assessments to EU’s “seven wise men“
At a conference in Brussels, MCC group leader Kowarsch suggests to the EU Commission that it strengthens their "Scientific Advice Mechanism".
Martin Kowarsch, head of the working group Scientific Assessments, Ethics, and Public Policy at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) is co-organizer of the high-level symposium ”Science and Policy Making: towards a new dialogue“. It will be hosted by the European Commission and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) on September 29th and 30th in Brussels.
It is the conference’s aim, first, to identify core principles and best practices, common to structures providing scientific advice for governments worldwide, second, to find practical ways to improve the interaction of the demand and supply side of scientific advice and, third, to describe, by means of practical examples, the impact of effective science advisory processes.
The EU Commission intends to seek the advice of a ”Scientific Advice Mechanism“ (SAM), which at its core consists of a panel of seven scientists, supported by academic institutions such as the National Academies. According to Kowarsch, however, this form of consultation should be based on comprehensive scientific assessment processes when it comes to complex, longer-term policy issues such as the euro crisis, climate change or food security. Assessments can analyze different solutions and their practical consequences for society.
“The energy and climate policies of Europe, in particular, have fundamental and longer-term impacts on society, which should be carefully taken into consideration,” Kowarsch says. For example, an EU policy with a considerable bio-energy share could have an impact on food prices, deforestation and land rents well beyond Europe. Likewise, an effective carbon pricing scheme could lead to a more efficient economy and better air quality.
“European policymaking processes need to be better informed about the direct effects, obstacles, side effects and synergies of the available options. Conventional science, organized as it is around separate disciplines, usually cannot deliver this,” Kowarsch says. By contrast, scientific assessments that explore alternative options including their implications and that would be comparable to IPCC reports could "add flesh and muscles to the skeleton” of the EU’s SAM.