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Data-Driven Decision-Making: Truth & Trust in Science

August 6, 2020 @ 9:00 am

The emergence of COVID-19 and its impact on individuals and societies across the world have driven home the totalizing effect of global risks, a critical element of what Ulrich Beck once called our modern day “risk society.” Beck was interested in the interconnectedness of risk and society’s response to uncertainty, both key elements of today’s pandemic crisis. Responses to the pandemic are also influenced by the tension between available and evolving evidence on the one hand and ideological beliefs on the other. It has also highlighted the economic implications of such crises and our lack of preparedness for them. Public experts, scientists, and institutions responsible for guiding us through the pandemic and the unfolding evidence around COVID-19 are being both celebrated and castigated. Similar challenges are evident with other wicked problems such as climate change.

In this PICS-supported webinar, we will explore these themes with experts in health, science, science communication and sustainable finance. Among others, we will explore questions such as:

– How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our trust in public experts and institutions? How is public awareness being affected?

– To what extent are our responses to uncertainty and change creating further polarity in beliefs and values? How and how much do our “tribes” trump “truth”?

– How do the urgent and also less-immediate aspects of crises create tipping points in our support for the evidence base and particular policy choices? What are the limits of scientific expertise?

– Where can we find lessons from the current pandemic that can be applied to other wicked problems such as climate change?

– What levers exist in the economic system and in capital markets that could be used to better insulate against future shocks? What should we be doing now to facilitate, build and expand these?

Panelists: Mark Campanale (Founder, Carbon Tracker UK); Diane T. Finegood (Professor, Simon Fraser University); Thomas Homer-Dixon (Director, Cascade Institute); Ivan Semeniuk (Science journalist, The Globe and Mail);

Moderator: Kristy Faccer (Program Manager, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions)


August 6, 2020
9:00 am