Public Conference

Thinking – Believing – Knowing: Climate Change and the Ethics of Science

Tagungs- und Veranstaltungshaus Alte Mensa, Wilhelmsplatz 3, 37073 Göttingen


Worldwide protests have brought climate change to the centre of public political debate. Numerous voices from the scientific community are also calling for an active climate policy. Nevertheless, the ways to a climate-friendly use of resources are heavily debated – also among scientists. But how do science, society and politics deal with the fact that, particularly with regard to climate change, value statements and political demands are derived from scientific findings despite the fundamental incompleteness of the scientific process? During its Autumn Conference, the German Ethics Council will therefore address the self-conception, responsibility and communication of science based on the example of climate change.

In view of the current social debates on the acceptance and implementation of scientific findings, speakers from the fields of climate science, ethics, law, sociology, political science, science communication, journalism and climate initiatives discuss what trustworthy communication of scientific content should look like for different target groups.

The conference focuses on ethical questions that arise with regard to the framing, acceptance and implementation of scientific findings in the various public spheres – in the media, politics and civil society.

The German Ethics Council addresses the following guiding questions:

  • What must ethically responsible and at the same time trustworthy communication of scientific content look like for different addressees within society?
  • Who is responsible for disseminating, supporting and protecting scientific knowledge?
  • How can science generate “reliable” knowledge as a basis for societal and political action?
  • What role do different evidence practices and methodological approaches in climate science play in the public assessment of scientific findings?
  • Under what conditions can political decisions be made on this basis and regulations implemented?