Extreme weather, extreme communication?

Should scientists intervene in contentious issues? And if so, what can they do that will be appropriate and effective in supporting good decision-making on the issue? This case invites students to participate in drafting a public statement that uses the occasion of an extreme drought as a "teachable moment" on climate change. In drafting their public statement, students will confront questions including: • who has scientific authority to speak on the issue? • what is the purpose of the communication? • should uncertainties, limitations, and disclaimers be mentioned? • what if any kinds of action is it appropriate to call for?

This case has two versions for shorter discussions. The first discussion version, like the full role-play, is focused on the drafting of the statement. The second puts the student in the realistic situation of receiving an email inviting their signature, with no ability to redraft the statement.

Document Links