Andy Stirling, STEPS Director and Alister Scott, visiting fellow at SPRU, have an article up at Project Syndicate (and on the Al Jazeera website) on recent technological disasters (Fukushima, BP in Mexico) and how they reflect on the way science is used to support public policy.

Why do we seem to be witnessing an increasing number of nasty technological surprises?

Indeed, this year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have taken their place alongside older problems, such as ozone depletion. We believe that the way in which scientific advice is developed and communicated lies at the heart of the question.

Science is increasingly used to support what are essentially public-policy decisions, particularly concerning new and complex technologies like genetically modified (GM) foods, novel chemicals, and contending energy infrastructures.

>> Risky Advice (Project Syndicate)
>> Risky advice and immeasurable uncertainties (Al Jazeera)
>> Nuclear futures? Andy Stirling (tcktcktck, 18 March 2011)