"Researchers must dare to speak loud and clear"

20.12.2006
"To make the public understand that severe changes are needed in our climate politics, it is absolutely necessary that researchers speak out loud and clear. This is hard for scientists who are trained not to say anything unless they are 100 per cent certain."
From an article by Bjørg Dystvold Nilsson for NordForsk Magasin December 2006.

These are the words of Bogi Hansen, The Faroese professor who was awarded this year‘s Nordic Council Environment Prize. He thinks it is absolutely necessary to make dramatic changes in our lifestyle to prevent a climate catastrophe: "To make people understand, we need to tell them very loud and clear. Scientist are trained to talk about only what we can prove. But about this issue we need to say ‘this is my conviction even if I am only 90 per cent sure‘. The public does not realise how serious the situation really is. In my opinion the press can be blamed for that. Journalists want to present news, and 100 experts saying the same thing is not considered news. But if one single
person says the opposite, it is considered to be news, even if the base of the statement is weak,” Bogi says.

PRIZE IMPACT
Hansen himself does not have a problem with speaking understandably, and has certainly not hidden his opinion about his country not signing the Kyoto protocol. Actually this year‘s prize has already had an impact on Faroese politics: "The public debate has focused more on the question of climate change after I received the prize. Before, leading politicians argued that more research was needed before we could say that the climate changes are man-made. I have been very critical towards this argument. Now, some political parties have said that they will work for signing the Kyoto protocol," Bogi says.

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