Oliver Geden suggests that scientific advisers on climate should resist becoming “political entrepreneurs” by making their advice more palatable (Nature 521, 27–28; 2015). In fact, climate advisers need to be astute political entrepreneurs if they are to present the benefits of a policy change without exaggerating claims.
Political pragmatism is not for helping policy-makers to justify the status quo, but rather for presenting persuasive scientific evidence alongside other issues (D. C. Rose Nature Clim. Change 4, 1038; 2014). Entrepreneurial climate scientists can offer fresh solutions to policy-makers, point out the improvements their ideas would provide and explain how they would work in practice. These entrepreneurs take the concerns of other scientists and policy-makers into account, build professional networks, and use every opportunity to maximize political influence (M. Mintrom and P. Norman Policy Stud. J. 37, 649–667; 2009).
Optimizing science presentation does not mean compromising on technical rigour or integrity. Climate scientists can increase their understanding of how policy-makers use the evidence they provide, as Geden recommends, and so deploy it more effectively to argue for policy change.
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Rose, D. Climate advisers must be astute. Nature 522, 156 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/522156d