Perspective | Published:

Understanding and managing trust at the climate science–policy interface

Nature Climate Changevolume 8pages2228 (2018) | Download Citation


Climate change effects are accelerating, making the need for appropriate actions informed by sound climate knowledge ever more pressing. A strong climate science–policy relationship facilitates the effective integration of climate knowledge into local, national and global policy processes, increases society’s responsiveness to a changing climate, and aligns research activity to policy needs. This complex science–policy relationship requires trust between climate science ‘producers’ and ‘users’, but our understanding of trust at this interface remains largely uncritical. To assist climate scientists and policymakers, this Perspective provides insights into how trust develops and operates at the interface of climate science and policy, and examines the extent to which trust can manage — or even create — risk at this interface.

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We would like to thank G. Althor for helpful discussions with R.M.C, and R. McAllister, L. Lim-Camacho and G.B. Witt for constructive feedback on earlier versions of the manuscript.

Author information


  1. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Brisbane, Australia

    • Justine Lacey
  2. Climate Change Institute, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

    • Mark Howden
    •  & R. M. Colvin
  3. Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

    • Christopher Cvitanovic


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J.L., M.H. and C.C. conceptually developed the paper. J.L., M.H., C.C., and R.M.C. wrote the paper.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark Howden.

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