Analysis of the overview process

In contrast to both the IPCC and previous AMAP assessments, the ACIA placed the summary of the scientific report that was intended for a wider audience, including policy makers, apart from the policy domain and clearly with the scientific domain. For instance, the responsibility for the content was placed only with the lead authors of the scientific reports and not with the politically mandated AMAP Working Group and CAFF Working Group. The report was thus presented as attaining its credibility from science rather than from a political negotiation process. There appears to have been very little discussion about this point as judged by the formal record. The only apparent dissent comes late in the process and as an informal discussion among some members of the Assessment Integration Team.

The arrangement appears to have benefited both sides. The policy community, in particular the United States, did not have to take political responsibility for the scientific

118 Appendix 1. Annex 7. Minutes of the 3rd Joint AMAP- CAFF Meeting, Olso, Norway 15-16 April 2004 in AMAP report 2004:1

119 Interviews 26, 27, 28, and 45.

outcome of the assessment. The scientific community, as it was embodied in ACIA's Assessment Steering Committee, could keep the controversies in the policy process and attempts from the United States to delay the process at bay. This action can be understood, as Gieryn uses the term, as effective boundary work, i.e. the attribution of selected characteristics to the institution of science for purposes of constructing a social boundary that distinguishes some intellectual activity as non-science.120 In the case of the ACIA, policy makers may have wanted to be sure that they would not be forced by science into making policy decisions that were not the right ones within their sphere of analysis. Scientists, on the other hand, did not want to be limited by political sensitivities connected to either global climate negotiations or internal national politics when describing the impacts of climate change.

Such separation has been at the heart of the scientific endeavour since the scientitic revolution. As Shapin points out, it has been a way to ensure the moral and political authority of science.121 It also reflects Latour's point that modernity has divided the authority to describe nature to science and made that distinct from the political sphere.122 Indigenous perspectives brought forward, in connection with discussing the possibility of a preface, provide a contrast to this norm of separating the authority between science and policy. It also illustrates that although the structure of the relationship between knowledge production and political decision making is a strong norm, it is not set in stone. In fact, the different models for constructing a synthesis of knowledge for policy makers, as exemplified by IPCC's summaries for policymakers, AMAP's popular science reports, and ACIA's overview document, illustrate how that boundary is constantly negotiated.

Lidskog and Sundqvist describe boundary work as a concept that can be used to enhance our understanding of how the value of knowledge is to be decided.123 One way to interpret the strong US position of not "accepting" or "endorsing" the overview document could thus be that the United States did not give the knowledge provided value from a policy point of view. There was no commitment that it would inform policy. This role lies, instead, with the politically negotiated policy document (further described in section 5.4). Considering the controversial nature of climate politics, where many issues other than the impact of climate change are at stake, this playing down of science should not come as a complete surprise. Moreover, the AMAP Working Group and the CAFF Working Group are at a rather low level in the political hierarchy, with most delegates being administrators in government agencies. At the time of the overview's "approval process" there was an on-going policy process at the higher political level -among Senior Arctic Officials who were generally from the ministries of foreign affairs. This bowing to the higher policy level comes out very clearly in the AMAP-CAFF discussions at the April joint meeting about ACIA follow-up, when several countries

120 Gieryn, "Boundaries of Science," 405.

121 Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1996), 164.

122 Latour, We Have Never Been Modern.

123 Lidskog and Sundqvist, "The Roles of Science in Environmental Regimes: the Case of LRTAP," 184.

pointed out that AMAP and CAFF could not take any initiatives on their own because Senior Arctic Officials had taken over the policy process.124

How does this division of responsibility between the Assessment Steering Committee on the one hand, and AMAP-CAFF on the other, affect the credibility of the overview? A long answer to this question would require questionnaires or interviews that were not conducted within this project. However, it is clear that the credibility formally rests with the scientific document and it thus became a problem for the overview when the science report was delayed and not available until over half a year after the overview was released. One senior climate scientist has mentioned this as a credibility problem that the IPCC have previously avoided by having the scientific reports ready at the same time.125

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