Scientists and climate governance: A view from the South

Cecilia Ibarra, Guadalupe Jiménez, Raúl O'Ryan, Gustavo Blanco, Luis Cordero, Ximena Insunza, Pilar Moraga, Maisa Rojas, Rodolfo Sapiains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The importance of science for climate governance has strengthened over time and the topic inspires prolific academic writing on the influence of scientists and scientific knowledge on policy decisions. One of the streams of research in the field is inspired by Cash´s (2003) seminal work highlighting how the role of scientists depends on perceptions of salience, credibility and legitimacy. Other views call for attention to the politics involved in scientific performance while influencing policy and on the local circumstances, considering the many ways in which societies relate to science and expertise. The role of scientists in climate governance is a contested issue, relevant for many research centres aiming to influence policy decisions given the urgency of the climate crisis. To better understand this role, we reviewed mainstream international literature and identified four main approaches, which we label: scientific usable knowledge, politics of science, critical approaches and hybrid approaches. We contrasted the results with the experience of scientists from a Chilean climate research centre, to provide a view from the South on the role of scientists in climate governance. Our results show that Cash´s approach was a common ground for Chilean climate scientists, upon which they build ideas on the importance of building long-term relationships between scientists and policy makers. However, they also acknowledged the need to take into consideration the role of politics in climate-related decisions and the power relations and actor´s interests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-405
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Climate governance
  • Global South
  • Literature review
  • Science-policy-interface
  • Scientific knowledge


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