Usable Climate Science and the Uses of History, An Interdisciplinary Workshop at Yale University

Thursday, November 7, 2019
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Whitney Humanities Center

“Usable Climate Science and the Uses of History”

An Interdisciplinary Workshop at Yale University, November 7-8, 2019

Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 1:00pm to Friday, November 8, 2019 - 5:00pm

Co-organized by Deborah Coen (history of science, Yale) and Adam Sobel (atmospheric physics, Columbia)

Co-sponsored by the MacMillan Center for International Affairs, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the Whitney Humanities Center, the Environmental Humanities Program, the Program in the History of Science and Medicine, and the Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate.

Since roughly 2012, major international scientific research and assessment programs like the IPCC and Future Earth have begun to insist on the necessity of incorporating the knowledge, experience, and values of “users,” “stakeholders,” and indigenous communities into the process of producing knowledge about the impacts of anthropogenic climate change. On smaller scales as well, for instance in the provision of regional “climate services,” efforts are multiplying to bridge the “usability gap” by making science more responsive to the needs of citizens. This quest for “usable science” is shaping a new era of research into climate impacts and strategies of adaptation. While there is much to admire about these initiatives, they raise pressing questions about epistemic standards, scientific ethics, and social justice that have not been adequately examined and that would benefit from sustained, transdisciplinary analysis. This workshop aims to reflect critically on the ideals and practices of “cooperative” modes of climate change research, past and present.

Open to the public by pre-registration. To register and access workshop papers please email


All events will be held at the Whitney Humanities Center

Thursday November 7

1:30 Introduction

2:00-4:00 Panel 1: Usable Science: Goals, Assessment, and Career Trajectories.

Panelists: Mark Cane, Heather Douglas, Richard Moss. Commentator: Ron Smith. Moderator: Thomas Easley.

4:00-4:20 Coffee break

4:20-6:20 Panel 2: Climate Science for Justice.

Panelists: Lisa Goddard, Jo Guldi, Sheila Jasanoff, Lisa Lloyd. Commentator: Rachel Rothschild. Moderator: Doug Kysar.

Friday November 8

10:00-12:00 Panel 3: Climate Science for Public Deliberation.

Panelists: Martin Mahony, Wendy Parker, Ted Shepherd. Commentator: Anji Seth. Moderator: Jennifer Marlon.

Lunch for participants

2:30-4:30 Panel 4: Climate Science for Urban versus Rural Communities.

Panelists: Liz Barry, Robert Kopp, Vijay Limaye, Andrew Stuhl. Commentator: Teona Williams. Moderator: Mark Bomford.

5:00-6:00 Public Keynote Address

Candis Callison (University of British Columbia), “The Twelve-Year Window: Locating Crisis, Climate Change, and Colonialism”