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Ice-Hot News – You have a “cool” new Policy Point of Contact in the Cryosphere Division!

At the 2023 EGU General Assembly, our cryosphere division members all voted “YES!” to have a division policy point of contact! If you’re wondering how to engage in science policy at our division level, what a division policy officer does, who was named and what happened next… This blog post should answer a lot of these questions (or I hope)!


First off, a little history about how policy officers came to be!

Science for policy allows information to be transferred from individual researchers or a scientific community to policymakers so that their policies are built upon scientific evidence. Science is present in all legislations, whatever their topic or government level. Thus, while science alone cannot inform all policy decisions, science allows policies to be more resilient as it allows a more meticulous assessment of the cost, benefits and consequences of any decision.

For the EGU, It all started in 2016 when the EGU Council decided to establish a Science for Policy programme. The idea was to empower EGU members to engage more with Europe’s policy-making process. Chloe Hill (whom many of you have probably seen running around at each General Assembly, coordinating and speaking on so many fascinating panels that we all wonder if she is human ) has been overseeing this Science for Policy Programme as EGU’s Policy Manager since mid-2017. Chloe is the connection between the EGU and European policy makers and organizations that are active at the science-policy interface. In this role, she provides training and advice to researchers who would like to engage with European policy, both at the General Assemblies, but also through numerous online/in-person events (if you’re interested, you should definitely sign up to the monthly EGU policy newsletter).

Using the chance to come together with peers to form a task force tackling a new policy can be empowering for all involved sides! Photo credit: Pexels.com

 

Chloe also chairs the Science for Policy Working Group, which is constituted of eight Science for Policy experts who, together, ensure that EGU members can contribute in their best capacity to evidence-based policy-making at the EU institutions as well as guide the EGU policy targets that then are submitted to the EGU Council (if you are wondering which kind of decisions and levels are reached with EGU’s policy action, read on!).

In October 2021, the EGU Council approved EGU’s first “Policy Priority Area” on biodiversity for 2022-2024 – an area that was flagged as EU-policy relevant and broad enough that many EGU divisions could be mobilized. Across these divisions, the EGU Biodiversity Task Force is composed of eight EGU members, who have been extremely productive in contributing to current EU law making processes by providing relevant scientific information to policymakers. In particular, they published a series of policy briefs responding to several EU consultations (also called calls for evidence, i.e. where the EU citizens and businesses can share their views on new EU policies and existing laws), regarding the creation of the EU Nature Restoration Law (see further reading for the direct link to these briefs!). This law is pivotal to the protection and restoration of nature, yet saw a lot of pushback. Therefore, the continuously provided scientific support ensured that legislators had access to scientific evidence while developing the law. It further provided many perspectives from the different stakeholders and lobby groups. Needless to say, the EGU Biodiversity Task Force members did a tremendous amount of work!

 

Sketch of one person with tie and questions marks being pulled by both a devil and an angel.

Scientists can ensure legislators have access to scientific evidence and provide a perspective other than the usual stakeholders and lobby groups. Figure credit: Marie Cavitte.

 

So then, what are division Policy Officers and Points of Policy Contact?

Divisions now have their own Policy Officers (POs), or Points of Policy Contacts (PPCs) as some divisions are referring to them as. This is because there are only so many consultations and policy processes that one person or task force can follow. There are numerous areas that need the input of science experts to ensure that the policies developed are informed by evidence (“evidence-informed policy”). And the advantage of the EGU community is that we have many, many … many expert members! Division POs and PPCs will therefore be able to help interested division members to get more involved in policy-making processes within their divisions. Creating a network of division POs and PPCs helps the EGU effectively tackle more topics and engage more in depth in policy action.

 

So, who is the cryosphere division Policy Officer?

Until we as a cryosphere community define further what we envision for our policy activities, our division has voted to create a PPC position for now. This is where I will introduce myself. 

I am Marie Cavitte, the current PPC for our division. By day, I am a glaciologist and climatologist, working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at UCLouvain (Belgium). I am looking into how to improve our quantification of how much it snows (or doesn’t snow) in Antarctica using models and data. By night Also by day, I engage in science communication, sharing our expert knowledge on the state of glaciers and ice sheets and the climate in general. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been engaged in science communication activities. My focus in the past has been on outreach towards schools and the general public, in particular through our very own (amazing!) EGU Cryoblog, for which I started as a writer (it’s funny to look at my first ever blog post), and ended up being a chief editor for 2 years… I have great memories from that time, and I learnt a LOT about #scicomm.

Man with loudspeaker

We must be a loud and clear voice to promote evidence-based policy making. Photo credit: Pexels.com

 

But now, with the ever bigger challenges facing us to tackle climate change, I want to reach out to a different audience: policy makers. A lot of change can come from the bottom-up, and we see it more and more these days with the emergence of activist science groups that are making a difference, such as Scientist Rebellion (and we need that pressure!). But we also need top-down change to hold our governments accountable and instigate nation-wide or industry-wide changes (of course, this is my personal view). I believe that a lot of policy makers want to make the right decisions and try to listen and incorporate the perspectives of various stakeholders and groups when creating and amending specific policies. However, without the scientific community engaging in this process and sharing relevant evidence, they may only use non-scientific perspectives and potentially misleading information to guide their decisions.  I see evidence-informed policy as a way to right the balance: to be the scientists, speaking facts, data, numbers, swath analysis, multi-disciplinary approach, speaking louder to the policy makers than purely economically-motivated lobbies, so the policy makers can increasingly inform their decisions by science.

 

What can we do as a division: brainstorm session

If you want to have a taste of how policy engagement could look like for you, check out this list of ideas how I, as PPC, could connect you to some Europe-wide topics. As a division, it is up to us to engage in the policy making processes concerning our fields of expertise, let’s get the conversation going! Feel free to reach out with your own additions! 

 

 

 

  • The PO/PPC could be a connection towards EU bodies regarding EU- and CR-relevant academic issues: e.g. which topic should be funded, how much funding would be sufficient,…
  • The PO/PPC could help coordinate themed/division-specific Science for Policy webinars relevant to division members
  • The PO/PPC could help coordinate groups of division members interested in tackling a specific policy problem when it arises (e.g. an EU consultation)
  • The PO/PPC could help put forward members who would like to start engaging more in Europe’s policymaking processes or share opportunities to join groups who are already engaging such as the EGU’s new Task Force which will be established in early 2025
  • The PO/PPC can forward information about relevant and upcoming policies that division members may be interested in contributing to. Likewise, EGU members can highlight policy processes and legislation that might be of interest to the wider EGU community!
  • The various divisions’ PO/PPC will organize a splinter meeting at each EGU General Assembly to meet division members interested in science for policy and create thus a network of keen members. You can join us on Thursday of EGU24 for the Splinter meeting: Meet your EGU Division Policy Points of Contact. Come along and share your ideas or other areas that PO/PPC can support!

 

 

Get involved

If you’d also like to start engaging with policymaking or joining a network of scientists who are, feel free to reach out to me (or your EGU Division PO or PPC)! If you’re unsure if your division has a policy representative, you can always reach out to Chloe Hill via [email protected] to ask. And also, do have a look at this latest GeoLog post about all that’s coming up in EGU’s Science for Policy 2024 Agenda !

 

Further reading

Edited by Maria Scheel


Marie Cavitte is a F.R.S.-FNRS Postdoctoral Researcher at UCLouvain, Belgium. She investigates how remote sensing data (radar in particular) can be used to improve our understanding of snow accumulation/loss over the Antarctic Ice Sheet. For this, she combines model and ground-truth data, she’s been at the data-model intersection her whole career! Marie is also very passionate about science communication. She used to be a chief editor of this blog, now a lead board member of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) Belgium to share polar expertise with schools and the general public, and participates in transdisciplinary panels and media interviews around climate change. She is on LinkedIn and X/Twitter. Contact email: [email protected].



Originally published at https://www.einpresswire.com/article/685669545/ice-hot-news-you-have-a-cool-new-policy-point-of-contact-in-the-cryosphere-division

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