CSTPR has closed May 31, 2020: Therefore, this webpage will no longer be updated. Individual projects are or may still be ongoing however. Please contact CIRES should you have any questions.

Global Climate Change and Society (GCCS)

This project was a summer research program for undergraduates sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

FlatironsNote: GCCS will not be running in the summer of 2004

GCCS consists of three program leaders (a philosopher, an atmospheric scientist, and a policy scientist), several internship mentors, and twelve students, the latter drawn from the physical sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Students explore the nature of scientific knowledge--its epistemological character, and its social and philosophic implications--and the contribution that social scientific and humanistic perspectives play in public policy debates.

These themes are developed through an examination of the issues surrounding the computer modeling of global climate change. Issues include:

  • How is climate modeled? What are the predictive abilities of these models, and what are their assumptions, boundary conditions, and initial conditions? Which limits of global climate models are inherently fixable (with more data and more efficient algorithms), and which are fundamentally unaddressable by the scientific method?
  • What is the nature of scientific knowledge? Does scientific knowledge offer a single, objective methodology that provides an unequivocal database for the fashioning of public policy? Or are we instead asking science and technology to address questions or problems that are also fundamentally political and/or philosophical in nature? How certain must the science be before the scientist comes before the public?

Thanks to Equity Corporate Housing for their support of GCCS