Science advice for energy policy: Who’s afraid of epistemic diversity?

What are the challenges in organising, generating and absorbing interdisciplinary science for policy? These key challenges of science advice, revealed by the pandemic, were the focus of a session co-organised by SAPEA, the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors as part of the Fourth International Conference on Science Advice to Governments in Québec, Canada.

Energy transition and the EU hydrogen strategy

The European Strategies for Energy System Integration and for Hydrogen have been in the limelight of debates over recent months and a related report was adopted by the Parliament’s plenary in May. Furthermore, the European Commission (EC) is now proposing a “Fit for 55” legislative package (expected for 14 July) to fundamentally overhaul the EU’s climate policy architecture and put the EU on track towards reaching its target of a 55% net emissions reduction by 2030.

Plastic pollution: Are biodegradable plastics a solution?

Plastic pollution is a worldwide issue of increasing concern. Each year, more and more plastic ends up in the natural environment, raising concerns of risk to the environment, animal and human health. And, while biodegradable plastics could be part of the solution, they also present certain challenges. Many biodegradable plastic products actually biodegrade only in certain specific environments, or only in industrial composting facilities, rather than in the open environment more generally.

Biodegradable plastics: how do we engage with consumers and society?

Public awareness and concern over plastics pollution, especially in open environments such as oceans, rivers and land, are at an all-time high. At the same time, the public is often uncertain and confused about what to do with plastic items after use. The increasing availability of products made from biodegradable plastics is likely to add to the confusion.

Research integrity

During this time of crisis, when policymakers and citizens are listening closely to the advice of scientists, trust in the integrity of research and scientific evidence has never been more important. Policymakers and the public must have confidence that scientists have acted with honesty, and have adhered to principles of rigour, transparency and openness in conducting their research.

Digital media in crisis situations

What has been the role of the media, including social media and local news, on our public debate, attitudes and behaviour during this current pandemic? As we emerge from this crisis, could we rethink the role that media and digital platforms play in facilitating the flow of information and dialogue between experts, policymakers and the public, particularly in emergency situations?

Alternative proteins, consumers and sustainability in Europe: Where next?

We know from reliable evidence that our societies need to transition to a more sustainable food system, so that we can provide enough healthy food for an increasing world population without harming the environment. One well-known recommendation is to promote a shift towards diets with fewer conventional animal products.

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