Trust in Climate Science

Virtual Satellite Panel

12:00 – 13:30 UTC, 22 March 2021


If you missed this panel, you can read about the discussions and watch recordings here.


Despite a clear scientific consensus that human-induced climate change, loss of biodiversity and global warming all pose an increasing threat to the health and well-being of humans on earth, steps taken by governments, industries and citizens are not yet sufficient to address the magnitude of these challenges. This slow move towards action is not the result of a lack of information: global scientific assessments paint a clear picture and provide a broad evidence base for joint action. In the face of this paradox, scientists often question the effectiveness of their communication, wondering whether trust in scientific evidence is the missing element needed to move societies on a path toward greater climate protection.

While trust in scientists and the scientific process differs around the world, overall it is not as poor as it may sometimes seem. According to a recent PEW Research Center global survey , overall public trust in scientists across 20 countries surveyed is fairly high. At the same time, general trust often does not extend to specific issues: climate change is one issue about which people’s views often fall on opposing sides of political dividing lines. Nonetheless, majorities in all countries surveyed viewed climate change as a serious problem, and one which governments are not adequately addressing. What can scientists around the world do to de-politicize climate science; to bring levels of trust in climate science up to the relatively high levels of trust for scientists and their work in general?

This GYA event brings together renowned scientists and GYA members to address trust in climate science, starting from the particular points of view of various scientific disciplines and their connection to demonstrating human influence on the earth’s climate, air, water and natural resources. Which perspectives do different areas of scientific research offer – to the public and to other scientists – to encourage a better understanding of climate change and its implications for human development? What do the applied sciences contribute to the conversation, with possible solutions to prevent further global warming or adaptation technologies?


Anjte Boetius, Director, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Germany.

Gerald Haug, Director, Department of Climate Geochemistry, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry; President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Michael Saliba, Director, Institute for Photovoltaics, University of Stuttgart, Germany. Co-Chair of the Global Young Academy (2020/21).

Leena Srivastava, Deputy Director General for Science, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Former Vice Chancellor, TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi, India.

Fernanda Werneck, Researcher, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia-INPA, Brazil.



Leila Niamir, Researcher, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Germany.