Science

Science is knowledge or a system of knowledge about the physical world and its phenomena. Many environmental threats would be unknown without scientific research or discovered too late for the development of appropriate policies.

Environmental policy rests on a foundation of scientific research. However, the process of scientific research is not always geared to the needs of policymaking. Science seeks to prove or disprove hypotheses as a strategy for reaching enduring answers. Policy is limited in time and location: decisions must be made at a given time for a specific jurisdiction. Policymakers seek the best possible answers to issues because there is a constituency that requires an answer. Effective environmental policy requires facts derived from science as well as principles and goals derived from policy analysis. However, simply providing more scientific information does not create better policy. Scientists and policymakers often speak two different languages. An effective science-policy interface is often needed to negotiate and mediate between science and policy so that the evidence scientists provide is understandable to policymakers and other stakeholders.

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