Sponsored by the Paleoclimate Program, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, National Science Foundation.
AMS Summer Policy Colloquium Past Reading Materials
A key part of each year's AMS Summer Policy Colloquium experience is a package of pre assigned reading materials, mailed to participants in advance of their ten days in DC. Some are classics; others are less well-known. The books selected change from year to year.
Why emphasize such materials? What governs their selection? The greatest challenge our community faces is the widening gap between the advance of our science and technology and society's ability to use it. In one way or another, these readings address this issue and provide useful background and/or tools for those of us working in this arena.
Past years recommended reading
CRS Report for Congress "Science and Technoloyg Policymaking: A Primer
(PDF available now, please download by clicking here) Scientific and technical knowledge and guidance influences not just policy related to science and technology, but also many of today’s public policies as policymakers seek knowledge to enhance the quality of their decisions. Science and technology policy is concerned with the allocation of resources for and encouragement of scientific and engineering research and development, the use of scientific and technical knowledge to enhance the nation’s response to societal challenges, and the education of Americans in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Beyond Sputnik By Tobin L. Smith, Homer A. Neal, and Jennifer B. McCormick
Science and technology are responsible for almost every advance in our modern quality of life. Yet science isn't just about laboratories, telescopes and particle accelerators. Public policy exerts a huge impact on how the scientific community conducts its work. Beyond Sputnik is a comprehensive survey of the field for use as an introductory textbook in courses and a reference guide for legislators, scientists, journalists, and advocates seeking to understand the science policy-making process. Detailed case studies---on topics from cloning and stem cell research to homeland security and science education---offer readers the opportunity to study real instances of policymaking at work. Authors and experts Homer A. Neal, Tobin L. Smith, and Jennifer B. McCormick propose practical ways to implement sound public policy in science and technology and highlight how these policies will guide the results of scientific discovery for years to come.
Environment & Statecraft By Scott Barrett
Environmental problems like global climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion can only be remedied if states cooperate with one another. But sovereign states usually care only about their own interests. So states must somehow restructure the incentives to make cooperation pay. This is what treaties are meant to do. A few treaties, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, succeed. Most, however, fail to alter the state behaviour appreciably. This book develops a theory that explains both the successes and the failures. In particular, the book explains when treaties are needed, why some work better than others, and how treaty design can be improved. The best treaties strategically manipulate the incentives states have to exploit the environment, and the theory developed in this book shows how treaties can do this. The theory integrates a number of disciplines, including economics, political science, international law, negotiation analysis, and game theory. It also offers a coherent and consistent approach. The essential assumption is that treaties be self-enforcing-that is, individually rational, collectively rational, and fair. The book applies the theory to a number of environmental problems. It provides information on more than three hundred treaties, and analyses a number of case studies in detail. These include depletion of the ozone layer, whaling, pollution of the Rhine, acid rain, over-fishing, pollution of the oceans, and global climate change. The essential lesson of the book is that treaties should not just tell countries what to do. Treaties must make it in the interests of countries to behave differently. That is, they must restructure the underlying game. Most importantly, they must create incentives for states to participate in a treaty and for parties to comply.
Fight Club Politics By Juliet Eilperin
The function of the U.S. House of Representatives is to serve as the body of government closest to ordinary citizens, reflecting their needs and desires. Yet, over the past decade, the House's drift from its roots has given rise to Republicans' ability to capture control of the chamber from a 40-year Democratic rule. Factors including House rules that have curtailed dissent and more powerful party leaders perpetuate this national divide This book shows how average Americans have little say over what happens in the House, and what can be done about it.
High Noon 20/20 By Jean-François Rischard
The most impressive idea to emerge from the recent World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland: a new approach to identifying and managing the world's twenty most pressing problems.
In this age of instant communication and biotechnology, on this ever-smaller planet, what kinds of problems have we created for ourselves? How do we tackle them in a world where the accustomed methods used by nation-states may be reaching their natural limits? In High Noon, J. F. Rischard challenges us to take a new approach to the twenty most important and urgent global problems of the twenty-first century. Rischard finds their common thread: we don't have an effective way of dealing with the problems that our increasingly crowded, interconnected world creates. Our difficulties belong to the future, but our means of solving them belong to the past.
Rischard proposes new vehicles for global problem-solving that are startling and persuasive. With its clear-eyed urgency and refreshing specificity, High Noon is an agenda-setting book that everyone who cares about the future must read.
The Honest Broker By Roger A. Pielke, Jr.
Scientists have a choice concerning what role they should play in political debates and policy formation, particularly in terms of how they present their research. This book is about understanding this choice, what considerations are important to think about when deciding, and the consequences of such choices for the individual scientist and the broader scientific enterprise. Rather than prescribing what course of action each scientist ought to take, the book aims to identify a range of options for individual scientists to consider in making their own judgments about how they would like to position themselves in relation to policy and politics. Using examples from a range of scientific controversies and thought-provoking analogies from other walks of life, The Honest Broker challenges us all - scientists, politicians and citizens - to think carefully about how best science can contribute to policy-making and a healthy democracy.
Storm World By Chris Mooney
One of the leading science journalists and commentators working today, Chris Mooney delves into a red-hot debate in meteorology: whether the increasing ferocity of hurricanes is connected to global warming. In the wake of Katrina, Mooney follows the careers of leading scientists on either side of the argument through the 2006 hurricane season, tracing how the media, special interests, politics, and the weather itself have skewed and amplified what was already a fraught scientific dispute. As Mooney puts it: "Scientists, like hurricanes, do extraordinary things at high wind speeds."
Mooney—a native of New Orleans—has written a fascinating and nuanced book on one of the most urgently compelling offshoots of the global warming debate: are we responsible for making hurricanes even bigger monsters than they already are?