Following the conference, a book has been published in april 2012 by the Presses de Sciences Po, Paris :

Controverses climatiques, sciences et politique
Under the direction of Edwin Zaccai, François Gemenne & Jean-Michel Decroly

Collection Académique – Domaine Développement durable
ISBN 978-2-7246-1239-4 – SODIS 729.265.9 – 22 €


In the last few months, important controversies have sparked pungent criticism of the science of climate change both in the scientific world and in the media. Books, articles, and conferences questioning the findings supported by the renowned IPCC are multiplying. Without denying the very existence of climate change, skeptics seek to re-evaluate its anthropogenic character and its importance. These important differences affect the social representation of climatic changes as well as the individual and group behaviors and policies relating to the changes. The opposing opinions have become polarized to the extent that public officials are torn between adopting a more “laissez-faire” approach to climate regulation and promoting proactive actions and policies aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

In this context of urgent debate, the conference aimed to unravel the form, content and actors of the controversies surrounding climate change. First, we exposed the scientific aspects of the debate on climate change, thus confronting points of convergence and divergence among various pieces of modern scientific evidence. Next, we focused on the actors central to the controversies and compared various country cases (France, United Kingdom, United States, etc.). This segment of the conference offered a look at the financial and organizational features of both sides of the dispute, with particular emphasis on the role of the IPCC. A third part of the conference focused on the media representation of the climate controversies and the different reactions it triggers in the general public. Finally, the conference questioned the effects of these climate controversies on public initiatives and confronted the viewpoints of representatives at various levels (European Union, national and state entities).

You will find the presentations and videos of the speakers on this website.

The conference then moved to Paris, where two round tables examined the linkages between ideological cleavages and scientific controversies, as well as the visual representation of these controversies. The first round table sought to examine how scientific controversies match political cleavages in different countries. Do controversies stem from ideological oppositions, or do they create new political cleavages? The second round table was devoted to the visualization and representation of these controversies in the public space: how does our perception of the problem influence the solution to address the problem?

Presentations held in this part are available on the IDDRI website

Jean-Michel Decroly, François Gemenne & Edwin Zaccaï
on behalf of the organizing committee


BRUSSELS, 27-28 October 2010 – Museum of Natural Sciences
Conference opening
intervention slides video lang.
Jean-Louis TISON (Professor in climatology at the ULB)
n/a video in french
Camille PISANI (Director of the IRSNB)
n/a video in french
Session I : Introduction (Chair : Jean-Louis TISON, Professor – ULB and joint Director of the Glaciology Research Laboratory)
intervention slides video lang.
Jean-Louis TISON (Professor in climatology at the ULB, Chair of the session)
n/a video in french
Jean-Michel DECROLY & Edwin ZACCAI (Professors – ULB)
Enjeux scientifiques, sociaux et politiques des controverses climatiques : quelques balises pour un colloque
pdf videovideovideo in french
Claude HENRY (President of the Scientific Board – IDDRI)
Incertitude scientifique et incertitude fabriquée
pdf videovideo in english
Naomi ORESKES (Professor – University of California, San Diego)
Merchants of doubt: how and why a handful of scientists obscured the truth on climate change
pdf video in english
Session II : Scientific convergences and divergences (Chair : Pierre REGNIER, Professor – ULB)
intervention slides video lang.
Pierre REGNIER (Professor in Earth Science at the ULB, Chair of the session)
n/a video in french
Jean-Pascal van YPERSELE (Chair of the IPCC – Université Catholique de Louvain)
Comment le GIEC gère-t-il les incertitudes scientifiques ?
pdf video in french
Hervé LE TREUT (CNRS, Director of the Institute Pierre-Simon Laplace)
Changement climatique d’origine anthropique : enseignements des observations et modèles
pdf video in french
Valérie MASSON-DELMOTTE (CNRS – Research laboratory of climate and environmental sciences)
Quelles sont les incertitudes qui font débat ?
pdf video in french
Frank PATTYN (Professor – ULB)
Uncertainties in sea-level rise assessment and projections
pdf video in english
Session III : The actors at the core of the debate (Chair : Eric REMACLE, Professor – ULB)
intervention slides video lang.
Eric REMACLE (Professor, ULB – Chair of the session)
n/a video in french
James HOGGAN (Hoggan & Associates – Vancouver)
Climate cover-up. The crusade to deny global warming
pdf video in english
Paul EDWARDS (Professor – University of Michigan)
Climate controversies in the United States: the politics of data
pdf video in english
Olivier GODARD (Research Director – CNRS)
Ce qui distingue expertise et controverses scientifiques de la campagne climato-sceptique en France
pdf video in french
François GEMENNE (IDDRI – Sciences Po)
Les experts face aux controverses: une lecture politique
pdf video in french
Session IV : Communication and mediatisation (Chair : François HEINDERICKX, Professor – ULB)
intervention slides video lang.
François HEINDERICKX (Professor in media analysis at the ULB, Chair of the session)
n/a video in english
Sylvestre HUET (Science reporter – Libération)
Les journalistes confrontés au « streetfight » climatique
pdf video in french
Jean-Baptiste COMBY (Professor – IFP-CARISM / University Paris II)
Médiatisation des controverses climatiques: une approche sociologique
pdf n/a in english
Session V : Perceptions and social representations (Chair : Amy DAHAN, Research Director – CNRS)
intervention slides video lang.
Amy DAHAN (Professor in sciences studies, Centre Alexandre Koyre, Chair of the session)
n/a video in french
Clive HAMILTON (Professor – Charles Sturt University, Australia)
Why we resist the truth about climate change
pdf video in english
Jean-Paul BOZONNET (Maître de conférences – Sciences Po Grenoble)
La réception du climato-scepticisme dans la population européenne
pdf video in french
Session VI : Political consequences (Chair : Edwin ZACCAI, Vice-President of IGEAT – ULB)
intervention slides video lang.
Edwin ZACCAI (Professor in sustainable development at the ULB, Chair of the session)
n/a video in french
Jean-Marc NOLLET (Vice-President of the Wallonia Region, presentation by Jean-François FAUCONNIER)
Les effets des controverses climatiques sur les politiques régionales et locales
pdf video in french
Federal Minister for Climate – Belgium
Les effets des controverses climatiques sur les politiques nationales
n/a n/a n/a
Samuele FURFARI (Lecturer – ULB and DG Energy and Transport – European Commission)
Controverses climatiques et politiques de l’énergie
pdf n/a in french
Etienne HANNON (Lecturer – ULB and Advisor for SPF Environment – Climate Change Unit (Belgium))
Négociations internationales sur le climat : obstacles et controverses
pdf n/a in french
Amy DAHAN (Research Director CNRS, Centre Alexandre Koyré)
Blocage des négociations climatiques, et rôles des controverses à cet égard
pdf video in french
Jean-Michel DECROLY, Edwin ZACCAI & François GEMENNE
Conclusions of the first part of the conference
n/a video in french
François RENIERS (Vice-President for Research – ULB)
Closing address
n/a video in french
Brussels, Wednesday 27 October 2010 – Free University of Brussels (ULB)
Public roundtable : Climate, controversies and the media
intervention slides video lang.
François GEMENNE (IDDRI – Sciences Po)
Opening address
n/a video in french
Public roundtable (Moderator : Jean-Jacques JESPERS, Professor and Director of the School of Journalism – ULB)

Participants :

  • David ADAM, Nature (Editor)
  • Michel DE MULENAERE, Le Soir
  • Sylvestre HUET, Libération
  • Hervé KEMPF, Le Monde
  • Gilles TOUSSAINT, La Libre Belgique
  • Clive HAMILTON, Charles Sturt University
  • James HOGGAN, Hoggan & Associates, Vancouver
  • Naomi ORESKES, University of California, San Diego
  • Jean-Louis TISON, ULB
n/a videovideovideo in english
in french



  • To download the full program, click here (PDF – 2.2MB)
  • To download the poster, click here (PDF – 460KB)