Tamsin Edwards - Scientist making a name for herself as a fearless communicator

Tamsin Edwards is highlighted as 1 of 20 women making waves on the road to the 2015 climate conference in Paris...

A relatively junior climate scientist, at least compared to those who usually act as public voices for the profession, Edwards is making a name for herself as a prolific and fearless communicator, especially online.

A climate scientist at the University of Bristol, Edwards uses computer models to study climate change, what impacts climate change has on sea level and the environment, and explores the uncertainty in earth system modelling.

Edwards initially trained in high energy physics, and is happy to argue about power and the patriarchy along with the science. She’s had her fair share of battles with other scientists and sceptics, especially on issues of advocacy, but is highly respected amongst this community too, as well environmentalists.

Edwards believes that "a dvocacy by climate scientists has damaged trust in the science. We risk our credibility, our reputation for objectivity, if we are not absolutely neutral. At the very least, it leaves us open to criticism. I find much climate scepticism is driven by a belief that environmental activism has influenced how scientists gather and interpret evidence. So I've found my hardline approach successful in taking the politics and therefore – pun intended – the heat out of climate science discussions".

Whilst some of her colleagues disagree with her approach, and think she should be clearer about her political beliefs, Edwards says it's about improving the trust in climate scientists in a highly politicised arena, and that climate scientists have a moral obligation to strive for impartiality.

"I became a climate scientist because I've always cared about the environment" says Edwards, "since a vivid school talk about the ozone layer and the influence of my brother, who was green long before it was cool. But I care more about restoring trust in science than about calling people to action; more about improving public understanding of science so society can make better-informed decisions, than about making people's decisions for them. Science doesn't tell us the answer to our problems. Neither should scientists."

Her approach is certainly unique, and shows why she is included as 1 of 20 women at the forefront of climate discussions on the road to Paris in December 2015, when the world will get a new climate deal at the COP21.

What do you think about her views on climate scientists and advocacy? Let us know in the comments.

You can follow her on Twitter @flimsin and read her blog – All Models are Wrong – hosted by the Public Library of Science.

Other posts you might like -

  1. - Lesley Hughes – Scientist standing up to politicians’ scepticism in Australia
  2. - Sweden’s 1st Female Archbishop Leads Church into Climate Change Fight


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