SCK•CEN Academy workshop on energy governance and the politics of hypothesis

March 24 - 25, 2014   Brussel (BELGIUM)

Many scientific hypotheses are nowadays granted with a social and political function. They are prematurely released from the laboratory, without full support from empirical evidence but with a specific task: to warn the world about dangerous situations or evolutions, or to inform it about promising trends and capacities. And, whether in the area of technology, ecology or economics, in many cases, they are produced as ‘if-then’ hypotheses upon explicit political request …

The workshop will focus on the main hypotheses that drive and affect energy governance today. In the shadow of the doom of the hypothesis of human induced climate change figure hypotheses related to the potentials of future nuclear fission, fusion, renewables and carbon capture and storage. Despite of their potentially mediating character in the public social, cultural, economic or political sphere, these scientific hypotheses are hypotheses produced in the context of ‘serious’ scientific practice. Taking into account that the production and use of these hypotheses imply specific responsibilities of science, politics and civil society, the workshop will explore how they shape up and influence each other and how this all affects the scientific practices that aim to produce them.