[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version]
Many thanks for the invitation to attend your conference and to speak here. I appreciate that a mere politician, a former economist, has been invited to address this well-known gathering of highly respected scientists. If I understand it correctly, this year´s seminar is devoted to the discussion of the role of science and of “planetary emergencies”.
To the first topic, I want to say very clearly that I don´t see a special role for science which would be different from doing science. I have, of course, in mind “normal science”, not a “post-normal science” whose ambitions are very often connected with political activism. The role of scientists is not in speculating on the probabilities of events that cannot be directly measured and tested, nor in promoting a pseudo-scientific “precautionary principle”, nor in engaging in activities which are the proper function not of scientists but of risk managers.