第1回国際シンポ 「共同事実確認の可能性： 政策形成における科学的情報の役割」
Humble Inquiry: The Practice of “Joint Fact Finding”
ピーター・アドラー（Accord Group、Keystone Center元CEO）
Dr. Morita and Dr. Matsuura, thank you so much for your invitation to come here and be with you. It’s a pleasure to be with Lynn and with Larry. Thank you, Larry. I almost should just say, “Me too.”
This conversation and discussion and this workshop couldn’t come at a more important time because our countries, both Japan and the United States, are grappling with tremendously challenging problems. So for me it’s an honor and a privilege to be here with you. I want to bring good wishes from America to all of you in your continuing to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Our hearts are with you.
I want to hurry this presentation along. I’m going to try not to repeat everything that has been said. It may be a little hard, so forgive me if I loop back to a few things, but I do want to share some thoughts about joint fact-finding then leave as much time as we can for discussion and interaction.
As you may know, for the past ten years and until very recently I have been the president and chief executive officer of a group called the Keystone Center in Colorado. Like our colleagues at the Consensus Building Institute and other institutions, we do very similar kinds of work. We are interested in cooperation. We are interested in good uses of science and we are interested in bringing it into the policy and political world. So I come with some background and experience in this, but it is also a continuing experiment, as both Lynn and Larry have said.
At this very moment, my 60 colleagues and friends at the Keystone Center are working on some very important issues that involve just this topic that we are talking about. For example, one Keystone team is finishing a project on improving the quality of federal science panels and the integrity and credibility of both qualifications for people who come to advise departments as well as the credibility and qualifications of the data sets that they must vet as they deal with issues like food security, pharmaceuticals, new drugs in the marketplace and so on.
A second team is working on the development of some new metrics. They’ve brought industry and NGOs to the table and for several years now they have been developing some new metrics to drive the quest for sustainability in commodity agriculture: corn, soy, wheat, millet and so on.
As you know, there are tremendous debates and disputes about this. At one end are the whole questions about GMOs and genetically modified and transgenic organisms. At the other end are advocates of organic agriculture. They and this group have come together and they said, “We are going to create some indicators and those indicators must be informable by science.” That was the criteria. So this team has developed a series of indicators and they’re now populating that. They’ve dealt with many other products as well.
There’s a third team that is working at this moment to help the eastern half of the United States and all of its many different power grids and utilities to create an interconnection between them so that we can create smart grids, so that we can create energy security and avoid some of the problems we’ve had with blackouts in the past.
All of these involve the use of science as a way of informing policy. Like my colleagues, we are big believers that if we can take the public and scientists and regulators and bring them into a very careful conversation, we can improve the factual platform, the base on which these decisions are being made.
I myself have moved back to my home in Hawaii and there I am about to grapple with issues that involve food labeling for genetically modified organisms. It’s very conflictual. There’s a high level of feeling and emotion that’s going on, and we are going to try to set in motion a process that will deal as much as possible with presenting the facts so that the decision makers then are fully informed, jointly, in their policy choices. It’s very much in keeping with what you have heard here.
At the heart of all these things that we are talking about today, there are three things that we are trying to do. The first one is to bring people to the table to work together. That’s not simple. It’s not easy, especially with people from the public, NGOs, communities, scientists and decision makers and regulators. So that’s the very first task. How do we bring people into a conversation? How do we create a safe place where dialogue can take place?
The second things is, how do we find and search through lots of data--a fire hydrant of data, very often--to find those facts about which we can say, “We agree that this is the right range,” or “For purposes of decision making, we agree that these are the things to be considered.” Larry marched us through the process of doing that.
The third thing, of course, is to reach some kind of alignment and convergence around those facts so those potential ideas can come forward and be useful in very practical ways.
What I’d like to do is go through a few of these slides. I won’t go through all of them. The reason why I think joint fact-finding and the other approaches that Lynn mentioned are so critical for us today is because the problems that we have sometimes feel almost insurmountable. They are complex. They are fast moving. They are slippery. Every solution seems to create other problems. They have cascading effects and ripple effects. So today we are confronted with huge numbers of problems.
The new reality, at least in the United States, is that no one sector, whether it be government, industry or civil society, can fully own these problems. Nobody owns these problems. These are public problems. No one agency of government has the full jurisdiction it needs to solve the problems and impose solutions. No one branch of science or discipline or intellectual model can fully explain these problems. Technical remedies by themselves we know are insufficient.
We need a new process. We need new ways of attacking these things. I believe, and my colleagues believe--I think all of us are hoping that we can find a new approach to managing the data and the information that attends these problems. So my belief is that we have to figure out how to make this a team sport. In Hawaii, I was talking to someone who has a very successful baseball team at their school. They adopted this model: “One team. It’s not about me. It’s about we.” That was very good for high school students, but how do we actually bring that into the world of science and policy? How do we actually do that? That’s our challenge.
Fact-finding is the name of the game for us. Not to make the policy decision, but to create the platform. to create the groundwork, the foundation so that important policy decisions can get made.
I want to talk to you about three very quick cases. Just three examples. They’re in the paper and I won’t go into a lot of detail about these, but the first case involved a public health problem. This was a project that my friends at the Consensus Building Institute worked on for a number of years, actually. It took place in the state of Maine. There was an allegation brought forward that in this particular confluence of certain rivers and certain industries, textile industries that were in there, that there was a suspected cancer cluster. The companies that owned the mills there were in the process of retrofitting their mills and doing pollution abatement, putting in new pollution abatement systems. But there was tremendous anxiety and tremendous fear in the community. People worried, “Are my children going to die? Am I going to die? I’ve seen friends die. How do we know if something is going bad?”
Here was an instance where the state of Maine tried to bring people together. They did just what Larry said. They brought representatives into a working group. They brought in facilitators who had no vested interest in the outcome but were intelligent and wise and able to understand some of the issues and be able to speak the languages of the community as well as the scientists and the policymaker.
That issue actually took place for almost a year. It spent a lot of time in meetings. They were sometimes very hostile, very angry meetings with tremendous amounts of fear at the table. People were driven by fear. Eventually they were able to actually come to some conclusions, with the help of epidemiologists and public health workers, on all sides. That took a year. It took a year of conversation. It wasn’t definitive, but it actually created the groundwork for new investments in that community for public health purposes.
The second case that I’ll use as an example was one of the largest marine ecosystems on the West Coast. Over many years, like the situation that Lynn Scarlett told you about, this bay, Sacramento Bay, had become polluted. It was polluted with nitrogen, phosphorous, and solid particulate matter coming from agricultural runoffs and from high-tech businesses, which were flourishing that area. The ecosystem, like the Tomales Bay, supported a lot of rare fish and rare plants and lots of other animals. The area was a major source of drinking water.
The question that came up was, “How polluted is this? And if it is very polluted, what are we going to be doing about it?” That was the topic that was taken up. They wanted to finally get some clarity on just how polluted the water was and where the pollution seemed to be coming from. Was it agricultural? Was it industrial? Was it sewage? Where was it coming from?
The third example that I’ll give you is one that we worked on at the Keystone Center. It took place three years ago and it had to do with the thinking and planning for a new generation of nuclear plants, an issue that is close to home for you in Japan. The question was, “How much per kilowatt hour will electricity cost under a new generation of nuclear plants? How safe will those plants be? What are we going to do with the waste that comes out of those plants that can’t be recycled into energy?”
This group spent eight months. They took up the first question and really went deep into it. You’ll find this report at the Keystone website. Access to it is widely available. It’s an important report because the green NGOs who came to the table said, “Look. We think electricity is going to cost $0.25-$0.30 per kilowatt hour once it’s amortized and once some of the external costs are internalized or taken into account.” The proponents of the nuclear energy industry said, “We think it’s going to cost $0.03 per kilowatt hour.”
They can’t both be right. So in the joint fact-finding, they spent months around the table. Months. They brought really credible scientists to the table, each side, industry as well as the NGOs. There were decision makers listening around the edges of this. They finally came up with an acceptable range of somewhere between $0.08 and $0.11 per kilowatt hour under new Generation IV nuclear plants.
That report didn’t solve the question, but what it did do was set the stage for more informed policy debates, which is the whole purpose of joint fact-finding. It is not to make the decision. It is to help inform the decision and reduce some of the adversarial friction that is involved.
What’s common to these is this: all of these are true situations. They’re all highly political controversies. They all involved extremely important public issues and regulatory debates. They all involved participants from industry and civil society and government. They were all reduced to the usual pattern of dueling studies and warring experts. We’re familiar with that. We know how that works, because that’s part of the stock in trade of scientists who are working both in academia as well as in the public policy arena.
They were able to quell some of that. It didn’t mean people had to give up their positions, but they could say, “Here are the jointly agreed-to facts.” All of them achieved a greater level of acceptance of a set of facts that became relevant to the ultimate decision-making.
Now, we have lots of ongoing disputes in the United States. Lynn’s mentioned some of those. Some of those are about building dams or decommissioning dams, about GMOs, about the threshold levels for chemicals of concern, about vaccination policies, about shale gas exploration, about hydro-fracking, about off-road vehicles. The list goes on. And you have your issues here in Japan, which you are the experts on. What is a safe level of radiation in the air, food and water after the great earthquake and after the tsunami? How do we manage the contaminated areas around Fukushima? How safe are the rest of Japan’s nuclear power plants? What steps should we take to stimulate the demographic and economic growth of the country?
We know from years and years of study, sociologically and psychologically, that there is a pattern of controversy. There is a ladder, an escalation system, if you will. We know it starts out with some people feeling injured or fearful about a result, and we know that eventually in this cyclone of controversy things escalate and positions become hard. Polemics become fierce. We know that coalitions form. You’re all familiar with this. All you have to do is look at your own newspapers or our newspapers and you see these dynamics all the time. The question, again, is, how do we create a safe port in a storm where people can come to the table and explore the convergence, the places of convergence for their facts?
I’ll just tell you as an aside, in the processes that I have run, I’ve sometimes told people at the beginning of one of these joint fact-finding processes something that they don’t like to hear. What I tell them is that for the purposes of our search for agreement, for an agreeable foundation of facts, nothing will be considered a fact until we agree it’s a fact. I’m not arguing that in the world of scholarly enterprise there aren’t assertions of fact, but for the purposes of joint fact-finding, until we agree that something is a fact, it remains as an opinion to be investigated, to be explored, for data to come to the table around that. That makes people very uncomfortable at first, but it also sets the stage for the search for common facts that we agree to.
The question is, how do we create such a port in a storm for this kind of an enterprise? All of this is taking place at what I would call the interface between science and scientists, the public, and government. This interface is a place of storms. It’s a constantly stormy environment.
Here’s what we hear from the scientists: “Our work is very complex and technical. Lay people can’t understand us. Why would I sit across the table from a lay person? They haven’t got thirty years of schooling. They haven’t read the journals. Why would I do that?” Or, about the government, I’ve heard this complaint: “The government will ignore our science anyway. Science doesn’t really seem to matter to politicians.” Or, “If only the public was better educated. If only we could give them all the facts that we know, they would begin to see things our way.” Have you heard all these before? We hear them regularly. This is regular. Or, “That other scientist’s work? No. My science is better.” The scientists come into this process with a certain mindset, with a certain history, and with a certain paradigm. This is what their complaints are.
From the public, they have a different set of complaints. They say, “How come everybody is talking at us? We don’t know what to think. Everybody’s just talking at us. We know the politicians don’t listen and they just want to get re-elected. Those scientists, all they do is fight with each other and get grants. They want grants and money to do their research. And it will all get decided behind closed doors.” It’s a very cynical kind of view, and it’s driven by a lot of fatigue on public issues and a lot of anger when the issues touch people personally.
From the policymakers and the regulators and the decision makers, we hear this: “All we get from the public are lots and lots of complaints. How come they never tell us when we’re doing anything right? All we hear is about what we’re doing wrong. And those scientists, they come before us and they talk endlessly in a language we don’t understand and they never seem to come to a conclusion. They never seem to have a conclusion. For all the money that we give the scientists, how come they can’t tell us what will happen in 50 years?” Of course we know that science does not work like that. It’s adaptive. It’s protean. So we hear from politicians also, “Citizens need to become part of the solution, but they don’t actually give us the means for coming to the table. And those scientists, they just tell us they want more money. And that other politician, he or she is wrong.”
This is the syndrome. This is that ongoing climate, the ongoing battles that take place in that interface. The question is, how do we move from this perpetual conflict, perpetual fighting, which has its good qualities--we know it’s an important feature of our system and it’s an important feature of yours--but how do we find those moments in the right instances, in the right problem, at the right time, in the right way, to move from this to that. How do we do that?
Joint fact-finding is all about that. It is one method. It is not the only method, but it is a durable method. It is a useful method for reducing factual disagreement. It will not find the place of harmony for all the policy questions, but it creates a smarter set of pieces of information on the table for the moment when policies will get decided and directions will get decided and values will be exercised and judged. It informs those. It won’t make the decision but it can help inform those.
The basic requirement is that in some way, shape or form those who are affected by a decision must find a way to be involved in it. That’s our challenge. How do we bring people to the table? It is in working groups? Is it in round tables? Committees or special commissions? There are multiple ways, politically, to do this. So it’s first framing the questions, understanding what the questions are that people have in mind. What is it that the politicians bring in terms of questions? What are the scientists bringing, but most of all what is the public bringing that they will find useful in terms of information? The first piece is the mutual framing of the questions before you start the search for information and answers.
The second thing is the mutual identification, generation and analysis of some of the scientific and technical information.
Third, it is about jointly giving weight and relevance to that information.
I don’t think joint fact-finding is new. I think it has gone by a number of names in the world of sociology and psychology and various other disciplinary research. Chris Argyris years ago wrote about this and he called it “action research.” If you go on the internet, you’ll find lots of information that is very similar. Or Heron and Reason who talked about “cooperative inquiry.” Or Torbert on “participatory action research.” Or Paolo Freire, a very famous figure, who talked about “developmental action inquiry.” Or Whitehead, who talked about “living theory.” These are all very kindred processes. Very similar.
Here are the central principles, however you do it. There are many ways and shapes and forms for this. The first thing is, we have to figure out how it is going to be inclusive. We know we cannot involve 100,000 people in a joint fact-finding exercise. The question is how do we figure out some thought leaders who can give voice and view to the multiple perspectives that are involved in a problem? How do we get them to collaborate?
As facilitators and mediators, we know a lot about how to do this. This is not new for us. We know how to set up and convene and create protocols and create charters and create the foundation for these kinds of discussions. This is not new stuff.
We know that these processes need to be very well structured. You need to bring people together who are willing to sit in a disciplined long-term discussion. This is not a one-meeting effort. It is multiple meetings. If they’re not willing to stick together and work together and stay together, they’re probably not the right people to engage in this. So there’s some judgment that needs to be exercised on this.
This requires a robust exploration to understand the problem from all angles. There isn’t one framing of the question. There are multiple frames of the question. I actually find it very useful to get all those questions on the table, to bring those all out. We know that it is not a forum for arguing positions, but we know those positions will eventually find their way to water level, wherever that is, in any discussion. People come with different interests. Many times, those interests are personal, and the intersection of the personal and the political and the scientific is quite OK. We want that on the table. We know we’re going to need different disciplines, depending on what the questions are.
There’s lots more here about different uses of it. It can be tailored and focused and sharpened so that it can be used to deal with very wide problems over whole watersheds or very narrow problems that are specific to one locale or one species or one sewage plant or one power plant. We know that it can be used to reconcile disputed information and narrow the range of dispute, as we saw in our nuclear exercise. We know that it can also be used sometimes to invest in the creation of new information.
When it works well, it will bring about new insights, shared understandings. It sometimes creates new information. In other words, groups may sometimes say, “We must get an answer to this. Let us hire someone to come and do this.” We will write the RFP for that person, so they will produce some original information that sometimes can break the deadlocks.
We know that it can clarify the limits of knowledge, because we know science is never fully explanatory of everything and we know that there may be contested information or missing information.
We know that it improves working relationships. That’s something very critical. I’ve seen this over and over again where processes like these open doors and sometimes form lifelong new relationships where a member of the public and a policymaker and a scientist can now talk with each other in a new set of relationships. You value that in Japan. We value that in the United States.
It can take many different forms. It can be a stand-alone process, as Larry described, or it can be embedded in other longer-term processes. This is an example on this chart where JFF is one part of a larger collaboration. It can either be a stand-alone issue or it can be part of a longer-term effort to bring about a resolution to a big problem.
I’m going to end this in just a moment and not talk about some of the other things in here, but I wanted to talk just for a moment about a vision, if you will. I have been reading an essay, this essay, and it’s one of the best things I’ve read on climate change in a very long time. This slide is not in your handout so you may want to write this down if it’s an important issue.
This is an essay that comes out of an Australian journal called Quarterly Essay. This young scholar called Andrew Charlton, who is a Rhodes scholar and has been an advisor to a number of prime ministers and premiers, recently wrote this. He had been to the Copenhagen conference, COP15. In his article, he describes the breakdown of what happened. It wasn’t just the political quarrels that were going on. He said that inside there was a very fundamental issue. So fundamental that it sets the stage, I think, for future fact-finding.
I’m going to read this to you. This is the conclusion. I would like you to imagine, ten years from now, that we have done the right kind of joint fact-finding in our separate countries and globally.
He says, “The deal at Copenhagen broke down because it exposed a central dilemma of our century: the choice between progress and planet.
“Our planet is home to 7 billion people. Of these, roughly 1 billion live in rich countries: North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and so on. The leaders of these countries arrived in Copenhagen persuaded of the urgency of the environmental challenges facing our planet. Backed by thousands of journalists and green activists, they pushed for a strong global agreement.
“Another 6 billion people on our planet live in developing countries. Two billion of these, mainly in Africa and South Asia, are so poor they have barely enough to eat. Developing countries arrived in Copenhagen with their own priorities. Poor countries care about the environment, but poverty is their chief concern. A Chinese official made the point starkly. He said, ‘You cannot tell people who are struggling to earn enough to eat that they need to reduce their emissions.’ Developing countries were unwilling to accept any binding constraints on their path out of poverty. ‘For centuries,’ he said, ‘your countries have prospered by exploiting the world’s resources.’ This is from a Latin American negotiator. He said, ‘How can I tell the slum dwellers they must stay poor to help clean up your mess?’
“This was the conundrum in Copenhagen. A fraction of the world’s people had become rich by plundering our planet to the point of exhaustion; now the still-poor majority wanted to do the same. ‘We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves,’ a German colleague said to me. ‘We have to be realistic about the problem. The world is split between those who want to save the planet and those who want to save themselves.’
“Rich versus poor; planet versus progress. Copenhagen was just one global summit, but it was a symbolic battle in a broader conflict between economics and the environment. That conflict is defining the most important choices that we and the world will make in the twenty-first century.”
I want you to imagine it’s ten years from now. Imagine we had really put together a very well resourced joint fact-finding effort. Imagine that we were working with scenarios of sea level rise and physical climate impacts and drought impacts and population dislocations for 2025, 2050 and 2075. Those scenarios are out there. That’s not mysterious. Imagine we were working with those. Imagine that every country’s particular circumstances in terms of those scenarios were well described. Imagine we actually had assembled the right working group that could represent voices from the developed world and the developing world. Imagine we were in a disciplined and productive process, the aim of which was to produce the right kind of factual information about where the tradeoffs may lie, and that’s the decision that the policymakers will have to make at the next Kyoto, the next Rio or the next Copenhagen. Thank you very much.