Definition: Values and normative assumptions

What do we mean by values and normative assumptions? According to a traditionalist conception of what is now called the ‘science-policy interface’ the appropriate division of labor and responsibilities between scientific institutions on the one hand and political institutions on the other can be achieved by paying close attention to the distinction between facts and values. In short, science provides the facts and politicians (or decision-makers) the values. Science can be informative in activities such as planning or decision making exactly because it is ‘value free.’ An abandonment of this ideal would on this conception involve an unacceptable concession on part of the scientist and reduce to scientific claims to mere opinion. 

Thus, values in climate economics refer to the ethical principles, priorities, and moral ideals that guide decision-making in addressing climate change. These values often encompass a range of considerations, including intergenerational justice, equity, sustainability, and the well-being of both human and non-human entities. The normative assumptions in climate economics are moral beliefs that underpin e.g., economic models, and cost-benefit analyses related to climate change.