Climate Crossroads

Solving the problem of climate change is as much a challenge of public communications as it is of physical science.  Scientific consensus is solid on the fact that humanity’s CO2 emissions are causing global warming, but the challenge of how to deploy that scientific knowledge in order to move global publics and their leaders to take the matter seriously is still a work in progress.

But advocates and scientists are enthusiastically embracing the challenge of translating their scientific findings into communications that can both reach out to the general public and start to have more of an impact on actual policy formation.

For example, this month the World Resources Institute put out their annual Issue Brief that summarizes and disseminates the current climate science for an educated audience.  The American Geophysical Association awarded its first ever Climate Communications prize to Gavin Schmidt, founder of the blog RealClimate.  And in Communicating the Science of Climate Change (pdf) at Physics Today, researchers are working to educate scientists themselves about how their words are systematically misunderstood by average people.

Topos’ own work has helped lay the groundwork for improving the communications toolkit for climate advocates, and we keep close track of these ongoing efforts to improve the conversation.