Climatevoices.org -- Engaging an Array of U.S. Public Audiences in the Science of Climate Change

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Cynthia Schmidt, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States
A significant number of U.S. citizens have real concerns that actions to curb climate change threaten prosperity and basic freedoms and present an affront to their own values. Others are so worried that climate change will destroy Earth’s environment and any prospects for their descendants that they are either frantic to find solutions, or too discouraged to act. To attempt to reach these disparate audiences with critical scientific information from reports such as the IPCC and NCA, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the United Nations Foundation initiated the Scientist Citizen Initiative, and launched Climate Voices – Science Speakers Network (climatevoices.org) in April of this year.

This presentation will address the trials and errors of establishing such a network, engaging scientists across the country, and creating public demand for such a resource. The major focus will be lessons still being learned about reaching diverse local audiences; gauging and implementing the varied approach necessary to engage such audiences; and enabling scientists to initiate public conversations involving fellow citizens in discussion of climate change observations, impacts, and solutions. How can partners be identified and involved that deliver mixed audiences ranging from the Six Americas’ “alarmed and concerned” to the “doubtful and dismissive?” [Yale Project on Climate Communication] How can synthesis report results be made compelling and relevant to such audiences? How can such an effort be implemented across the entire country? How can its accomplishments and failures be assessed and evaluated? This presentation will provide answers in progress to these questions.