Science Outreach Ramps Up in Response to Trump Climate Denial
The climate denial emanating from the Trump administration has American meteorologists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Columbia University doubling down on efforts to get the urgent facts about climate change into circulation—and more widely understood.
Asked whether he believed in climate change during a late January TV interview in the UK, Trump replied “there’s a cooling, and there’s a heating. I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well, because it was getting too cold all over the place.”
“Even for the adamantly apolitical American Meteorological Society,” InsideClimate News reports, that level of irresponsibility could not go unchallenged. Two days later, AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter wrote to Trump, pointing out the “wealth of comprehensive and accurate information on climate change available” from U.S. government agencies, “as well as from experts in academic institutions and other organizations”. He affirmed that the AMS stood ready to help the administration get its facts right.
This “polite but pointed message,” was “born out of an exasperation that many scientists, those focused on climate change and otherwise, are feeling in the Trump era,” InsideClimate notes.
In its own effort to “address the stubborn and longstanding challenge of communicating science—and at a time when the message is existentially crucial,” the IPCC issued its first-ever handbook to help scientists learn the art of communicating their specialty to non-specialists, affirming above all the need to “tell a human story.”
Thanks to what ICN calls Trump’s “persistent and active hostility” to honest, accurate climate, “there’s a renewed sense of urgency to ensure climate scientists are supported in the work they do, and to feel confident in engaging effectively with the public,” said Adam Corner, research director at Climate Outreach, the UK-based group commissioned to write the IPCC handbook.
Back in the United States, InsideClimate says the sustained outcry against Trump’s recent disbanding of an advisory panel that helped decision-makers understand and take action on the findings of the U.S. National Climate Assessment culminated in a decision by Columbia University’s Earth Institute to hire the panel’s chair,Richard Moss. His mission: to “reassemble the panel and resume the work” of helping decision-makers understand the facts of climate change—or, if you prefer, global warming.