The International Climate Science Coalition announced in March that it is working with Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D., principal research scientist at the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, to create a Climate Science Coalition of America focused on fostering public education about climate change science.
Spencer has agreed to chair the coalition, and the international group will provide administrative support until the coalition is up and running on its own.
Need for Public Education
Throughout the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, held in New York City on March 8-10, a common theme was repeated by many presenters: Climate realists in the United States need a new, more effective voice for public education about the realities of climate science. The coalition will aim to be that voice.
That new voice must be known by the public and mainstream media to be nonpartisan and composed of highly reputable climate scientists. It needs to be a single-issue organization able to win the support of those who, outside of the climate debate, may otherwise be ideological opponents. It must be seen as independent from industry, politics, and other vested interests.
When asked by the audience about the best way to increase the significance of climate science in the formulation of public policy, keynote speakers Congressman Tom McClintock and Canadian journalist Lawrence Solomon agreed without reservation that direct public education should be the paramount strategic objective at this time.
Public Skepticism Growing
Because of the strong vested interests of the press and politicians in maintaining climate alarmism, skeptics’ media and government relations efforts have generally not resulted in more realistic public assertions about climate change from these groups. Many conference participants believe the media and government will start to take a more responsible approach to the issue only when a large-enough fraction of their readers and constituents come to understand the mistakes and extreme bias in their coverage.
Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr, Ph.D. said at the conference the likely target is for a full 70 percent of the public to be shown through reputable polling as dissenting from climate alarmism before government and media will begin to turn the corner.
Encouragingly, several speakers pointed out recent opinion polls demonstrate increasing public skepticism toward the wild claims of former vice president Al Gore, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and environmental activist groups. Various conference presenters described their own public speaking experiences in which audiences were highly receptive to learning more about the climate realist point of view.
New Efforts Announced
The coalition’s plans for promoting public understanding of the realities of climate science are still being formulated, but they will include the following:
* a broad-based expert speakers’ bureau responsible for taking the message directly to the public through speaking engagements at professional conventions, community forums, educational establishments, etc.;
* regionally based panels of experts available to deliver expert testimony at climate-related hearings throughout America;
* guest experts for TV and radio programs that are open to airing the other side of the story (particularly talk radio);
* opinion pieces and letters to the editor of Web-based and hard-copy newspapers, magazines, and other media that welcome a variety of opinions on the issue; and
* development of standardized, easy-to-understand climate science materials for use by educators and other informed lay people who want to help bring the voice of reason to the climate debate in their own communities.
Climate scientists interested in being kept up to date on the progress of the Climate Science Coalition of America or who may wish to become involved in the coalition’s future public education efforts are invited to contact the author at the email address below.
Tom Harris ([email protected]) is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition.