CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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New survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication: Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind.

 Some highlights:

  • About six in ten Americans (58%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”

  • Many Americans believe global warming made recent extreme weather and climatic events “more severe,” specifically: 2012 as the warmest year on record in the United States (50%); the ongoing drought in the Midwest and the Great Plains (49%); Superstorm Sandy (46%); and Superstorm Nemo (42%).
  • About two out of three Americans say weather in the U.S. has been worse over the past several years, up 12 percentage points since Spring 2012. By contrast, fewer Americans say weather has been getting better over the past several years - only one in ten (11%), down 16 points compared to a year ago.

  • Overall, 85 percent of Americans report that they experienced one or more types of extreme weather in the past year, most often citing extreme high winds (60%) or an extreme heat wave (51%).
  • Of those Americans who experienced extreme weather events in the past year, many say they were significantly harmed. Moreover, the number who have been harmed appears to be growing (up 5 percentage points since Fall 2012 and 4 points since Spring 2012).

  • Over half of Americans (54%) believe it is “very” or “somewhat likely” that extreme weather will cause a natural disaster in their community in the coming year.
  • Americans who experienced an extreme weather event are most likely to have communicated about it person-to-person - either in person (89%) or on the phone (84%). 
The report includes an Executive Summary and a breakdown of results by region and can be downloaded here.

Four climate communication’s specialists present this excellent panel session at the 2011 American Geophysical Union conference.

  • Susan Joy Hassol director of of the non-profit science and outreach project, Climate Communications, starts this session on communication with a casual-yet-important observation that the public rarely reacts to new information unless there is an incentive.
  • The second speaker, John Cook who runs Skeptical Science presents practical tips for scientists respond to climate deniers and other media backlash. His approach is to provide scientific evidence to combat myths, yet he’s quite aware that this is not very effective.

  • Edward Maibach, who I’ve worked with in the past, runs George Mason’s 4C program (Center for Climate Change Communication), discusses a three-part strategy that anyone, even non-scientists can employ for effective communications: Trust, short messaging, and audience research.

I think this is one of the better walks through the problems of communicating climate science with the general public. From the description:

Addressing issues related to effective public ‘climate communications’ may require including subjects outside of one’s field of expertise.

This discussion explores real and perceived challenges regarding how to bridge the gap between expertise and relevant related cause and effect relationships to enhance effective climate communications without abandoning scientific integrity.

This delves into the differences between science, scientific opinion and general opinion. To convey the physical reality of climate change, it helps to convey ‘what climate change means’ to people in their everyday lives. For this reason, scientists need to consider how to discuss related issues, while maintaining scientific integrity.

On that note, this wraps up Climate Science Communications Week at Climate Adaptation! What did you think? Should I do another week to a single topic? What did you learn? Did you find videos were mo’ beddah than my text posts? Send your feedback to my ask box or to: http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/submit

The Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) conducts unbiased research and surveys of the public’s perception of climate change. The surveys follow strict scientific design standards and analysis, and the results are published free to the public. I worked with Edward Maibach, the director of 4C last year, on a few interesting projects last year.

More About 4C:

We use social science research methods – experiments, surveys, in-depth interviews and other methods – to find ways of effectively engaging the public and policy makers in the problem, and in considering and enacting solutions. Social science research has played important roles in many social change campaigns over the past several decades, including reducing smoking and littering, and increasing seat belt use and recycling. 

4C’s Mission

Our mission is to conduct unbiased public engagement research - and to help government agencies, non-profit organizations, and companies apply the results of this research - so that collectively, we can stabilize our planet’s life sustaining climate.

4C is the premier source for these types of surveys. Their reports are easy to read and comprehend, and think-tanks and the public use 4C’s findings on a regular basis.

Here is a sampling of their reports

  • The Climate Change in the American Mind Series - Fall 2012In Fall 2012, we conducted our latest national survey on Americans’ climate change and energy beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behavior. The first report focused on the 7% of voters who were undecided about the upcoming Presidential election.  The majority of these… Read More
  • Climate Change in the Indian MindIn November and December 2011, members of our research team conducted a study investigating the Indian public’s climate change awareness, beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behaviors. A total of 4031 people, from both rural and urban areas, responded to the survey…. Read More
  • The Political Benefits of Taking a Pro-Climate Stand in 2012This brief report draws upon data from a nationally representative survey conducted in March 2012 (Climate Change in the American Mind) and other research to investigate the question: On balance, will candidates for political office benefit or be harmed by talking about and… Read More
  • The Climate Change in the American Mind Series, Spring 2012In March 2012, we conducted a national survey on Americans’ climate change and energy beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behavior. The first report shows that a large majority of Americans say they personally experienced an extreme weather event or natural disaster in… Read More

It’s Climate Science Communications Week at Climate Adaptation!   For the entire week of Feb. 18 - 23, I’ll cover how climate change is discussed by the media, scientists, researchers, academics, and politicians. If you have sources or ideas on communicating climate change, send to: http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/submit

79 plays

Why do most TV Meteorologists deny climate change? Surprisingly, most are not trained in climatology. NPR dives in to explore how some meteorologists are working to change that problem. (Side note, I worked with Ed Maibach on a few projects last year. He runs George Masons’ Center for Climate Change Communication. Interesting guy.).

Forecasting Climate With A Chance Of Backlash

When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weathercaster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education.

The only problem? Polls show most weather presenters don’t know much about climate science, and many who do are fearful of talking about something so polarizing.

In fact, if you have heard a weathercaster speak on climate change, it’s likely been to deny it. John Coleman in San Diego and Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That? are among a group of vocal die-hards, cranking out blog posts and videos countering climate science. But even many meteorologists who don’t think it’s all a hoax still profoundly distrust climate models.

"They get reminded each and every day anytime their models don’t prove to be correct," says Ed Maibach, who directs the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, and has carried out several surveys of TV weathercasters. “For them, the whole notion of projecting what the climate will be 30, 50, a hundred years from now, they’ve got a fairly high degree of skepticism.”

And yet, Maibach has found that many meteorologists would like to learn more and would like to educate their viewers. A few years back, he hatched a plan and found a willing partner in an unlikely place.

Prepared For Backlash

"I loved it. That’s exactly what I wanted to do," says Jim Gandy, chief meteorologist at WLTX in Columbia, S.C.

Gandy had actually begun reading up on climate change several years earlier, when — to his surprise — a couple of geology professors at a party asked whether he thought global warming was real. Gandy was disturbed by what he learned and was game to go on air with it, even in what he calls a “dark red” state with a lot of “resistance” to the idea of climate change.

"We talked about it at length," he says, "and we were prepared for a backlash." Via

It’s Climate Science Communications Week at Climate Adaptation!   For the entire week of Feb. 18 - 23, I’ll cover how climate change is discussed by the media, scientists, researchers, academics, and politicians. If you have sources or ideas on communicating climate change, send to: http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/submit

Climate researchers from George Mason and Yale University partnered to produce four surveys titled, The Climate Change in the American Mind. They regularly survey American’s attitudes and perceptions about climate change.

Americans’ beliefs about climate change have bounced back sharply from the decline witnessed between 2008 and 2010. Belief in the reality of global warming increased by 13 points since January 2010, to 70 percent in September 2012.  More than half of Americans (54%) believe global warming is caused mostly by human activities, an increase of 8 points since March 2012. Many Americans say people around the world (40%, up 8 points since March 2012) and people in the United States (36%, up 6 points since March) are being harmed right now by climate change, and Americans increasingly perceive global warming as a threat to themselves (42%, up 13 points since March), their families (46%, up 13 points), and other people in their community (48%, up 14 points). The report can be downloaded here: Climate Change in the American Mind – Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012.

Climate Change Communication Internships, Summer 2012

National Park Service (National Capital Region) &

George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication

Deadline: April 17

Description

The National Park Service (NPS) cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. In this capacity, NPS is in a unique position to observe changes brought about by global warming, and to engage park visitors and neighbors in conversations about climate change. Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) conducts research on, and teaches about, climate change public engagement strategies. Seven interns will have the opportunity to work with NPS staff and a 4C PhD student on climate change communication projects in the summer of 2012.
 

The internships will be based at Washington, DC area NPS parks and at 4C. Six of the interns - working in pairs under the supervision of 4C staff - will work with NPS staff in a national park, developing park-specific communication projects. The seventh intern will work the NPS’s Urban Ecology Research Learning Alliance on a region-wide project; this position may be renewed for a second summer (in 2013) if the intern performs well and has the requisite skills.

If you are interested, please click here for more information.


Let me know if you need help applying. I work with the folks who run 4C.