Continuing National Dialogue Beyond Climate Week

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ClimateChangeNationalForum.org is gearing up for daily bipartisan policy debate

ClimateChangeNationalForum.org

ClimateChangeNationalForum.org

The CCNF project intends to not just influence the national dialogue on climate change, but to redefine it.

As world leaders conclude climate change discussions in New York, deep in the heart of Texas in the energy capital of the world, a small non-profit founded by leading scientists is working hard to make sure climate change stays in the public dialogue every day.

ClimateChangeNationalForum.org launched in January as a “go to” website for the American public to learn about climate change. The blog, forum, and fact checker platform features an ongoing and open dialogue on climate change by scientists. Nine months in, Climate Change National Forum (CCNF) has built an engaged community of climate scientists, gained a readership that spans scientific and political spectrums, and is advancing climate literacy.

“The forum provides a rare window into the actual scientific debate, allowing non-scientists to see how scientists evaluate the work of others, construct meaning out of various bits of evidence, formulate ideas, challenge their colleagues, and (on occasion) develop a consensus,” said Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist and Regents Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. “As such, the site is intended to have educational value well beyond its climate science focus.”

The Climate Change National Forum (CCNF) project is being led by Nielsen-Gammon, Dr. Barry Lefer—Associate Chair of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Houston, and Tracy Hester—law faculty and former Director of the Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Center at the University of Houston Law Center. The project was started by Michael Quirke, a law student at the University of Houston Law Center, web developer, and a former Army captain. Quirke is serving as the Executive Director of CCNF.

"The CCNF project intends to not just influence the national dialogue on climate change, but to redefine it. It starts with an objective and public forum for scientists to blog on the science of climate change, share and debate ideas on aspects of the science relevant to policy making, and to fact check outside material influencing the public's understanding of this issue. Coming soon in 2015, the Forum will then expand to policy implications of the science, and the platform will serve as a scientifically grounded marketplace of bipartisan ideas on what can or should be done," said Quirke. “The scientists will continue participating in this latter phase, which will ensure the policy debate stays moored to the science arrived at by the scientists.”

CCNF’s growing community of science columnists include: Dr. Scott Denning—Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of Education and Diversity for the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes at Colorado State University; Dr. Kerry Emanuel—Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Andrew Dessler—Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University, Google Science Communications Fellow, and former Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dr. John Anderson—W. Ewing Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University; Dr. Judith Curry—Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. Mauri Pelto—Glaciologist, Professor of Environmental Science at Nichols College, and Director of the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project; Dr. Andreas Schmittner—Associate Professor of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University; Dr. Jeremy Shakun—Paleoclimatologist and Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College; Dr. Will Howard—Deputy Chair of the Australian National Committee for Antarctic Research, ocean acidification research scientist at the University of Melbourne, and former lecturer in oceanography at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole; Dr. Daniel Cohan—Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Rice University and Faculty Fellow at the Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies; Dr. Bart Verheggen—teacher and tutor at Amsterdam University College; and Lulu Liu—2nd year PhD student in Applied Physics at Harvard University, writer on science communication, and former AAAS Mass Media Science Fellow; and others.

All CCNF scientists volunteer their time and the non-profit presently operates with minimal funds. Quirke says goals for the remainder of the year include building up considerable financial support and scaling up operations.

“We have demonstrated some considerable success since the Forum officially kicked off in January and have built a dialogue that commands the attention of those following this issue, all on a shoe string budget. But to reach average folks across all facets of the American public and to fully establish a foundation in the science for a national policy discussion, unprecedented in scale and influence, we are going to need major funding.”

The platform remains open to any scientist – and soon, subject matter or policy experts – that can meet CCNF’s columnist criteria. CCNF is actively soliciting Fellows of the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and American Institute of Physics in order to amass a columnist community that is representative of the greater climate and physical sciences publishing community.

CCNF is beginning to gauge interest from subject matter experts and policy makers who would like to participate in this national dialogue as part of Phase II. The Forum has already signed on a couple of prominent thought leaders, including a Clean Air Act reform advocate and former congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC). Those interested in membership should contact Michael Quirke.

“When people have debates on climate policy, it so often goes nowhere because people cannot agree on the underlining science. On CCNF, the participating scientists are hashing things out on the science in a very public manner before we get into policy, so everyone is on more or less the same page when it comes to what the science is telling us. That is why this is really the best hope for a productive bipartisan policy discussion on climate change, which simply doesn't exist at this time," said Quirke.

General inquires: Michael Quirke, CCNF Executive Director, 281-832-3170, m(dot)quirke(at)ClimateChangeNationalForum(dot)org.

About Climate Change National Forum

Climate Change National Forum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded and led by leading climate scientists. The mission of CCNF is to educate the American public on the science of climate change and its policy implications. CCNF administers an ongoing public forum wherein scientists can discuss the latest research on climate change, share and debate ideas on aspects of climate change, and fact check outside claims being made in the news media. In Phase II, subject matter experts and policy makers will be able to join this forum to compare and debate the costs and benefits of possible responses. CCNF is headquartered in Houston, TX.

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