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Pitfalls, Perils and Possibilities AMS Corporate Forum March 22, 2007 Washington, D.C. Sean Potter, CCM.

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Presentation on theme: "Pitfalls, Perils and Possibilities AMS Corporate Forum March 22, 2007 Washington, D.C. Sean Potter, CCM."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pitfalls, Perils and Possibilities AMS Corporate Forum March 22, 2007 Washington, D.C. Sean Potter, CCM

2 The Challenge: Most people accumulate a diverse and unconnected smattering of factoids, a few (sometimes incorrect) principles, numerous opinions, and very little real understanding. Research shows that most Americans believe they know more about the environment than they actually do. Environmental Literacy in America, The National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF), October 2005.

3 The Challenge: There remains a vast gap between what is understood about global warming, by the relevant scientific community, and what is known about global warming by those who need to know, the public and policymakers. Written testimony prepared by Dr. James Hansen (NASA GISS) for House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Political Interference with Climate Science, March 19, 2007.

4 The Challenge: Wall Street is getting the climate-change message loud and clear. That's because corporate giants such as Dow, BP, Shell, General Electric, Wal-Mart, and DuPont have accepted the scientific consensus that global warming is real and that human activity contributes to it. Business Week, June 27, 2006.

5 The Challenge: But on Main Street the message is barely heard. That's got to change. If only out of self-interest, small business ownerswhatever their politics should take a look at climate change. That's because a political, as well as a scientific, consensus is beginning to form. And unless that consensus includes them, small businesses will be ignored (at best) and undermined (at worst) by programs to address climate change. Business Week, June 27, 2006.

6 The Challenge: There's been virtually no research on what global warming means for small business, even though 23 million U.S. small businesses constitute one-half of the economy. We need to know more. Business Week, June 27, 2006.

7 Sources of Information: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

8 Sources of Information:


10 Interference: A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents. The New York Times, June 8, 2005.

11 The Challenge: Scientists prefer the written word, whereas climate change needs to be portrayed more visually if it is going to resonate with a society increasingly gravitating away from the written word to the various visual media, whether TV imagery, animation, web games or other vehicles. A key image in this mix, at least on TV, needs to be human faces.

12 Sources of Information: Broadcast Meteorologists

13 Interference: Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy. If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. December 21, What Was Said...

14 Interference: But storm clouds have been gathering over The Weather Channel after one of its experts dared to suggest that global warming was caused by man- made factors and that colleagues who disagreed should be stripped of their professional credentials. Sunday Telegraph, January 29, How it Was Reported...

15 Interference: Heidi Cullen's attack opened up a thunderous backlash from critics who dismiss the link between rising temperatures and human activity and resent the McCarthy-esque suggestion of a witch-hunt. Sunday Telegraph, January 29, How it Was Reported...

16 Interference: I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype, retorted James Spann, the chief meteorologist for an Alabama news station. Miss Cullen had crossed the line into a political and cultural region where I simply won't go, Mr. Spann said. Sunday Telegraph, January 29, How it Was Reported...

17 Solutions: "If we are to be responsible and objective science communicators, we need to set aside our personal and political backgrounds and feelings. We should make every effort to be as informed as possible, stay current in our science, and above all be fair, objective communicators of what we know and don't know based on the state of the science. Maintaining objectivity, therefore, allows us to pass on the conclusions of the leading scientists actively working in fields related to global climate change. Draft Commentary on Communicating Global Climate Change Issues to the Public and Clients.

18 Solutions: "Hence, a responsible broadcast and/or consulting meteorologist should continue to stay as informed as possible, read relevant articles by the leading researchers, and look to the American Meteorological Society for leadership. The AMS Statement on Climate Change, recently adopted by the AMS Council, should be required reading for all of us who communicate with the public and others seeking guidance on the subject of climate change." Draft Commentary on Communicating Global Climate Change Issues to the Public and Clients.

19 Solutions: Integrating the issue more fully at the strategic level, at least in businesses where it is potentially material, should help create a more robust private sector discourse on, and eventually response to, the climate change issue.

20 Solutions: Public Sector Academic Sector Private Sector Weather and Climate Enterprise

21 Solutions: Effective WCE Partnership Models NOAA/NCIM Short Course The Nations Weather Enterprise: Public/Private Partnerships June 1, 2006

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