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Look Who’s Coming!

The meeting will span five days, with third day being reserved for the optional field trip. The schedule is designed to maximize discussion and debate opportunities, and to make the meeting accessible to a broad audience. The schedule is planned to be:

•          Sunday sets the stage for the meeting through a series of retrospective lectures and tutorials on  the history of climate science and climate journalism, followed by a talk on barriers to communication, and successes and failures in communication in other areas of science. In the  afternoon, we are introduced to the challenges in communicating information by considering a series of present day climate science topics that are difficult to communicate, but important for  stakeholders to understand.

•          Monday focuses on the influence that social and political background has on determining the  acceptance of information and accompanying statements of confidence and uncertainty that scientists have to offer.

•          Tuesday is a day of field trips, interviews, tutorials, writing contributions to the workshop proceedings, and banquet.

•          Wednesday addresses the challenges of ethics, morality and integrity for scientists and journalists discussing climate science using two topics to focus the discussion: Geoengineering  and Adaptation/Mitigation.

•          Thursday:  We look for lessons learned from the previous days of the meeting, and outline a  document describing “best practices in communication”. Discuss next steps.

Key questions to address during the round table discussions and poster presentations are:

  1. What is the social and political context in which scientific information is communicated? How influential is the science compared to the social and political factors?  How do these  factors mediate the scientific message?
  2. What can climate scientists do to improve communication with the general public and policy makers? How should scientists communicate the science of climate model projections? How can scientists help to provide useful input to the public discussion of the climate issue?  What are the measures of success or impact? What are the best practices?
  3. What forms of expressing non-scientific values or prescriptive judgments are appropriate?  How will those statements affect how reports of scientific findings are received?  How can scientific integrity best be preserved throughout such interactions? Where is the line is between “policy relevant” and policy-prescriptive”?
  4. How can we communicate climate change to the media, stakeholders and the public in a manner that is most comprehensive and relevant to the respective audiences?  Are there past examples from other public issues where communication by scientists has (or has not) been effective? How could the media, academia, and policy-makers work together to frame the issues correctly for their respective audiences?
  5. How do we address questions raised by non-specialists about the conduct of science, such as those related to a scientist’s credibility, and what constitutes a scientific consensus?
  6. How do we as honest scientists grapple with the difficult distinction between facts and values, the objective and the subjective, particularly in areas where subjective judgment is a part of the process of evaluation?
  7. How might we enhance the authority and legitimacy of climate knowledge and its generators, e.g. transparency in data, methods and models, discipline and professionalism in both public and private communications?  Is the ‘non-traditional electronic media science’ in a form of science blogs and forums successful in communicating the science to society and policymakers?