"Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap Between Science and Action" (PDF) is a report synthesizing the insights of 110 leading thinkers on how to educate and motivate the American public on the subject of global warming. Background on the report here. I’ll be posting a series of excerpts (citations have been removed; see original report). If you’d like to be involved in implementing the report’s recommendations, or learn more, visit the Yale Project on Climate Change website.
Below the fold is short list of the most prominent recommendations yielded by the conference’s working groups. I tend to think too many of the recommendations pinned their hopes on the creation of new institutions, but I’d love to hear what y’all think.
TEN RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PART II
Part II of this report describes in detail the diagnoses of the science-action gap that were conducted by each of the eight working groups, and subsequently refined in mixed-group formats. It also lays out each of the 39 recommendations, providing supporting rationales and in some cases points of debate. The recommendations represent the output of concentrated dialogue among a thoughtful and diverse group of Americans, but sign-off should not be construed, as they were not submitted to a vote or any consensus-building procedures. The following constitute ten of the most prominent recommendations to emerge.
Create a new "bridging institution" to actively seek out key business, religious, political, and civic leaders and the media and deliver to them independent, reliable and credible scientific information about climate change (including natural and economic sciences).
Educate the gatekeepers (i.e., editors). In order to improve the communication of climate science in the news media, foster a series of visits and conferences whereby respected journalists and editors informed on climate change can speak to their peer editors. The objective is to have those who can credibly talk about story ideas and craft reach out to their peers about how to cover the climate change issue with appropriate urgency, context, and journalistic integrity.
Religious leaders and communities must recognize the scale, urgency and moral dimension of climate change, and the ethical unacceptability of any action that damages the quality and viability of life on Earth, particularly for the poor and most vulnerable.
Design and execute a "New Vision for Energy" campaign to encourage a national market-based transition to alternative energy sources. Harness multiple messages tailored to different audiences that embed the climate change issue in a larger set of co- benefit narratives, such as: reducing U.S. dependency on Middle East oil (national security); penetrating global export markets with American innovations (U.S. stature); boosting U.S. job growth (jobs); and cutting local air pollution (health).
Create a new overarching communications entity or project to design and execute a well-financed public education campaign on climate change science and its implications. This multi- faceted campaign would leverage the latest social science findings concerning attitude formation and change on climate change, and would use all available media in an effort to disseminate rigorously accurate information, and to counter disinformation in real time.
Undertake systematic and rigorous projects to test the impact of environmental communications in all media (e.g., advertising, documentary, feature film) on civic engagement, public opinion and persuasive outcomes. Use these to inform new creative work on multi-media climate change communications.
Improve K-12 students’ understanding of climate change by promoting it as a standards-based content area within science curricula and incorporating it into other disciplinary curricula and teacher certification standards. Use the occasion of the state reviews of science standards for this purpose, which are being prompted by the states’ need to comply with the Fall 2007 start of high-stakes science testing under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Organize a grassroots educational campaign to create local narratives around climate change impacts and solutions, while mobilizing citizen engagement and action. Kick the campaign off with a National Climate Week that would recur on an annual basis.
The Business & Finance working group at the Conference composed an eight-principle framework, and proposed that it be disseminated broadly to trade associations and individual business leaders (especially at the CEO and board level) as a set of clear and feasible actions that businesses can and should take on climate change.
Create a broad-based Climate Action Leadership Council of 10-12 recognizable and senior eminent leaders from all key national sectors and constituencies to serve as an integrating mechanism for developing and delivering a cohesive message to society about the seriousness of climate change and the imperative of taking action. The Council would include leaders from business, labor, academia, government, the NGO sector, the professions (medicine, law, and public health) and community leaders. They would be chosen on the basis of their credibility within their respective communities, but also across society at large.