AGU Members Talk Climate on Capitol Hill
3 March 2011
AGU Science Policy Alert 11–08
AGU teamed with eight other scientific societies to bring 36 scientists working on climate research to Washington, DC, for the first ever Climate Science Day on Capitol Hill. With a new Congress promising to focus on environmental regulations and energy policy, it is critical that lawmakers have access to the best climate science to help guide policy decisions. The scientists met with legislators and their staff to discuss the importance of climate science for America's economy and offer help in sorting through the vast amount of information that is publicly available regarding climate.
On 16 February 2011, the day before traveling to Capitol Hill, the scientists attended an afternoon session on climate science communication. Highlights from the training included a talk by Ed Maibach of George Mason University on his research on understanding how Americans view climate scientists, how they interpret climate information, and the environmental messages that Americans find most compelling. Additionally, the participants had access to a panel of bicameral congressional staff members, representing both sides of the aisle, on what to expect during a congressional meeting. Congressional staff gave frank advice on how to best communicate climate science to a congressional audience and answered questions.
Andrew Dessler (Texas A&M) just before
a meeting with Senator Cornyn's office.
The following day, the scientists traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress, their personal office staff, and congressional committee staff. Split into teams by state, the scientists participated in over 100 meetings. A primary goal of Climate Science Day was to introduce freshmen Members to the importance of climate science and allow them to meet researchers actively advancing our understanding of climate. Most importantly, the scientists offered their expertise as an ongoing resource to the legislators. Members of Congress and their staff were grateful that the scientists had taken time to come to Washington, DC, and expressed willingness to ask the scientists questions in the future.
Tor Tornqvist (Tulane University) and David Kronig
(American Institute of Physics) toast to a successful day.
These meetings between scientists and policymakers are vital for establishing productive ongoing relationships to inform policy and ensure that decisions are being made on sound science. As a link between scientists and policymakers, AGU encourages its members to participate in Congressional Visits Days (CVDs) and begin a relationship with your local Member of Congress.
AGU would like to thank its following members for participating in the first-ever Climate Science Day:
Andy Dessler, Texas A&M University
Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University
Matt Huber, Purdue University
Jean Lynch-Steiglitz, Georgia Tech
Roger Pulwarty, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Tor Tornqvist, Tulane University
Brad Udall, University of Colorado Boulder
Clark Weaver, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Josh Willis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Throughout the year, AGU scientists participate in several Congressional events, including exhibitions, briefings, and CVDs. The Science-Engineering-Technology CVD (SET-CVD) is on 6–7 April 2011. If you are interested in participating in any congressional events with AGU, please contact Kaitlin Chell at email@example.com.