Earlier this year, the Center for Science and Democracy published a report on media policies at 17 federal agencies. More than four years after the Obama administration had issued a directive ordering reform of federal scientific integrity policies—including those governing media access—we found evidence that public communications are too often censored, constrained, or funneled through agency media offices. Read More
Access Denied? A Survey of Science Writers Sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Union of Concerned Scientists
April 9th, 2015
April 7th, 2015
Scientists and climate policy wonks usually say global warming is caused by “human activities.” This shorthand obscures an important point: while we humans are certainly responsible for climate change on some level, just a few of us – particularly in industry and government – are a lot more responsible than the rest of us.
After all, I like humans. I like activities, too. And it’s industry practices and government policies that largely determine how much heat-trapping emissions our human activities produce. Read More
April 2nd, 2015
There are hundreds of thousands of scientists in the United States. Add the engineers, medical doctors, economists, public health professionals, and others and we’re talking millions. Millions of experts who could use their knowledge and training to help make sure that public policies are informed by science. And yet, many people think they don’t know a single scientist. So how do we bridge that gap? Read More
March 31st, 2015
At UCS when we are thinking about the best way to communicate new scientific results, my colleague Aaron Huertas often asks me, “How do the results make you feel?” As he wrote, the exercise can be helpful in bringing scientific findings back to human emotions and why the results might matter to others. A new campaign called More Than Scientists seeks to enact this effect on a broader scale and I was happy to take part in it. Read More
March 31st, 2015
British scientists are pushing back strongly against a move by the UK government to control how government scientists communicate their research with the public. This is a very troubling development that is bad for science and bad for the public interest. The news was reported on Friday in the Guardian and Science. Read More
March 19th, 2015
The spring equinox is a fine time to celebrate the sun. And, for the solar power lovers among us, it’s a great time to take stock of how much sun is available for rooftop solar across the country.
When we do, we find that, over the course of the year, the sun for solar power generation is actually much more evenly distributed than sunny-Southwest-postcards-vs.-Northern-snow-scenes would suggest. It’s also more evenly spread than typical solar maps would lead you to believe. Here’s a better way to see how much you’ve got. Read More
March 11th, 2015
A few years ago, my colleagues and I worked with Andrew Hoffman, the director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, to host a forum on increasing public understanding of climate change. The event sticks with me because the participants came from so many different backgrounds: environmental justice, Creation care, energy production, social science, media, climate science, and service in Congress.
Hoffman has condensed the myriad approaches to climate communication we discussed that day — and much more — into an indispensable guide. At a slim 100 pages, Hoffman’s book offers a fine distillation of the growing body of social science that explains our curious and conflicting approaches to climate issues. In addition to identifying the problematic ways we often approach climate change, he also suggests several potential ways forward that can restore the climate debate to what he calls a “more civilized plane.” Read More