Queen's University

Professor looks to promote climate change awareness one question at a time

 
2010-12-07

About 700 scientists around the world have signed up to an email service to provide scientific answers to journalists’ climate change questions. The scientists hope to get the message out that climate change is real and that governments need to be doing more.

“We finally have a group of scientists trying to make the message clear about climate change,” says Queen’s University geography professor Harry McCaughey. “It’s a truly dangerous situation and there is so little happening at the government policy level. That’s very disturbing.”

Dr. McCaughey sits on the American Geophysical Union Publicity Committee that is spearheading the service.

The media always seek both sides to every story – which can be frustrating for scientists like Dr. McCaughey because their research has found overwhelming evidence of climate change.

“About 98 per cent of scientists say climate change is real and two per cent say it isn’t, yet the two per cent is always part of the conversation. That’s the nature of media reporting,” says Dr. McCaughey, who is also a member of the Queen's Sustainability Advisory Committee.

He feels scientists need to be doing a better job communicating the climate-change message because it is being drowned out by the climate change deniers, who have been bolstered by the recent “Climategate” e-mail scandal and the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference.

The Q&A service is designed as a fact checking service to answer reporters’ questions, not re-write their stories.

Climate scientists have volunteered to respond to questions via a shared email in-box. Teams of up to10 scientists at a time sign up for shifts from Monday to Friday (11 am to 7 pm).

Communication professionals and journalists with climate change questions can send an email to questions@agu.emailcenterpro.com.

 

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