American Geophysical Union Chapman Conference

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: American Geophysical Union Chapman Conference
Communicating Climate Science: A Historic Look to the Future
June 8-13, 2013, Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby, CO, USA


The AGU Chapman Conference (AGUCC) will focus on communication about climate science to all sectors of society.  The Climate Change Community must move forward on multiple pathways to convey climate change research, mitigation and adaptation plans and policies and technologies to policy makers, planners, and society at all levels.  As climate science has developed over time, there has been a significant shift in relations between the science and political aspects thereof; where previously the development of the science was exclusively prioritized, now the focus lies in communicating the science to society. It is imperative that we determine an appropriate balance between these two elements, ensuring that neither is too shallow or deep.

Broader impact: The AGUCC plans to invite key speakers and discussion leaders from major climate and social science groups, journalists, communicators, policymakers, and representatives of public opinion. The conference will begin with a historical perspective on how climate science was communicated in the past and transition to a discussion about how more effective communication strategies may be developed in the future. The conference will also consider the importance of more coherent, uniform and consistent messaging by scientific societies and agencies in delivering knowledge about climate change.


Immediate Outcomes:  (1) Participants will be encouraged to submit short discussion papers to a refereed proceedings volume and/or a special section of a scientific journal.  (2) We are planning a textbook in which the main results of the AGUCC will be presented, and (3) a documentary film and education website will be produced based on interviews with conference participants, including a section conveying the conference findings (see further discussion below).


The conference is being held in honor of the contributions of prominent climate scientists Bert Bolin and Stephen Schneider.

Content of the Education documentary and website: The presentations will feature four levels of discussion summarizing results from the AGUCC about:  (i)  the state of knowledge about climate change, impacts, mitigation and adaptation globally. (ii)  key regional issues within North America (iii)  international locales where climate change is creating immediate critical challenges and risks; (iv) solutions to our climate change challenges.  This work is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council Canada under the leadership of James Byrne, a co-convener of the meeting.  The goal the documentary project  is to communicate climate change science and solutions from the research community to society.


Overall Objectives

1.     Review and analyze historical and current communication ways and means for climate science;

2.     Identify education resources and capacity currently available and gaps in the resources and capacity that must be addressed;

3.     Identify the communications and education bottlenecks preventing actions on GHG emission reductions and the transition to a sustainable energy future;

4.     Identify multiple communication strategies for conveying climate science, and mitigation and adaptation programs, polices and technologies to policy makers and governments at all levels;

5.     Explore strategies for promoting the use of accurate and engaging educational materials in classrooms, and for public and community outreach;

6.     Identify and reach out to wide-ranging distribution networks for getting education materials to many levels of society in North America;

7.     Identify resource needs and sources for addressing climate science communication and education;

8.     Identify current and required resources and capacity for addressing critical needs in science, mitigation and adaptation.


The Climate Change Community must identify ways and means to better communicate policies, programs and practices for widespread action on climate change communication, and pathways leading to national and global actions on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The AGUCC will prepare a summary document for release soon after the meeting.  The document will describe conference outcomes, and will be distributed to any and all stakeholders and interested parties.


The abstract submission deadline is February 5, 2013.  To submit an abstract and/or register please visit the conference website:

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