Climate Science Rapid Response Team! Assemble!


Photo: NASA Goddard Photo and Video, Flickr, CC

The scene is set in a dark, foreboding world. A full 50% of the incoming Congressmen have made public comments asserting that global warming is not caused by man -- if it's even happening at all. Large swaths of the public continue to believe that humans have nothing to do with climate change. News outlets parrot information from sources that deny climate science. All seems to be lost. But fear not. Enter the Climate Science Rapid Response Team.Recognizing that a lack of good, publicly available info on climate may be partly to blame for the public's acceptance of such misinformation, a number of climate scientists are aiming to keep the public abreast of the latest developments in climate science.

The group's first release explains who they are and what their mission is:

The CSRRT is a match-making service between top scientists and members of the media and office holders and their staffs from various levels of government. Our group consists of dozens of leading scientists who wish to improve communication about climate change. The group is committed to providing rapid, high-quality information to media and government officials. Our members have expertise in virtually all areas of climate science and they are available to share their current understanding in a fairly rapid time frame.
The CSRRT was organized by Dr. John Abraham, the scientist famous for penning the comprehensive take down of Lord Monckton's traveling climate denial talk. Perhaps that affair clued him into the widening knowledge gap between climate scientists and the public, and impressed upon him the need to get good information out there. Here's the rest of the mission statement:
HOW IT WORKS: Inquirers will use the form on the Website to identify themselves and to send their questions along with the desired timeframe of the response. That information will immediately be sent to three people: Dr. John Abraham, Dr. Ray Weymann, and Prof. Scott Mandia. These three "match-makers" will immediately notify up to three scientists with the most appropriate expertise. One scientist or one of the three CSRRT match-makers will then respond directly to the inquirer with the correct science information.

WHY WE DO IT: There is a sharp divide between what scientists know about climate change and what the public knows. The scientists of the CSRRT understand that better communication can narrow this gap. The media is in the best position to deliver accurate science information to the general public and to our elected leaders but only if they are provided with that information. The CSRRT is committed to delivering that service We are advocates for science education.

This sounds like a fantastic service, and we can only hope that major media outlets -- which have by and large been dropping the ball, big time, on climate change coverage -- will take advantage of the resource. It could especially be an invaluable service for fact-checking, and may help keep outlets from running untrue quotes or assertions about climate change made by politicians, pundits, or skeptics. Godspeed, Climate Science Rapid Response Team.

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