I don’t write about climate science myself,* I’m not a climate scientist. Communicating science I do write about. This ten-minute video presents a series of short takes (longer than sound bites, despite my title!) from a panel of speakers on communicating climate change science:

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You will note much of their concern is not with ’presenting the facts’ but how to ’connect’ with their readership or audience. This is not the viewpoint of science or most scientists, who want to focus on the science itself. I personally feel there is a need for more than just this approach,** but having said that presenting only ’facts’ will likely limit your audience to those that already have sufficient interest to put some effort in.***

There is a large number of videos on YouTube presenting concerns about climate change science, such as the one below from the Climate Change Media Partnership, who promote efforts to communicate this in the ’developing world.’ It’s an interesting initiative and worth seeing for a different aspect on this that we rarely think about in a Western nation:

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It reminds me, too, of a recent remark I saw on twitter that sponsorship of science communication by NGOs and the like may be a pattern of the future. Those that wish to get the message out for what they support will look to science communicators to assist them. (This does, of course, also raise ethical issues.)


* I would if I had time to explore it to a level I feel comfortable presenting the science.

** I’m wary when people suggest only one solution to these sorts of things, as different people have different needs. Different people respond to different approaches. The same goes for approaches to debating science on the ’web. To address some people’s concerns may require dealing with the political or ideological motivations underlying their viewpoint in ways that presenting ’only the science’ will not (easily) address or reveal to them. Conversely, there is a place for explaining the science itself too. Doing this in some depth is not ’wrong’. (An impression some viewers might get watching this video?)

*** A solution, of course, is to try ’fool’ people into getting (some of) the ’facts’ while reading something that interests them; when I write presenting only the facts, here I meant literally that, an article only about the science.

Other articles on Code for life:

Royal Society publishing free to read, 1665 — today (All RS publications free for a month)

Institutional blogs added to scienceblogs

Science communication shorts

Post-embargo publication delays: be gone (I’ve run into this again recently. Sigh.)

What is your relationship with your research notebook?