Advice to Scientists: More Effort on Communications Needed

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A Canadian professor says he hopes to soon see a time when climate science researchers and academics up their ante on communications … even if it must come at the expense of ongoing research.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA., DEC. 9, 2013 — Professor James Byrne of the University of Lethbridge has an idea for climate scientists: Try writing one fewer research papers per year and dedicate the resulting free time to honing climate communications skills.

Bryne passionately made the pitch at a mid-morning AGU communications session with an audience well-populated with climate communications types. But somewhat deficient in earth science representatives. (No, he did not delve deeply into the likely response that that communications time might come at the expense of some more well-funded efforts.)

Byrne had been a key organizer of an innovative AGU “Chapman Conference” in Colorado in 2013, and his presentation was aimed at providing insights on lessons learned from that multidisciplinary effort. He highlighted areas of progress and success coming out of that effort, pointing to the building of a long-term comity of common interests as a major accomplishment. He indicated that a series of papers from that Chapman meeting soon will be made available online.

Bud Ward

Bud Ward is editor of The Yale Forum (E-mail: bud@yaleclimatemediaforum.org).
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