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BOULDER – To help foster informed, non-political dialogue about climate science, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the United Nations Foundation have assembled a network of experts who are available as expert resources in communities across the country.
The initiative, known as Climate Voices – Science Speakers Network, will bring together scientists with members of local communities to discuss climate science and regional effects of climate change. Volunteer scientists and other climate experts have been recruited from all 50 states.
A new website, climatevoices.org, enables residents and community leaders to find climate experts from their region of the country. The website contains a growing database of more than 160 volunteer experts that is searchable by geographic location, expertise, and languages spoken. Through climatevoices.org, people searching for climate experts can be connected directly to a Climate Voices participant in their area, and additional scientists and climate communications experts can join the network.
“Climate Voices enables experts and fellow citizens to come together to talk about the science, understand the complexities of climate change, and discuss choices regarding the health and future of Earth’s climate as it affects their own communities,” said Cindy Schmidt, UCAR Advisor for Climate Outreach.
Climate Voices provides coaching to help experts communicate clearly to non-technical audiences. It also makes available resource materials that provide a framework for community climate discussion.
The initiative comes as new reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change detail the potential impacts of a changing climate on specific regions and communities.
“Climate change is a topic that must be at the top of the global agenda,” said Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the U.N. Foundation. “We know that 2014 is a year of opportunity and progress when it comes to climate change. By bringing expert voices to the forefront, Climate Voices will ensure that science is at the heart of the worldwide discussion this year about what can and should be done to confront this issue.”
Scientists and other climate experts are available to discuss the topic of climate change through local groups such as chambers of commerce, service organizations, faith-based institutions, libraries, university and college alumni associations, community colleges, schools, media organizations, community clubs, and others.
Climate Voices is not a political advocacy program. Instead, it fosters the involvement of scientists who have important information to share and serves a critical civic need. Its launch comes at a time when approximately two-thirds of Americans surveyed by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication responded that they would like more information about climate change.
“Through climatevoices.org, citizens across the country are invited to take advantage of this new resource addressing a most important topic of our time,” Schmidt said.
In addition to UCAR and the U.N. Foundation, sponsors of Climate Voices include the Reinsurance Association of America, the American Geophysical Union, Vermilion Design + Interactive, Harris Corporation, AccuWeather, Cray Inc., and Lynker Technologies.
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.