A Historic Series Of Interviews At The AGU 2014 Fall MeetingBy Collin Maessen on comment
During the AGU Fall Meeting I had the honor of working with Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week and John Cook of Skeptical Science, interviewing an amazing line-up of scientists and science communicators. I’m floored by who we interviewed and could have a chat with. Everyone brought their A game which gave us some incredible footage (you can find all the videos in the AGU 2014 video archive, they’ll be added as they’re released).
A lot of this footage you’ll also see in the upcoming Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) from The University of Queensland. The Denial101x MOOC will launch in April 2015 on the EdX platform. Registration has opened so you can register for free.
John, Peter, and I managed to get some amazing scientists for this MOOC and our own productions:
Ritayan Mitra was the first scientist we interviewed, he has a background in geosciences (archeo- and rock-magnetism) and is also an education researcher. He’s interested in researching how people learn and how we can better teach science in the classroom. We interviewed him on this last subject and what it means in the context of communicating the science behind global warming.
Peter Sinclair is a long time advocate of environmental awareness and energy alternatives. He’s the most known in the public debate about global warming for of his Climate Crocks of the Week series, his Climate Crocks website, and the work he does for Yale Climate Connections. I interviewed him on his work and why he works so hard to communicate the science to the public.
Dana Nuccitelli is an environmental scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in Sacramento, California. He also is a blogger for both The Guardian and Skeptical Science. I interviewed him on his work as a scientist and his role as a science communicator. He had some great stories to share about these subjects.
Mark McCaffrey is the Programs and Policy Director at NCSE since 2012. Before he launched the NCSE’s climate change education initiative he developed climate change and energy literacy education programs at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He had some great insights into how science denial influences education and how you can counter misinformation education programs.
Ken Caldeira is a climate scientist working for the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. He researches a wide range of subjects that analyze the world’s climate systems. This ranges from the global carbon cycle to ocean acidification.
Lenny Pfister works for NASA at the Ames Research Center. He researches how water vapor behaves in the stratosphere. He had a lot of interesting insights to share with us about water vapor and how scientists use satellite data to understand our planet’s climate.
John Cook is the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. He also runs skepticalscience.com, a website that makes climate science accessible to the public and debunks climate myths. He had some good insights and stories to share on the research he has done and his role as a science communicator.
Dr. Mashey has worked with a variety of scientists, many of whom have used software or hardware he helped create. For the last couple of years he’s been studying climate science denial and energy issues. For several years he has written the occasional investigative reports, mostly at DeSmogBlog, on these topics.
Ben Marzeion works at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and he studies glaciers and their responses to climate change. He provided great insights into how glaciers responded in the past to changes in climate and what is driving current changes.
Simon Donner is an Associate Professor of Climatology at the University of British Columbia. He studies how ecosystems like coral reefs respond to climate changes. The group he works with gives insight into the causes and effects of climate change, public perception, policy options, and what adaptation options we have.
Michael Ranney researches how to best convey and explain scientific subjects. In formal domains like education, and informal domains like a chat in a bar over a beer. He told a lot of interesting findings about how you can communicate science and how educating people helps with countering misinformation from spreading. One of his latest projects that gave interesting results in that area is his project How Global Warming Works.
Dr. Mauri Pelto is one of the most respected glacier researchers on the planet and founder of the North Cascades Glacier Climate Project. Extremely knowledgeable and well spoken giving us a lot of great material.
William F. Ruddiman is a palaeoclimatologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia. His research focusses on past climates as far back as several millions years to as recent as a couple of thousands of years ago. He had a lot of insights into past climates and when our influences started to have an impact on the climate.
Richard Muller is Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley and created the Berkeley Earth temperature dataset. I interviewed Muller on his work and statements he made about current climate research. Certainly one of the more interesting interviews we had during the AGU Fall Meeting.
Dr. Kevin Trenberth played a crucial role in updating our understanding of global atmospheric dynamics. Dr. Trenberth was one of the scientists attacked in the original “climate gate” non-scandal, created when hackers stole emails from the University of East Anglia in 2009. Peter Sinclair covered this kerfuffle in a series of videos that put the distortions, from out-of-context quotes from these emails, to rest.
Larry Hamilton is a Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow of the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. He studies environmental sociology and conducts a lot of public opinion surveys on science en environmental perceptions among the public. He provided great information and details on why people reject scientific findings and what feeds this.
Richard Alley is a geologist and Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University. He mostly studies how large ice sheets behave and how they respond to climate change. He was in top form during his interview and as usual he enthusiastically talked about his work.
Khaki Rodway is Director of Payload Sales and Operations at XCOR Aerospace. She talked extensively about the technologies XCOR is developing and what their space flight capabilities are.
Dr. Eric Rignot is a glaciologist, highly esteemed in his community, working for NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.
His study last spring stunned the world with the confirmation that huge sections of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are now committed to collapsing into the sea, the only question being, how long it will take.
Ben Santer gave a powerful interview describing his journey as one of the most knowledgeable atmospheric scientists in the world, since his work was dishonestly attacked some 20 years ago. Few other scientists have taken as much abuse from the climate science deniers and the merchants of doubt as Dr. Santer. Through the years he’s been vindicated every time and comes out stronger each time.
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist in the School of Psychology and a member of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol in the UK. He researches a number of issues on the mental processes behind scepticism and denial.
Eugenie Scott has until recently chaired the National Center for Science Education, an organization that thwarts religious fundamentalists who believe children should be taught that the earth is 6000 years old, and that there is no such thing as human caused climate change. One of my heroes from my days spent in the scientific scepticism community.
Thompson floored us with the stories he had to share about his work and his life. In his 70s, with a new heart transplant, Dr. Thompson has just returned from his 58th(!) trip to New Guinea glaciers. Where he was working at high altitudes with his team, gathering records from rapidly vanishing tropical glaciers that will soon be gone. The only records we will ever have.
Dr. Thompson described the urgency of the problem, as tropical glaciers disappear, of maintaining water supplies to populations that have depended on them for millennia.
Isabella Velicogna is an associate professor at University of California, Irvine. She uses satellite data to study the total mass of the ice sheets. She provided a lot of insight into how satellites are used to measure ice sheets.
Courtney St. John
Courtney St. John is the Associate Director of Outreach at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University. She oversees outreach to audiences that include the scientific community, educators, policymakers, businesses, and other organizations.
Katharine has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for her outreach as a scientist to her fellow Christian evangelicals. She uses her religion to great effect to communicate science to the public and because of this is one of my heroes. It’s not an easy job communicating science to communities that have heard nothing else than the message that they can’t be good Christians if they accept science behind subjects like global warming.
Scott Denning is a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University. He researches atmosphere-biosphere interactions and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. He’s also known for his forays into denier conferences to defend accepted climate science, he had some very interesting stories to tell about this.
Rachael Shwom is assistant professor in the Human Ecology department who specializes in climate and society. Very knowledgeable about how to effectively teach science in classrooms and giving teachers the tools to do this.
Naomi Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Most people know her from the book Merchants of Doubt that she co-authered with Erik Conway and was the inspiration for the film Merchants of Doubt. She shared a lot about the tactics used to cast doubt on the science behind global warming.
Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, he is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC). Most known for his research known as the hockey stick, the results it showed made him a target for science deniers.
Peter Doran, Ph.D. is Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focusses on the polar regions and he specializes in Antarctic climate and ecosystems. Though in the public climate debate he’s most known for his 2009 consensus study.
Josh Rosenau is an evolutionary biologist and Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Through his work he’s very familiar with the tactics used by creationists who try to get evolution out of the science classroom. He talked about this and how their tactics compare to those used by climate science deniers.
Dr Fitzpatrick completed her Ph.D. in geophysics at the University of Washington in Seattle, she researched the interaction between sea ice, clouds, and climate. She works as a climate scientist with the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Part of her work is climate research, the local and global consequences of climate change, and communicating scientific findings to policy makers, media, and the public.
The coming months I’m going through all these interviews. It will take some time to edit it all together just due to the sheer amount of footage that there is (1.3TB worth of video). But it should result in a lot of new videos tackling different science related subjects.
I look forward to seeing all of these interviews. Great work!
On a point of nit-picky detail, I don’t think Lonnie Thompson could have sampled ice at 20,000 feet in New Guinea, since the highest point on the island is only just over 16,000 feet.
Got some figures mixed up in my head. He also talked about building equipment for drilling into ice sheets at altitudes of 20,000 feet. I’m scanning the interview at the moment but haven’t found the reference to this latest trip yet. So I’m going to remove the elevation mention for now from the article.
Thanks Collin for sharing your AGU experience. I can’t wait to see the videos.
If everything goes as planned the teaser video should be up this Monday. With the first interview video the Monday after that. No promises though. 😉