Advocacy By The National Research Council

I  read in the September 27 2011 issue of EOS the article

Museum exhibit on climate change draws from National Research Council reports R. Showstack

The article starts with the text [highlight added]

With all of science to choose from for topics, the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has mounted its second exhibit about climate change since the museum’s founding, in 2004, emphasizing the importance it places on the subject. The new exhibit, “Earth Lab: Degrees of Change,” which officially opened in the museum’s compact quarters in downtown Washington, D. C., on 15 September, presents some in-depth interactive displays about climate change, including a centerpiece “decision table,” a mitigation simulation game that challenges visitors to lower carbon dioxide emissions while also balancing costs and other factors.

The exhibit is based in part on the America’s Climate Choices Reports from the National Research Council, which, along with NAS, is part of the National Academies. Those reports indicate that climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. Further, the reports include a series of recommended steps to respond to those risks (see R. Showstack, Climate change report calls for iterative risk management framework, Eos Trans. AGU, 92(21), 178–179, doi:10.1029/ 2011EO210002, 2011).

Peter Schultz, a principal with ICF International who assisted with the final review of the exhibit, told Eos that the National Academies wanted to find a way to communicate the messages that are in those reports. Pointing to some quotations from the reports that appear in the exhibit area, he said, “One of the most important quotes is that there is an urgent need for action. That was the first time the National Academies came out with those strong words to say that.”

Peter Schultz, formerly the  Director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program Office (USGCRP) now works for ICF International. The ICF International   climate focus is listed on their website as

Our climate specialists assist federal, regional, and international agencies with the development of climate change policy, including:

  • Modeling potential climate change impacts
  • Providing technical assistance for program implementation
  • Offering guidance on cap and trade programs, voluntary programs, and sector-based mechanisms

We help private-sector clients grasp the bottom-line aspects of reducing GHG emissions and complying with climate change regulations. Our comprehensive knowledge of the climate change policy landscape supports efforts to minimize costs and liabilities, maximize value, and make high-stakes investment decisions by:  

  • Modeling regulatory and policy scenarios for GHG and conventional pollutants
  • Providing guidance with existing and potential climate change regulations, laws, and standards
  • Analyzing climate change impacts on infrastructure, ecosystems, and communities
  • Tracking environmental performance, including energy use, costs, GHG, waste, and water
  • Evaluating options for participation in the GHG allowance and offset markets
  • Offering support in integrating economics, compliance, and other issues into climate change strategy
  • Aiding implementation of government compliance programs and voluntary initiatives

Information on the cost of this exhibit is given in the article as

The exhibit, which fills about 1500 square feet of the 5000-square-foot museum and cost $2 million to mount, will be on display for about 3–5 years, according to Erika Shugart, deputy director of the Koshland Museum. Shugart, who oversees the development of new exhibits, said about 25,000 people visit the museum annually but that exhibits reach a broader audience through a licensing program that allows for duplication of some of the information elsewhere.

The end of the article lists these sources for additional information

For more information, see http:// americasclimatechoices .org and http:// www.koshland -dc .org

The America’s Climate Choices website has this statement on the above url [the second url from the EOS article does not work]

The National Research Council released the final report in the America’s Climate Choices series on May 12, 2011. The public was invited to participate in a special event later that day — A Conversation on America’s Climate Choices, followed by a question-and-answer period and a reception.

Climate Central’s Heidi Cullen hosted the conversation with several members of the report’s authoring committee, including the Chair of the committee, Al Carnesale, University of California Los Angeles, and the Vice Chair, Bill Chameides, Duke University.

It is clear that the National Research Council has elected to be an advocate on a particular perspective with respect to climate, and the human role, rather than serving as a facilitator which permits the assessment of the diversity of scientifically supported viewpoints on this issue.

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