“Climate Change: From Science to Policy” – webcast videos from the 2011 Stephen H. Schneider Symposium

Stephen Schneider

Archived webcast videos from the 3-day 2011 Stephen H. Schneider Symposium, “Climate Change: From Science to Policy,” held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, August 24-27, 2011, have been posted online. The 15 Symposium sessions reflected the extraordinary scope of Steve Schneider’s contributions to climate science, scientific assessments, and communication with policymakers and the public.

The Stephen Schneider website (or www.climatechange.net), is featuring the complete set of webcast videos for each day of the Symposium as they were recorded by the NCAR staff. Click on the Symposium link on the home page to access the videos and a wealth of information about the Symposium.

Agenda for the Symposium

The complete set of Webcast Videos includes:

  • Introduction to the Symposium presentations by Terry Root, Linda Mearns, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele and Ben Santer
  • Each speaker’s presentation and simulcast slide set
  • Question and answer open discussion and wrap-up talks held after each session
  • Presentation by IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri
  • Presentation to Richard Alley of the first annual Stephen H. Schneider Award For Outstanding Climate Science Communication
  • Videos from the Symposium dinner and after-dinner remembrances

The 15 Symposium sessions, organized to reflect the range of Schneider’s scientific interests and influence, began with a focus on the physical climate system, included sessions on impacts of climate change on ecosystems, climate change economics, social science issues, and training the next generation of scientists, and finally a set of sessions relevant to science communication, climate change assessments, and the relationship between science and policymaking. Sessions included:

1. Aerosol effects on climate

2. Cloud effects on climate

3. The role of the ocean in climate change

4. Understanding uncertainties in estimates of future climate change

5. Impacts of climate change on ecosystems

6. Integrated assessment modeling

7. Paleoclimatology

8. The economics of climate change

9. Role of the social sciences in climate change research

10. Decision-making in the face of scientific uncertainty

11. Strategies for improving climate science communication

12. Training the next generation of climate scientists

13. A brief history of the journal Climatic Change

14. Steve Schneider’s contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

15. The challenge of climate change mitigation and adaptation: How do we translate sound climate science into sound policies?

There were numerous excellent presentations. Readers attuned to Climate Science Watch’s concern with the collision between climate science and the realities of US politics, and the efforts by climate scientists to navigate that terrain, may find sessions 11, 14, and 15 to be particularly interesting.

CSW director Rick Piltz moderated the closing session on translating climate science into policymaking. The session included presentations by:

  • Ana Unruh-Cohen, deputy director of Democratic staff on the House Committee on Natural Resources (“Political Calculus: The role of science in energy and climate policy”);
  • Joe Romm, editor of Climate Progress (“Global Warming: Now it’s personal”);
  • Jay Gulledge, senior scientist and program director at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change (“National Security and Climate Change”); and,
  • in a nowadays-rare appearance on this side of the Atlantic, former IPCC chairman Robert Watson, currently wearing the hats of chief scientist and senior adviser at the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and strategic director at the Tyndall Center, University of East Anglia (“Translating Sound Science into Sound Policy”).

Bob Watson (Photo: DEFRA)








An open Q&A panel discussion followed these presentations. Videos of speakers and the Q&A are posted (see here).

Susan Solomon, atmospheric chemist at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and co-chair of the IPCC Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, moderated the session on Steve Schneider’s contributions to the IPCC. Speakers included:

Panelists for the session on Schneider's contributions to the IPCC and prospects for its future, from left: Chris Field (Carnegie Institution for Science), Michael Oppenheimer (Princeton University), and Ben Santer (Lawrence Livermore National Lab). (Photo: Toni Rosati, NCAR.)

  • Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University, co-convening lead author for Chapter 19 — Emergent Risks and Key Vulnerabilities, of the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC Working Group II on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (“Steve Schneider’s Contribution to AR4: Evaluating risk under unprecedented uncertainty”);
  • Chris Field of Stanford University and the Carnegic Institution for Science, co-chair for the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC Working Group II on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (“Where Next With the IPCC?”); and
  • Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, convening lead author of Chapter 8 – Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes, of the IPCC Working Group I Second Assessment Report, Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change (“Steve Schneider and the Genesis of the ‘Balance of Evidence’ Statement”).

An open Q&A panel discussion followed these presentations. Videos of speakers and the Q&A are posted (see here).

On the Schneider Symposium, also see:

“Carrying the torch” (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, UCAR Magazine, October 23, 2011). This online article includes, among others, an interesting interview with Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego, on “Why are climate scientists so conservative?”

A few earlier CSW posts:

Richard Alley to receive first annual Stephen Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication

Stephen Schneider and the millennial generation

Interview with Stephen Schneider on climate science expert credibility study

New study finds striking level of agreement among climate experts on anthropogenic climate change





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