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You Spoke, We Listened: WRI’s Climate Science Video Survey Wraps Up

In early May, we invited participants to vote for their favorite video method for communicating recent climate science findings. The survey is now complete. More than 1,500 votes were cast, and we are in the midst of analyzing the results.

We are grateful for the time so many of you took to help – it really shows the high degree of interest there is in communicating climate science. We want to thank Google.org, which provided financial support for the project, and to the many groups that helped raise awareness, including Real Climate and Climate-L. We pursued this pilot project to understand how climate science discoveries can be better conveyed to the public via video. This is important because the choices we make around climate change as individuals and as a society need to be grounded in the best available knowledge and understanding. Scientific knowledge, despite its significant advances, has not had enough impact in creating awareness to reduce emissions on a scale that is commensurate with the problem. While there are many reasons for this, communicating climate science in a more persuasive manner is clearly part of our challenge.

We want to thank the three scientists whom we worked with to produce these videos: Andy Dessler, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University; Brian Helmuth, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina; and Paul Higgins, Associate Director of the American Meteorological Society’s Policy Program. For each scientist, we developed a set of three videos: a webcam talk in which the scientist filmed his own video on his computer; a conversation comprised of a picture slideshow and a voiceover of the scientist; and, lastly, a whiteboard talk in which the scientist illustrated his findings on a whiteboard while he spoke.

Voters had strong preferences among the three video types and provided very helpful commentary about why they favor one method over another. We are learning so much from the feedback, which will inform any future phase of the project.

Stay tuned for a follow-up blog in which we will reveal the results!

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