November 12, 2013

New Website Wants to Encourage Public Discussion of Climate Change by Scientists

Posted by Meg Gilley

What are your thoughts on the new Climate Change National Forum and Review (CCNFR)? According to the website’s founders, the forum offers one way for scientists, and eventually policy makers, to join the discussion on climate change. The organization’s founders, Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Dr. Barry Lefer, and Prof. Tracy Hester, developed CCNFR to educate the American public on the science of climate change and its policy implications.


CCNFR’s main vehicle for education is, a two year project comprised of a blog, fact checker, and forum website (currently online in beta form) for a volunteer community of climate and physical scientists. The website states that it is “a public forum wherein scientists can discuss the latest research on climate change, share and debate ideas on aspects of climate change especially relevant to policymaking, and collectively fact check claims about the science being made in the media.” The founders hope to continue the project to a second phase that would encourage subject matter and policy experts to join the forum to “compare and debate the benefits and costs of possible responses.”

CCNFR hopes to create a new way to explore climate change by increasing transparency and helping readers make their own conclusions based on evidence. Founder Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon believes that the “public can benefit tremendously from being able to see how scientists think and reason scientifically.” CCNFR welcomes scientists from a variety of backgrounds, including  those who know relatively little about climate science so that they can develop an understanding along with the public. Nielsen-Gammon suggests that “learning will come through the course of online debate and discussion with other scientists… [which] is often the absolute best way to come to grips with a contentious or controversial scientific issue.” is looking for AGU scientists interested in broadening their understanding of the climate debate who are willing to engage in discussions on the website. They request that participants contribute new essays once a month and engage in online discussions with other scientists. To learn more about CCNFR’s work, check out their website, Facebook and Twitter.

What’s your take on CCNFR’s approach to spreading knowledge about climate change? What are your experiences interacting with scientists, policy makers, and the public on climate change? Have you found the topic to be “contentious” or “controversial” in your discussions?


– Meg Gilley, AGU Public Affairs Intern