CMI’s Integration effort includes participation in high-visibility national studies of climate change and energy technology strategy, and outreach to new audiences.
This group is responsible for CMI outreach, as well as the dissemination of CMI research results, particularly the concept of “stabilization wedges.” In the past year, CMI has partnered with the National Energy Education Development Project to bring the “stabilization wedges” concept to teachers.
Informing National Climate Policy
Co-Directors Pacala and Socolow are serving in high profile positions to inform national carbon policy. Pacala is chairing a National Academies committee, Methods for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which is examining strategies to monitor international commitments on climate change. Socolow is a member of two National Academies committees: America’s Energy Future: Technology Opportunities, Risks, and Tradeoffs (AEF), which is wrapping up, and America’s Climate Choices (ACC), which is just starting work. The AEF committee will soon complete a report to inform the new administration’s energy policy (Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was also a member of the committee). The ACC study is a comparably ambitious new two-year study, which will provide guidance about a year from now as the U.S. engages in negotiations to build a post-Kyoto framework.
The Stabilization Wedges Concept and Game
Roberta Hotinski, formerly the Information Officer for CMI, continues to work for the group as a consultant with primary responsibility for education and outreach based on the “stabilization wedges” concept, which remains enormously popular. She receives weekly requests from researchers, teachers, and non-profit groups seeking to use wedge-related materials, and the wedges website initiated last year (http://www.princeton.edu/wedges) has been viewed by 4000 unique visitors over the past year. Hotinski has continued facilitating wedges workshops around the country and helped CMI develop a new partnership to facilitate outreach to younger students.
Hotinski presented the wedges game in two major venues this year – the Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment at Florida Atlantic University and a congressional briefing sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. The Scripps Howard Institute is a weeklong continuing education program for environmental journalists, which in 2008 had global climate change as a theme. Following an overview of climate change issues by GFDL researcher Keith Dixon, Hotinski presented the stabilization wedges game to 21 journalists from around the country.
The Washington briefing was hosted by the Congressional Research and Development Caucus and sponsored by the AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Congress. Both cochairs of the caucus, U.S. Representatives Judy Biggert (Illinois) and Rush Holt (New Jersey), attended the event, which attracted 80 participants (Figure 22). The players were mainly congressional staff members, along with representatives of foreign embassies, energy-related companies, and nonprofit organizations. Hotinski presented the wedge concept and game, which was followed by a presentation on mitigation challenges from Jae Edmonds, chief scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute. Although most participants had heard of the wedges concept, many commented that they were glad to have first-hand experience with the game.
To meet increasing demand for wedge materials oriented toward younger players, CMI has partnered with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to develop a wedge-focused climate curriculum. The new curriculum, which includes activities for meeting lower CO2 targets and calculating “personal” wedges, will be used in the group’s teacher training this spring. NEED’s experience with training teachers (in 2006 and 2007 the group reached 47,000 classrooms) will greatly leverage CMI’s materials and make the group much more effective in serving the K-12 community.
Hotinski also continues to serve on advisory boards for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which is developing a kiosk featuring the wedges in its new geosciences exhibit, and for the Climate Solutions Project, a proposed large-scale exhibition, discussion forum, and festival centered around solving the carbon and climate problem that will travel around the U.S.
CMI staff are also involved with a new non-profit organization, called “Climate Central,” which has now opened an office in downtown Princeton. Steve Pacala, along with Jane Lubchenco, the newly appointed head of NOAA, were founding board members of the group, and CMI researchers Tom Kreutz and Eric Larson are now serving as staff experts. Climate Central uses such in-house experts and a blue-ribbon network of scientists to synthesize climate information and produce stories for print, broadcast, and the web that are relevant to the policy makers and the general public. As an auspicious start, one of the group’s programs “Montana: Trout and Drought,” appeared on “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” in October.