DC Briefing on Climate Perceptions, Science, & Policy

Readers in Washington, DC will find this event, open to the public, of strong interest:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the American Statistical Association (ASA), present:

Climate Policy: Public Perception, Science, and the Political Landscape
Friday, March 12, 2010
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902
United States Senate
Washington, DC

*To learn more about this event, please visit www.ametsoc.org/cb*

**This event is part of the AMS Climate Briefing Series, which is made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Paleoclimate Program**

Program Summary: This briefing will explore public perceptions of climate change, scientific understanding, and the current political landscape. Our goal is to identify areas where these three perspectives reinforce each other and where they diverge in order to: 1) better understand the challenges and opportunities policy-makers face, 2) identify remaining needs that, if met, could help society most effectively manage risks, and 3) explore opportunities to improve communication among policy-makers, scientists, and the public.


Norman J. Ornstein, Ph.D. Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D. Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Department of Geosciences and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Jon A. Krosnick, Ph.D. Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Communication, Stanford University


Paul Higgins, Ph.D. Senior Policy Fellow, American Meteorological Society


Norman Ornstein is a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He writes a weekly column for Roll Call and is an election analyst for CBS News. He serves as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and participates in AEI's Election Watch series. He also serves as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include The Permanent Campaign and Its Future (AEI Press, 2000); the coauthored The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford University Press, 2006); and, most recently, Vital Statistics on Congress 2008 (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), also coauthored.

Michael Oppenheimer is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is also the Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) at the Woodrow Wilson School. He joined the Princeton faculty in 2002 after more than two decades with the Environmental Defense Fund, a non-governmental environmental organization, where he served as chief scientist and manager of the Climate and Air Program. Oppenheimer is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, serving most recently as a lead author of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report and is now a coordinating lead author of an upcoming IPCC Special Report covering climate extremes and disasters. He serves on the US National Academies Board on Energy and Environmental Systems. He is also a science advisor to the Environmental Defense Fund. His interests include science and policy of the atmosphere, particularly climate change and its impacts. Much of his research aims to understand the potential for "dangerous" outcomes of increasing levels of greenhouse gases by exploring the effects of global warming on ecosystems such as coral reefs, on the ice sheets and sea level, and on patterns of human migration. Oppenheimer is the author of more than 100 articles published in professional journals and is co-author (with Robert H. Boyle) of a 1990 book, Dead Heat: The Race Against The Greenhouse Effect. He received his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Chicago.

Jon A. Krosnick is Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of communication, political science, and psychology at Stanford University.

A leading international authority on questionnaire design and survey research methods, Professor Krosnick has taught courses for professionals on survey methods for 25 years around the world and has served as a methodology consultant to government agencies, commercial firms, and academic scholars. His books include "Introduction to Survey Research, Polling, and Data Analysis" and "The Handbook of Questionnaire Design" (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), which reviews 100 years of research on how different ways of asking questions can yield different answers from survey respondents and on how to design questions to measure most accurately. His recent research has focused on how other aspects of survey methodology (e.g., collecting data by interviewing face-to-face vs. by telephone or on paper questionnaires) can be optimized to maximize accuracy.

Dr. Krosnick is also a world-recognized expert on the psychology of attitudes, especially in the area of politics. He is co-principal investigator of the American National Election Study, the nation's preeminent academic research project exploring voter decision-making and political campaign effects. For 30 years, Dr. Krosnick has studied how the American public's political attitudes are formed, change, and shape thinking and action. His publication explore the causes of people decisions about whether to vote, for whom to vote, whether to approve of the President's performance, whether to take action to influence government policy-making on a specific issue, and much more.

Dr. Krosnick's scholarship has been recognized with the Phillip Brickman Memorial Prize, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award, the Erik Erikson Early Career Award for Excellence and Creativity, a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and membership as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

As an expert witness in court, he has testified evaluating the quality of surveys presented as evidence by opposing counsel and has conducted original survey research to inform courts in cases involving unreimbursed expenses, uncompensated overtime work, exempt/non-exempt misclassification, patent/trademark violation, health effects of accidents, consequences of being misinformed about the results of standardized academic tests, economic valuation of environmental damage, change of venue motions, and other topics.

At Stanford, Dr. Krosnick directs the Political Psychology Research Group (PPRG). PPRG is a cross-disciplinary team of scholars who conduct empirical studies of the psychology of political behavior and studies seeking to optimize research methodology for studying political psychology. The group's studies employ a wide range of research methods, including surveys, experiments, and content analysis, and the group often conducts collaborative research studies with leading news media organizations, including ABC News, The Associated Press, the Washington Post, and Time Magazine. Support for the group's work has come from U.S. Government agencies (e.g., the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics), private foundations (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), and Institutes at Stanford (e.g., the Woods Institute for the Environment). Dr. Krosnick also directs the Summer Institute in Political Psychology, an annual event that brings 60 students and professions from around the world to Stanford for intensive training in political psychology theory and methods.

In his spare time, Dr. Krosnick plays drums with a contemporary jazz group called Charged Particles that has released two CD's internationally and tours across the U.S. and abroad (www.chargedparticles.com).


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Dr. Ornstein is an honorable fellow, but we remember that the AEI which he is affiliated with, is one of the organizations trying to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about global warming;e.g. by
...offering scientists and economists $10,000 each, "to undermine a major climate change report" from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). AEI asked for "articles that emphasise the shortcomings" of the IPCC report, which "is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science."
(I suspect he is AEI's token liberal-centrist).
But one should still listen to what he says, as normally it seems to be interesting.