Michigan Workshop and ‘Town Hall’ Seeking to Boost Climate Understanding

U of Michigan/Union of Concerned Scientists to focus on social sciences and climate communications.

Nearly 100 invited experts from across the country will meet January 19-21 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for a series of moderated discussions. Their aim: learn from social sciences research and practice to improve public understanding of climate risks and choices.

A joint workshop of the University’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and the Union of Concerned Scientists, the program has an ambitious objective of building “a shared understanding of the key challenges constraining U.S. public understanding of climate risks and choices.” It seeks to use workshop deliberations “to engage in a vigorous public dialogue” on climate risks and choices, in part by learning from experiences with other issues, such as tobacco use and autism risks of vaccines.

Erb Institute Director Andre W. Hoffman and UCS Science and Policy Director Peter Frumhoff are to kick-off the initial session leading into a presentation of excerpts from the PBS documentary “Earth: The Operator’s Manual” presented by filmmaker Geoffrey Stiles-Haines.

A full second day of the workshop is to conclude with a 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. public town hall program at the university’s Ross School of Business, Blau Auditorium. That session, “Increasing Public Understanding of Climate Risks and Choices: What We Can Learn from Social Science Research and Practice,” is to be streamed live beginning at 6:30.

Official presenters at the town hall session are to include workshop participants Robert Inglis, former Republican congressman from South Carolina; Rev. Sally Bingham, president and founder of Interfaith Power and Light; and retired BP Chief Executive Officer Steven W. Percy.

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