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UK’s Science Media Centre at a pre-COP Conference on climate change science communication

On 24 October an international conference on Knowledge of climate change – how to talk with the public took place in Warsaw.

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Tom Sheldon (SMC)

The aim was to follow up on the publication of the IPCC V Assessment Report in September 2013 and precede the 19th Conference of the Parties that will take place to take place on 11-22 November 2013 in Warsaw.

The conference was organised by the Institute of Sustainable Development (a leading low carbon think-tank in Poland), the Polish Academy of Science (PAN), the Polish Climate Coalition, (German) Böll Institute and the European Climate Foundation. British Embassy Warsaw invited Tom Sheldon, Senior Press Officer at the Science Media Centre (SMC). Over 200 people participated in the event.

First key note speech was delivered by Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who presented scientific evidence supporting global climate change. Tom Sheldon shared SMC’s best practice on working with scientist and journalists when the climate change stories are in news headlines. The presentations were followed by a lively discussion on how to communicate findings of scientific research on climate change to the public and what the IPCC V Assessment Report means for Poland. The panellists included: Beata Jaczewska, Deputy Environment Minister, Prof. Michał Kleiber, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Jacek Żakowski, journalist of Polityka weekly and Prof. Zbigniew Kundzewicz, expert on IPCC.

The Science Media Centre is an independent press office for the UK scientific community. It helps ensure that science and engineering in the UK national news is reported accurately and responsibly, particularly when a story has the potential for controversy. They provide journalists with an opportunity to speak to real experts, and actively encourage scientists to speak out when stories break. They also run regular press briefings, allowing scientists to set the news agenda on important subjects of public interest. Although independent, the SMC is unashamedly pro-science and has no public ‘brand’ to promote. This gives them the freedom to concentrate on what is important: keeping sound, evidence-based science at the top of the news agenda.

Published 28 October 2013