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Climate Change Communication

What We Know Initiative
The What We Know website provides information on the reality, risks and responses to climate change.

The United States faces many challenges as a result of climate change and communities are considering a variety of ways to assess their risks, manage unavoidable impacts, and avoid unmanageable impacts. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has undertaken several efforts to support improved communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public about the realities of, risks from, and responses to climate change.

In 2018, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) launched How We Respond, a new communication initiative to highlight how communities are actively and effectively responding to climate change at the local, state and regional levels, and demonstrate the critical role of science and scientists in informing these activities.

The 2016-17 AAAS Leshner Leadership Fellows are researchers focused on engaging public audiences on climate change | AAAS

This effort builds most directly on prior AAAS climate change communication activities:

  • The What We Know initiative (2013-2015) convened leading climate change scientists and communication researchers and practitioners to develop the What We Know report, a multimedia website and a media outreach campaign focused on the realities, risks, and responses to climate change.
  • The inaugural cohort of AAAS Leshner Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement with Science (2016-2017) included researchers focused on engaging public audiences on climate change. The AAAS Center for Public Engagement commissioned a white paper on Strategic science communication on environmental issues by Matthew C. Nisbet and Ezra Markowitz to support this cohort. For more, visit our Center Research page.


In 2015, AAAS co-organized Climate Science, 50 Years Later: A Scientific Symposium Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the First Official Climate-Change Warning to a U.S. President. The symposium reviewed what scientific research had revealed over the preceeding 50 years and offered a forward-looking assessment of the range of scientific, technological, communication, and policy options for the future. Watch videos from the event and see the Twitter conversation using #Climate50.

AAAS is a non-partisan organization that frequently convenes leading scientific experts and has communicated about climate change for many years.