The What We Know initiative supports improved climate change communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Public Engagement convened a panel of experts to develop and disseminate a report on the realities, risks, and responses to climate change.
The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization that climate change puts the well-being of people of all nations at risk.
The What We Know initiative addresses the fact that many Americans still erroneously believe that the scientific community is divided on the issue and that Americans are largely unaware of the full spectrum of climate risks – both what is likely to happen and what might happen — that human-caused climate change presents to Americans now and in the future.
The initiative is dedicated to ensuring that three “R’s” of climate change are communicated to the public:
- Reality — about 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
- Risk — that the reality of climate change means that there are climate change impacts we can expect, but we also must consider what might happen, especially the small, but real, chance that we may face abrupt changes with massively disruptive impacts.
- Response — that there is much we can do and that the sooner we respond, the better off we will be.
New in 2018: AAAS is planning a new communication initiative, How We Respond, that will 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.
For more, visit the What We Know website.