Category: News

SEJ Workshop: Combating Climate and Science Disinformation

Originally published by Lindsay Bowen for SEJ on April 14, 2024.

Michael Mann, author of “The New Climate War” and one of the climate scientists at the center of the trumped-up “ClimateGate” scandal, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, author of “Cyberwar,” “Creating Conspiracy Beliefs,” “Democracy Amid Crisis” and numerous other books, at a disinformation workshop lunchtime discussion. Photo: © Dale Willman.

More than 100 journalists, students and others gathered for a day-long workshop on “Combating Climate and Science and Disinformation,” on April 3, at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference.

Amy Westervelt, founder and executive editor of Drilled Media, an investigative reporting project on climate, moderated the initial panel, during which four media professionals from various organizations discussed the origins of climate disinformation. Speakers agreed that much of modern climate denial is rooted in disinformation spread by the fossil fuel industry.

In addition, Melissa Aronczyk, public relations professional and professor of media studies at Rutgers University, described the revolving door of personnel between public relations, government and environmental groups, and said that as a result, much of the same messaging can be found in each, ultimately influencing the way Americans think about environmental politics.

“That set of connections that the individual or group of individuals is creating is also really key to understanding how the PR infrastructure is so embedded into our way of thinking,” she added.

Big oil companies like ExxonMobil, for instance,  achieved this impact through “advertorials,” or ads disguised as editorials. Geoffrey Supran, professor of environmental science and policy at the University of Miami, also explained how Exxon contributed quietly to the science of climate change, while at the same time promoting doubt about that same science.

A second panel of media experts also discussed philosophical approaches to reporting on climate change. Phil Newell, associate director of science defense at the nonprofit climate news service, Climate Nexus, explained how to use the “truth sandwich” story structure to debunk climate deniers: fact, myth, fallacy, fact.

Newell added that a reporter does not have to be a scientist to rebut climate change disinformation. “You don’t accidentally cherry-pick three years out of a 20- or 30-year trend, it’s always intentional,” Newell said. “I’m not a math guy. I spent 10 years debunking people, it was never about the numbers. It’s always about the logic, it’s always about, is that a real expert or is that somebody who is paid to lie to you.”

Influential climate experts Michael Mann and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, professors and directors of science-related centers at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed climate research, the state of science communication and its effects on climate progress, during a lunchtime session on the intersection between disinformation research and climate science.

The workshop closed with a lightning round of journalists sharing their high-impact investigative pieces.

Lindsay Bowen is a student at Temple University and a member of the inaugural SEJ student newsroom.

Penn hosts five-day conference for environmental journalists on climate change, disinformation

By Gabriel Huang for The Daily Pennsylvanian originally published on April 8, 2024

The Society of Environmental Journalists held its annual conference at Penn from April 3-7, drawing hundreds of reporters to campus to explore climate stories and learn how to combat disinformation.

The five-day conference was hosted by Penn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center and Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media. The theme of this year’s conference was “Democracy, Disinformation, Activism – What’s Environmental Journalism’s Role?”

This year marked the 33rd conference organized by SEJ, a North American organization founded in 1990 for journalists who cover environmental issues. At the conference, participants were able to hear from distinguished speakers, attend seminars and workshops, and go on local bus tours in Philadelphia. Notable speakers this year included United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, as well as Penn professors Michael Mann and Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

Mann is the Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science and director of the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media. In a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, he discussed the importance of scientific communicators and journalists in combatting disinformation in everything from public health to climate change.

“Science is at the core of the great existential challenges we face today, and ideologically-motivated antiscience and disinformation has constituted a major threat to our efforts to confront these challenges,” Mann said.

Mann wrote that Penn was particularly well-suited to host this conference because of its strengths in communication.

“The threat of misinformation and disinformation to effective environmental communication is the key theme at this year’s SEJ, and Penn is a leader in understanding how to combat misinformation and disinformation,” Mann said.

Mann and Jamieson — who is the director of APPC — were featured panelists in a lunchtime session titled “The Intersection Between Disinformation Research and Climate Science.” In the conversation, Mann and Jamieson discussed Mann’s recent victory in a $1 defamation million suit against bloggers Rand Simberg and Mark Steyn. The case argued that the bloggers defamed Mann in a series of blog posts discrediting his climate change research in 2012.

“It’s a more common move now to discredit the person than to discredit the argument, and that’s the move that was made against Mike, to discredit the person on grounds that had nothing to do with the science to discredit the science,” Jamieson said.

Mann expressed hope that the ruling would encourage other scientists to speak out.

“There are basic protections out there, and I hope that my fellow scientists who are afraid to speak truth to power are more willing to do that now,” Mann said.

Participants were also able to take bus tours to engage in environmental journalism in the Philadelphia area — an aspect that Jamieson believes made Penn particularly attractive to the SEJ conference.

“Any large major metropolitan area is concerned about issues such as flooding and extreme weather that are increasingly likely,” Jamieson said. “As a result, being in a major metropolitan area lets a journalist feature the ways in which extreme weather is affecting that kind of a built environment.”

She added that East Coast cities with major fossil fuel production, including Philadelphia, face the additional concern of rising sea levels that disproportionately affect individuals who are already “disadvantaged by society.”

The conference featured several others Penn community members. Emily Falk, vice dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and professor of communication, psychology, and marketing, led a workshop on using psychological research and technology to cover environmental narratives.

Penn students also had the opportunity to participate in the conference. Currently, Mann and Jamieson co-teach an undergraduate and graduate level course called COMM 4330: “Climate Change and Communication: Theories and Applications.” As part of SEJ, students presented white papers on leading climate myths and conspiracies and conducted interviews with environmental journalists. They were able to interact with both speakers and participants at the conference.

“It was so awesome to be in a space with all these people who are so passionate about climate change and communication,” College junior Bronwyn Patterson, a student in the class, said.

Michael Muldoon, a second year in the Master of Environmental Studies program, said that while he does not want to pursue a career as a reporter, the conference gave him a different perspective on journalism.

“It was just a great experience in demystifying journalism, and not treating journalists like they’re some sort of alien species,” Muldoon said.

Psychologist and Neuroscientist Emily Falk to Lead APPC’s New Climate Communication Division

Originally published on April 2, 2024 by Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Climate Communication

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) has opened a new area of research, the Climate Communication division, led by Annenberg School for Communication vice dean Emily Falk.

“This moves the policy center into an important new area in which communication plays a critical role,” said APPC director Katheen Hall Jamieson.

Emily Falk
Emily Falk

The new climate division joins APPC’s Communication Science and Institutions of Democracy divisions, which are headed, respectively, by Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Dolores Albarracín and political science professor Matt Levendusky.

Falk, a professor of communication, psychology, marketing, and operations, information and decision at the Annenberg School, directs Penn’s Communication Neuroscience Lab and studies the science of behavior change, using tools from psychology, neuroscience, and communication to explore the characteristics of persuasive messaging, and successful communication more broadly. She has been recognized as an outstanding early-career researcher by the International Communication Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the National Institutes of Health, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The Climate Communication division is envisioned as a hub for interdisciplinary, translational research on climate communication and the neural, psychological, and sociological mechanisms that motivate climate action. Its work will focus both on topics at both local scales (for instance, environmental justice initiatives in West Philadelphia) and global scales (such as the development and evaluation of media campaigns that communicate climate science knowledge).

“We’re hoping to bring together people from across Penn, the local community, nationally and internationally to create cutting-edge science about climate communication,” Falk said. She added that two areas were of special interest.

“One is focusing on the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors relevant to climate in areas such as transportation, food, and energy,” she said. “The second is resilience and social connection. We’re particularly interested in working with young people to create the tools and psychological resources they need to innovate and develop new ways of thinking about climate and address the challenges we face as a global community.”

Falk said the division would collaborate closely with other research centers at Penn, including the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media, under the leadership of Michael Mann, and her own Communication Neuroscience Lab.

Hundreds of environmental journalists are coming to Philly to learn how to do their jobs better

By Sophia Schmidt for WHYY – originally published April 2, 2024.

Hundreds of journalists covering climate change and the environment will converge in Philadelphia this week for the annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference.

Now in its 33rd year, the conference will focus on journalism’s role in democracy, disinformation and activism.

“It’s a hot topic these days,” said Annie Ropeik, an independent climate reporter based in Maine and secretary of SEJ’s board. “In an election year…  attracting a lot of those political reporters on the East Coast, we felt like we needed to deliver some resources on how to cover climate disinformation and misinformation accurately.”

The conference will be hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center — which runs FactCheck.org — and the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media. The conference includes panels, tours of the region, workshops and a keynote speech by EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

SEJ Executive Director Aparna Mukherjee, who previously worked at Resolve Philly, an organization that aims to rethink the practice of reporting, hopes SEJ gives members tools to pursue more community-centric journalism.

“Very credible, empirically researched, fact-based reporting: That has always been the hallmark of SEJ members’ work,” Mukherjee said. “But from the perspective of better understanding what community voice looks like in shaping coverage and thinking about what the impact of coverage could be, this part is very new I think for SEJ.”

The conference will also give journalists a space to think about how their work relates to advocacy, Ropeik said.

“Our ideas about what objectivity means are changing, our ideas about basically what we can say and what voices we center and what balance means are changing,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of those different perspectives in the mix in our membership… It’s a conversation that we really want to have and help people be better prepared to make those decisions about their own journalism.”

Sessions during this year’s conference include covering the energy transition, cutting through greenwashing, working with whistleblowers, finding stories in disaster data and representing rural communities fairly in environmental justice reporting.

Conference planners chose Philadelphia because it “reveals the potential of community resilience” — with residents fighting for trees to protect against hotter summers, neighborhoods free of trash and the right to breathe clean air — and because the political dynamics of Pennsylvania mirror much of the country.

Local residents who will speak during the conference include Youth Poet Laureate of Philadelphia Oyewumi Oyeniyi; journalist, organizer and fishmonger Feini Yin; abolitionist organizer Kermit O; Penn professors Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Michael Mann; and artist Eurhi Jones. Mayor Cherelle Parker and Gov. Josh Shapiro have also been invited to attend.

Meg McGuire, conference co-chair and publisher of Delaware Currents, hopes attendees “have fun and learn stuff” at the conference. She said spaces to socialize and share knowledge are key as more environmental journalists work as freelancers, rather than newsroom staff.

“Trying to find ways to support each other — enhance our commitment to telling people the truth of things as best we know at the time — is incredibly important,” McGuire said.

What Are the Most Effective Strategies To Inspire Action on Climate Change?

By Hailey Reissman for Annenberg School for Communication News – originally published March 18, 2024

Climate change is an undeniably complex global problem. It’s often challenging for individuals to feel like they can make an impact — if they even know how. Should you be turning off your lights more? Recycling? Taking public transit? Purchasing carbon offsets? Even when people understand what they should be doing, they often default to inaction because the crisis can seem so distant from everyday life or scary to think about.

To figure out how to effectively motivate people toward climate change action, researchers in the Communication Neuroscience Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication, the Climate Communication Division of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media at the University of Pennsylvania are testing numerous methods to educate people about climate change and spur them to take action. Ranging from quizzes to imagination exercises, the researchers hope to determine which strategies are most effective and for whom.

Alyssa (Allie) Sinclair, Ph.D.
Allie Sinclair, Ph.D.

“Climate change is primarily a problem of human behavior. As psychologists and communication scientists, we have the tools to discover how we can motivate people to feel like they can and should take action,’” says Allie Sinclair, study leader and the Joan Bossert Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Communication Neuroscience Lab and the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media.

The interdisciplinary team has already run experiments with more than 6,000 people to test a range of different strategies informed by how the brain works.

After every intervention, participants are asked to rate their intentions to do things like engage in individual and community-focused climate mitigating actions, share articles about the climate crisis, or sign petitions about climate policy, as well as emotional aspects, such as how distant the climate crisis feels to them — in terms of time, geographic space, and personal impact.

“By using the tournament format, we can test many different behavioral interventions with the same group of people and see which intervention worked best for each goal, and for which demographic groups,” Sinclair says.

The team is using strategies that tap into a number of well-defined psychological processes.

For example, several interventions tap into people’s sense of what is relevant to them or to people they care about. In one intervention, participants reflect on why climate-related news matters to themselves or to people they know. Previous research from the team had people consider articles about health, climate change, voting, and COVID-19 and found that an individual is more likely to share information that they feel is meaningful to themselves or to the people they know.

Emily Falk headshot
Emily Falk, Ph.D.

Other groups of interventions are focused on imagining the future, and on the impact of different possible choices people can make.

The strategies focused on imagining the future are based on previous research led by Sinclair showing that when people fire up their imaginations to picture a COVID-related scenario — like a person contracting the virus at a party — it can change how dangerous they perceive various COVID-related risky behaviors to be, and whether or not they’re willing to do those risky behaviors. Finally, the strategies focused on impact are riffs on other commonly used intervention to engage people in climate action.

“We’ll take some of our top winners from this wave and pit them against each other, both to replicate our results and to see if combining them creates synergistic effects,” Sinclair says. “By testing them together, we hope to find an intervention that is even better at encouraging climate action.”

“Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time,” says Emily Falk, the senior author and lab director. “This work will provide actionable insights about what works and what doesn’t, so we can shape the future in positive ways.”

Members of the lab involved in the tournament include Director of the Communication Neuroscience Lab and Vice Dean of the Annenberg School Emily Falk, Research Director Dani Cosme, Senior Research Coordinator José Carreras-Tartak, Annenberg doctoral student Kirsten Lydic, as well as Penn Psychology doctoral students Taurean Butler and Christian Benitez. The team is also collaborating with Presidential Distinguished Professor Michael Mann and Administrative Coordinator Heather Kostick at the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media.

This material is based upon work supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under Contract No. 140D0423C0048. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); or its Contracting Agent, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Business Center, Acquisition Services Directorate, Division V.

Michael Mann, a Leading Climate Scientist, Wins His Defamation Suit

Originally published by Delger Erdenesanaa for The New York Times on February 8, 2024.

Feature image: Michael Mann leaving D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

The researcher had sued two writers for libel and slander over comments about his work. The jury awarded him damages of more than $1 million.

The climate scientist Michael Mann on Thursday won his defamation lawsuit against Rand Simberg, a former adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Mark Steyn, a contributor to National Review.

The trial transported observers back to 2012, the heyday of the blogosphere and an era of rancorous polemics over the existence of global warming, what the psychology researcher and climate misinformation blogger John Cook called “a feral time.”

The six-member jury announced its unanimous verdict after a four-week trial in District of Columbia Superior Court and one full day of deliberation. They found both Mr. Simberg and Mr. Steyn guilty of defaming Dr. Mann with multiple false statements and awarded the scientist $1 in compensatory damages from each writer.

The jury also found the writers had made their statements with “maliciousness, spite, ill will, vengeance or deliberate intent to harm,” and levied punitive damages of $1,000 against Mr. Simberg and $1 million against Mr. Steyn in order to deter others from doing the same.

“This is a victory for science and it’s a victory for scientists,” Dr. Mann said.

In 2012, Mr. Simberg and Mr. Steyn drew parallels between controversy over Dr. Mann’s research and the scandal around Jerry Sandusky, the former football coach at Pennsylvania State University who was convicted of sexually assaulting children. Dr. Mann was a professor at Penn State at the time.

Taylor Swift Can Be the Climate Hero We Need Now

Originally published by Joseph Romm for Moms Clean Air Force on February 5, 2024.

One of the most viral zingers from last year—the hottest year on record—was this tweet thumb-slammed in response to the global news of America’s beloved pop star taking up with Kansas City Chief’s All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce: “I wish Taylor Swift was in love with a climate scientist.” She’s not, but we climate-concerned folks still stan her.

Why? Because we know that the 14-time Grammy winner could spur massive action on climate change, which, unlike the outcome of the Super Bowl LVIII, will affect all of us beyond imagining. After all, she knows from “Cruel Summers.”

The first thing Taylor needs to do to be a climate hero is to take a look at her emissions. If we are being honest, right now she’s being a climate “Anti-Hero” in at least one important way: her flying preferences.

In mid-2022, her private jet was named “biggest celebrity CO2e polluter this year so far.” Of the toxic contributors that the wealthy have access to, private jets are probably the worst. Taylor has two. A 2023 study found the wealthiest 1% of air travelers cause half of all aviation emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. It is a staggering—“It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me”—stat.

To her credit, Swift has invested in carbon offsets—where you pay someone else to (supposedly) reduce their emissions or plant enough trees to balance your emissions, so the impact of your harmful output is seemingly minimized. A spokesperson explained that Taylor bought twice as many carbon credits “needed to offset all tour travel.” Understandably, though her heart is clearly in the right place, Taylor Swift has fallen for the shameless greenwashing that offsets sailed in on.

“The large majority are not real or are over-credited or both,” as one expert told me for a paper I wrote about the trend. That’s why so many companies, like Nestlé and Shell, abandoned them last year, and Taylor should follow suit. After all, she is an expert on things that look good but are really not: “Oh, my God, look at that face. You look like my next mistake” and “You’ll come back each time you leave ’cause, darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream” come to mind.

Taylor cares about climate disruption and the environment. In a 2020 interview, she said climate change was one of the “horrific situations that we find ourselves facing right now,” especially young people. And with her carbon credit purchases, she’s demonstrated her willingness to try out solutions. We hope she’ll consider these steps to raise the urgency of the climate issue.

STEP 1: Investments > offsets

Taylor Swift is in a position to make some very big statements about the mess we are in. In October, Bloomberg reported her net worth had hit $1.1 billion. If we may be so bold, why not create a climate fund to help finance renewable energy in developing countries? She could seed it with $100 million plus 10% of the future gross revenues of all her music and concerts. She could get other musicians to kick in money the way Bill Gates gets other billionaires to boost his efforts.

STEP 2: Get out the youth vote again and then some more

Another great strategy is one she has deployed already on a small scale. Taylor registered nearly 40,000 people last September after posting an Instagram Story for 24 hours urging her fans to do so at Vote.org.

Experts say a boost in young voter turnout could make the difference this year in swing states like Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona. Young people and women—her audiences—care about climate. A November poll found that climate-focused youth were much more likely to say they would vote in 2024.

Taylor can motivate political engagement and drive change. She can make another several major pushes nationally and in key states—first for voter registration and then for actually getting out to vote. Given her huge fan base, she truly could be the one who makes the difference.

STEP 3: We need a great climate anthem

Finally, Swift can devote some of her world-class storytelling talents to writing a catchy and smart—really, does anybody do it better than her?—climate song or two. She’s already written one political anthem in “Only The Young,” for her blockbuster 2019 Netflix documentary Miss Americana. A 2021 analysis of her albums Folklore and Evermore found she “uses nature-themed words seven times as frequently as the other pop songs do.” Nature metaphors spring up everywhere in her songs: “With you, I’d dance in a storm in my best dress fearless” and “The drought was the very worst when the flowers that we’d grown together died of thirst.”

That last line is a metaphor for the death of a once-flourishing relationship and the dreams and hopes that withered as a result. If Taylor comes to see that one of the greater things she could do is become a climate hero, maybe global warming won’t wither her fans’ dreams and hopes.

So come on, Taylor Swift: Give us a climate ballad of epic proportions, one that will last for generations.

Joseph Romm is a senior research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and has authored 10 books including, “Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.” He is writing a book about Taylor Swift’s storytelling secrets.

Separating myth from reality on climate change

By Scott Condon for Aspen Daily News – originally published on January 9, 2024.

Carbon offsets for air travel, carbon capture and storage in wells drilled far underground, heat pumps for heating and cooling of buildings and replacing fossil fuel burners with electric vehicles.

What’s real and what’s hype in the battle to save the planet from climate change? Joseph Romm is coming to Aspen to help those interested sort it out. And he said we all have skin in the game.

“People have to understand climate change simply because it’s going to have a very big impact on their lives and the lives of their children. It’s not going to go away,” said Romm, a senior research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media.

Romm will speak at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Limelight Hotel as part of the Aspen U speaker series hosted by Aspen Skiing Co. The title of his presentation is “Dangerous Climate Myths vs. Real Solutions.”

He was invited by Skico Senior Vice President of Sustainability Auden Schendler, who despite a good sense of humor has little tolerance for B.S. when it comes to acting on climate change. He thinks Romm is the right person to cut through the B.S.

“It’s gotten pretty clear that climate change now threatens everything we care about,” Schendler said in an email. “But what has become confusing is what exactly we ought to do about it. And the answers have become corrupted by convenience and money.”

Romm has put decades into researching some proposed solutions. He will share what’s real and scalable versus what’s “vaporware,” Schendler said.

Romm has 10 books on climate change, clean energy and communications. He was named a “Hero of the Environment” and “The Web’s most influential climate-change blogger” by Time magazine in 2009. Romm holds a PhD in physics from MIT and he has connections to the Roaring Fork Valley. He was a researcher at the Rocky Mountain Institute from 1991 to 1993 and co-authored the 1994RMI report “Greening the Building and the Bottom Line: Increasing Productivity Through Energy-Efficient Design.”

Despite the impressive pedigree, Romm has an easy way with words and brings climate science to a level a layperson can understand. He told the Aspen Daily News on Friday that his job is to look at “practical considerations of things that may seem good on paper but what would it be like in the real world? I kind of kick their tires and look under the hood.”

On carbon capture, for example, he said there is “nothing terribly wrong with it.” But so far, the economics of capturing carbon from a coal plant, for example, just haven’t proven economic because of the need to build vast, unpopular pipelines to deliver the carbon to a place where it can be safely stored. The expense of capturing the carbon at the plants is also prohibitive.

“If you look at the history of carbon capture and storage, it’s been a spectacular failure,” Romm said.

He is also “annoyed” that much of the carbon captured thus far has been crammed into mostly depleted wells to squeeze the remaining oil from them.

“Are you really permanently storing CO2 if you’re using that CO2 to squeeze out oil that you’re going to burn to produce more CO2?” Romm asked. “That’s not my idea of a climate solution.”

What the countries collectively need, he said, is a World War II-scale effort where all players realize “we win this fight or we’re in very big trouble.”

“We are at the point where we’re starting to get serious about climate change, but we should have been serious two decades ago,” Romm said.

Among the people who research the problem and solutions, he said the path forward is “pretty well understood.”

“The most straightforward thing to do is to decarbonize the electric grid, to shift the electric grid to carbon-free technologies,” Romm said. “Indeed, this country has been doing that. It’s been replacing coal plants pretty steadily for 10, 15 years with gas plants and renewables. Gas plants are not zero carbon. What we really need to do is have a zero-carbon grid. That is phase one. And phase two is to electrify as much of the economy as possible so it can run on a carbon-free grid. The obvious way to decarbonize the transportation sector is electric vehicles.”

He is optimistic about the possibilities though he said scaling up solar or wind to the level needed to prevent reaching the tipping point on global warming won’t be easy. There are no slam dunks but the necessary effort is obvious. He said it will take 20 to 30 years to switch most of the economy to renewable energy sources. The efficiency of electric vehicles, he argued, will make them the ultimate winner in the marketplace.

“The point is, we are in the process of developing and introducing technologies that replace fossil fuel use combustion with an electric device,” he said. “So the two-fold kind of strategy that we need to pursue for the next 20-plus years is (to) build as many carbon-free sources of electricity to replace fossil fuel sources on the grid and develop and deploy all of these electric technologies.”

The doors open at the Limelight at 5:30 p.m. so attendees can grab a beverage at the bar if they so desire. Seating is limited. Romm said the presentation will be time well spent.

“I think everybody needs to be informed on this subject because it’s going to increasingly affect all of us,” he said. “I spent a lot of time trying to understand the solutions to climate change, which are the real ones and which are the overhyped ones. I think if people want to stay on top of that, this is going to be a good speech.”

Post-Doctoral Researcher Opportunities with Michael Mann and PCSSM

Join our team! Please see below for current opportunities.
Civic Science Fellow – Deadline is January 15, 2024.

Civic Science Postdoctoral Fellowship in Climate Communication and Action at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Are you passionate about using science to positively impact society? Are you motivated to find innovative ways to conduct science in partnership with communities? Do you want to join a network of individuals and organizations who are committed to advancing science and society through meaningful collaboration between scientists and community members? With support from the Rita Allen Foundation and Burroughs Wellcome fund, we’re recruiting a Postdoctoral Fellow who will serve as a 2024-2025 Civic Science Fellow and develop civically-oriented research projects focused on the science of climate communication, action, and resilience at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania (APPC), working with APPC’s Climate Communication and Action and Science Communication Divisions, with APPC’s partner center the Penn Center for Science Sustainability and the Media, and with the university’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. This appointment is expected to last 24 months, with an initial appointment from March 2024 to February 2025, and a second year, contingent on funding and satisfactory performance, from March 2025 to February 2026.

For more information, click here.

Sustainability and Conservation Science Postdoctoral Fellowship – Deadline is February 16, 2024.

PROGRAM GOALS
This postdoctoral fellowship program aims to bridge the excellence in academic research at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and in conservation practice at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to confront climate change, while creating a new generation of sustainability and conservation leaders who combine the rigor of academic science with real-world application.

Penn and TNC join in recognizing climate change as the single greatest environmental threat to humanity. Climate change is an issue that tightly integrates the health of the planet with the economy, access to clean and reliable energy, water, and food production, and equity. To tackle these challenges, our world needs science that blends climatology, physics, economics, business, chemistry, engineering, technology and communications with conservation and ecology. As well, it must marry the best academic research with opportunities for rapid testing and deployment in the real world to address human well-being.

The specific program goals are to:

  • Invest in the talent potential of a new generation of climate change leaders
  • Recruit scientists who bring a diversity of culture, experience, and ideas to Penn and TNC
  • Support innovative and impact-oriented research that helps deliver TNC outcomes
  • Provide the fellows and Penn research community as a whole with access to real-world conservation professionals and issues.

Postdoctoral Fellows will be supported annually with a $65,000 stipend and benefits, a $10,000 research fund, and up-to $2,000 for professional travel. A one-time relocation reimbursement of up-to $2,000 is also available. Fellows will be eligible for support for up-to two consecutive years.

For more information, click here.

Penn to Host Annual Society of Environmental Journalists Conference

The Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media (PCSSM) is thrilled to share that along with Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) we are hosting the annual conference for the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) at the University of Pennsylvania from April 3-7, 2024 in Philadelphia, PA.

From Michael Mann on upcoming SEJ conference:

On behalf of the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media (PCSSM), we are thrilled to host the annual SEJ conference at the University of Pennsylvania next April in partnership with Annenberg Public Policy Center, not only the home of PCSSM but also the home of FactCheck.org and its SciCheck project. Journalists play a key role in informing and communicating climate crisis and the need for action on climate change to the public. We have many exciting opportunities, panels, and events planned for the conference and look forward to connecting attendees to Philadelphia’s unique environmental stories and the greater Penn and Philadelphia community.

PCSSM Director Michael Mann and APPC Director Kathleen Hall-Jamieson will be co-leading a workshop at SEJ and we anticipate that many PCSSM and APPC partners and researchers will be attending and sharing research. We strongly recommend registering and signing up for our newsletter to learn of upcoming opportunities to get involved with the conference.

From the SEJ conference website:

Mid-Atlantic journalists have much to share with you about their corner of the world: the huge national battle over fracking and LNG versus renewable energy, such as wind and solar; the paradox of a city that wants to be modern and future-facing but is held back by issues of poverty, environmental racism, infrastructure challenges and development problems; flooding and sea level rise; pollution and land management; and much more. Come to Philadelphia and let your community help you figure out which stories demand your attention, learn how to tell them and find the support you need through the tough road that lies ahead.

We’ll be exploring these issues and more at our 33rd annual conference and hope to see you there! We’ve lined up three affordable hotel options for #SEJ2024, and it’s never too early to secure your room under SEJ’s special rates — we sold out last year in Boise. And be sure to check out the draft agenda!

Your #SEJ2024 conference chairs:

Meg McGuire, Founder/Publisher, Delaware Currents
Kristine Villanueva, Editor, The Phillypinos Oral History Project, and Lecturer, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, City University of New York

For more on SEJ and the conference, please click here. 
Register for SEJ annual conference here.