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Skeptical Science nominated for Climate Change Communicator of the Year

Posted on 13 March 2011 by John Cook

Center for Climate Change CommunicationSkeptical Science is honoured to be nominated for the George Mason University's 'Climate Change Communicator of the Year' award. In 2009, the inaugural award from the Washington based university went to Bud Ward, editor of the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media. In 2010, they divided it into two categories, individual (going to Jason Samenow) and organizational (going to BBC World Service Trust). This year, Skeptical Science is nominated in the Organizational category. Considering the quality of the groups among the nominees, it's an honour to be listed (the individual nominees are also an impressive bunch):

Individual Nominees:

1. Tom Crompton

2. Jay Gulledge

3. Susan Joy Hassol

4. Naomi Oreskes

5. Joseph Romm

6. John Abraham/Scott Mandia/Ray Weymann

Organizational Nominees:

1. Alliance for Climate Education

2. Climate Change Media Partnership

3. Sea Grant Climate Network

4. Skeptical

5. The Earth Journalism Network

6. Union of Concerned Scientists

The Skeptical Science nomination recognises the efforts of everyone who have contributed to this website - a fantastic community effort that has come so far in the last year, I can scarcely take it in. This is reflected in the graciously written nomination from Bud Ward, the inaugural winner of the award, (I hope Bud doesn't mind that I've added emphasis to what I consider the especially important bits):

Working from his home office with his wife while still maintaining a full-time “day job” as a web\data base consultant, Mr. Cook, founder and editor of the site, has managed to attract key volunteer and expert scientific participation form some of Australia’s, the U.S.’s, and the world’s most well regarded climate scientists and climate science communicators. This participatory “citizen” journalism approach – with Mr. Cook retaining responsibility for scientific rigor – has enabled the to significantly increase both the number of originally researched and written postings in each year since it started and the number of individuals looking to the site each day for credible information in this often daunting field. That the site has managed to do so with virtually no external financial support beyond occasional contributions via PayPal testifies to the extraordinary level of energy and commitment the site and its editor bring to this effort. Just as importantly, the site routinely demonstrates through its authoritative postings the high level of volunteer personal commitment from others on behalf of the site. (In a very real sense, prize recognition of is recognition also of the much larger field of responsible climate science communicators.)

The site’s approach illustrates applications of “new media” and new communications tools in informing the public about complex issues: IPhone, ITouch, IPad “app” and Android counterparts bring informed and timely multi-media climate science information to one’s handheld. Especially notable are the site’s “Advanced,” “Intermediate, and Basic” explanations of fundamental climate science points, assuring the information is accessible to individuals with substantial familiarity and expertise while also serving those lacking in-depth technical background.’s new efforts to provide high-resolution climate science visuals and graphics for free download helps fill a yawning need and gap…providing via Creative Commons licensing noncommercial access to effective images critical to assuring effective messaging and framing of complex issues.


I recommend everyone visit the Center for Climate Change Communication, have a look at all of their own efforts to communicate climate science, check out the nominees and vote for who you deem most worthy.

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Comments 1 to 27:

  1. I voted for SkS. :)
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  2. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor. I hope my following comment is seen as a compliment: I've thought of this site as the Thomas Edison of climate blogging. I can hardly keep track of the quantity and quality of contributions here. jg
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  3. I'm sure this must be hugely gratifying for you and all of the people who support this site with posts and follow up information. Having spent a lot of time searching for reliable sources of information and seen the quality of much that is available I don't find the nomination even mildly surprising. Long may you run.
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  4. You know who I voted for! LOL This site is just so marvelous, such a valuable resource, and such great work by all involved.
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  5. Please! George Mason University is a VIRGINIA public university. I'm sure they're next on our esteemed Atty Gen's list for persecution.
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  6. Seriously, when I want the consensus scientific view, w/o any nonsense, I come here. Good Job!
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  7. My vote's already in.
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  8. Congrats John, you're the heart of this site and you deserve the honor. Congrats also to the "triumvirate" John Abraham/Scott Mandia/Ray Weymann, they have my vote.
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    Response: Thanks Riccardo but I will stress that the nomination is for the organization category and very much is for the SkS community as a whole. And that includes you! :-)
  9. That's wonderful news for you, but I am really surprised that GMU has a prize like this since they get so much money from the Kochs. GMU is investigating Dr. Wegmann for research misconduct in connection with his efforts to discredit the "hockey stick," and they are taking a long time. Attorney General Cucinelli relies on Wegman's report in his attacks on Dr. Mann.
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  10. Among the other nominees, I knew the series of podcasts about Climate Change Communication from the Sea Grant Climate Network. It's well worth listening. Well, but I voted SkS, of course.
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  11. snapple #9 I confess I share your surprise. For example, there are many GMU policy advisors at the Heartland Institute (a notorious denialist institution), and even Pat Michaels is a "distinguished senior fellow in public policy" at MCU (not sure what it means). But this initiative is welcome. I will hope this means ideology stopped being a hurdle to accept science. (VERY optimistic, I know...)
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  12. Congratulations John! A well deserved nomination for a site which provides scientific rigour, credible information, excellent moderation and, so important, valuable contributions from climate scientists who know their stuff and deal far more patiently than I ever could with the most obdurate denialists.
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  13. Way to go John! And I totally agree with the nomination's notes about the large number of posts you manage to get up daily with little financial support and while doing a day job! The quality and quantity of the posts here is astounding for a basically one man operation (yes, I know behind every good man is a better woman), even taking into account the contributions from guest writers and moderators. Fingers crossed.
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  14. My votes in also!
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  15. Hi John Congratulations on the nomination and the iphone app. Info on the app comes in handy when responding to blogs on the ABC drum!
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  16. John, This site has become what it is because of your vision, skill and selfless dedication, but most of all because of your love for humankind, and your passion for truth. The recognition of the site implied by the nomination is an encouragement to minor contributors such as myself to play our part and to seek excellence. May the truth prevail!
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  17. Congratulations John Cook for your selfless devotion to duty in the service of climate change awareness. I must admit that I don't bother to look at the other climate science blogs - pap like RealClimate et al...and the other lesser organs of AGW and anti-AGW propaganda. While in a congratulatory mood - I would highly commend BP (not the oil company) for his startling contributions and insight into the subject of GW - which have most influenced and educated me and posed serious challenges to the orthodoxy of the AGW true believers.
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  18. Ken @ 17... Funny how you would be more influenced by BP than the larger body of scientific research. Why would one unpublished commenter on a blog influence you more than 10's of thousands of published research papers on a subject? For myself, this site has been a confirmation of what is happening with the climate. This is pretty much the only site that offers up fully cited blog posts on climate science issues. Science is a contact sport regardless of the issue. This is not specific to climate change. In that, it is a natural part of the scientific process to get things right. What is clear to me is that there is a very large body of evidence that all fits together very well. It's fully in agreement with research going back 150 years. And that science is telling us that we are having a dramatic affect on the climate and should be very very concerned about the potential outcome. On the other side I see ideas that come from all corners, that usually don't even agree with each other, and usually don't fit the extended body of research. It rarely offers any mechanisms for what we see happening today, and usually don't explain what we see in the past (specifically Lindzen and Spencer). Skeptical Science does a great job of clearly, and without a shrill tone, presenting this case. Kudos to John for setting that tone and encouraging people to express their views on the issue of climate science in a polite and intelligent manner.
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  19. I voted. But I have to say, if I were affiliated with GMU I'd be uncomfortable with the reputation the university is developing (link).
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  20. Rob Honeycutt #18 What the AGW (as opposed to GW) true believers should remember is that skeptics who point out weaknesses and contradictions in the AGW science on offer are performing a free service for everyone. If they make a good point which is not demolished in robust argument (they usually fizzle to an unanswered end thread on this site), then the proponents of the (usually) AGW science piece need to take the point on board and resolve the contradiction for all to see. This is the way of the tunneling toward the truth Alan Marshall. Without the BP's of this blogworld, the contributors to this site become spectators of a one way conversation.
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  21. Ken... Hm, so skeptics are performing a free service by challenging already well established and proven theories, and contributing to delayed action on what stands to be the most important issue that humanity faces? Not sure where the value in that is.
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  22. Ken and Rob, With respect to Ken, you clearly have little idea how science operates. My colleagues challenge every paper that I publish-- when the work is first submitted as a proposal, when it is a work in progress, when it is submitted for peer-review and even after it is published. We challenge each other (and share ideas)over coffee, over a beer, at conferences and in the literature. In fact, so deep is the passion and the curiosity of practicing scientists that it is almost impossible to put them in the same room without some or other (constructive) debate ensuing. However, unlike the partisan bickering, obfuscation and misinformation brought forth by "skeptics" (note the quotation marks), the dialogue that my colleagues and I share is almost always constructive and productive, i.e., it has value. True skeptics do contribute to the science, the same is almost always not true for self-proclaimed "skeptics" and contrarians. People who understand AGW to be a threat/concern frequently disagree and correct each other on these threads at SkS, for example-- although sadly most of our time is addressing the misinformation and obfuscation brought forward by the likes of BP. And it is my understanding that a lot of work goes on before a post is published to make sure the science is right. For the record, the true contradictions and incoherence and inconsistencies that you refer to seem to be almost exclusively the territory of "skeptics", those in denial about AGW and contrarians. Now of course you will most likely take issue with what I have said above, but I guess that is part and parcel of being a self-professed contrarian/"skeptic" ;)
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  23. Rob and Albatross Censors just keep deleting my replies ( -Snip- )
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Your first response was deleted because it was a long comment filled with a multitude of topics found on many other threads. This forced a moderator response, as it amounted to a Gish Gallop. Subsequent complaints about moderation do not help, as you should well know. Comments that are succinct to the topic of the thread they are posted on which also comply with the Comments Policy receive no moderation. You are welcome to resubmit your individual points on the appropriate threads, with a summary response posted here pointing to each individual thread. This is how business is done here to keep the dialogue on individual threads on topic. And again, this is something you have been repeatedly counseled on.
  24. Ken Lambert: Censors just keep deleting my replies - so I guess the message is that this site has put up the shutters and is only wanting to hear from the true believers. Considering recent posts by "PhysSci" I would suggest your claim has no support. Maybe your deletions have something to do with the comment policy.
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  25. Albatross... If I might add an analogy: Science, that is "real" science as done within scientific circles by professionals whose field of expertise is in the subjects they are researching, is like a wrestling match; like Greco-Roman wrestling. True tests of strength and agility. It uses clear rules that both sides abide by that assure fair play and legitimate measure of the best athlete. "Skeptic" (note the quotes) climate science as played out on blogs (i.e., WUWT) is the WWF. Sure, there is athleticism in the WWF (or WUWT). I would never begrudge that. But it's not a real test of athleticism (science). And similarly, WWF plays very well with the general public where Greco-Roman wrestling can hardly hold peoples attention unless they are directly involved somehow.
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  26. My vote is in, no doubt as to who my favorite are :-) Keep up the good work John. Rob, the "athleticism" at WUWT is really questionable. One has to peruse through that pathetic thread in which they slap each other on the back after some guy verified that CO2 does not deposit at -70 degrees in Earth' atmosphere. This, of course after repeated attempts by some who knew better to make the general population of the site understand the phase diagram. It's painful to watch such collective idiocy in action. These are the same people who go on accusing scientists of fraud when they clearly don't have the means to even begin to understand what the scientists are doing. If there is any "athleticism" at WUWT, it's barely at 8th grade level.
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  27. Philippe... I would define "athleticism" on WUWT as "working hard to put on a good show." They definitely slog through the science to find (and often distort) bits and pieces to fit their agenda. They work very hard at it.
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