The Challenge of Making Climate Science Relevant

Remarks by William O’Keefe, President of the Marshall Institute, at the EPA Science Forum 2004

I have been dealing with the climate change issue for 15 years. On reflection, I believe that this period has been dominated by unproductive advocacy and rhetoric over science, how much we know about the climate system, human attribution and long-term consequences. Far too little attention has been focused on framing the right questions, on what kind of information would help policy makers make wise decisions, and on understanding trade-offs and consequences.

In the process, the public has been confused and bamboozled. Wise policy requires an informed public; not a confused one.

My comments will draw largely on my participation in the Commerce Department’s climate science strategic plan workshop and Marshall Institute comments on it.

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