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The 2011 4C awards

  • 10 Mar 2011, 17:28
  • Luke

"Excellence deserves acknowledgment." That's the premise behind George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication(4C) awards. Every year the university "honor[s] one person and one organization for their excellence as climate change communicators."

The shortlist for 2011 has been announced and includes six nominees in each category. Members of the public can vote for their favourites until the 15th of April. The individual nominees have backgrounds in climate science, campaigns and media; they include Naomi Oreskes, Joe Romm and the UK's Tom Crompton.

Naomi Oreskes, celebrated academic and co-author of Merchants of Doubt, is the awards' most high profile nominee. Her scientific credentials are impressive but she is unique in climate change communication for another reason. It is her knowledge of the "historical evolution of the scientific, political, social, and economic narratives in which climate change research is embedded" that makes her outstanding, according to 4C. Oreskes is also described as a champion of climate scientists and "a colleague who exhausts superlatives".

Joe Romm's vociferous blogging has been lauded before by the likes of Time magazine so it is no surprise to see him nominated at 4C. The man behind ClimateProgress.org has a phenomenal work rate and routinely posts several short-essay length updates a day.  An expert in renewable energy, 4C writes, "Romm helps drive an important public conversation not just about the science of climate change, but what to do about it."

Sharing a nomination three ways is the innovative team behind the newly established Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT). John Abraham, Scott Mandia and Ray Weyman. The CSRRT is a new online service that connects journalists and lawmakers to climate scientists with the aim of improving the public representation of climate science.

Tom Crompton of WWF UK has been nominated in recognition of his novel campaigning methods that encourage collaboration between academics and activists. As laid out in his book, Weathercocks and Signposts (2008), Crompton's approach is open and inclusive and has made him a powerful climate communicator.

Other scientists have also been nominated. Jay Gulledge is Director of the Science and Impacts Program at the US based Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The 4C awards have praised his participation in producing "numerous fact sheets, figures, and briefs for a non-expert audience" and his involvement in the Centre's Climate Change 101 series.

The US's Susan Joy Hassol has been chosen for her massive contribution to numerous scientific assessments, which include "two National Climate Assessments, the Arctic Assessment, two major Synthesis and Assessment Reports, and two Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessments." Among her many virtues, the 4C awards praise her ability to translate complex scientific findings into everyday language while "remain[ing] true to the scientific integrity of the material".

Some impressive organisations have been nominated in the award's second category, including one of our long-time favourites, Skeptical Science. Also nominated are the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Earth Journalism Network, the Sea Grant Climate Network, Climate Change Media Partnerhip and the Alliance for Climate Education.

You can read full biographies of all the individuals and organisations on 4C's webpage. Don't forget to cast your vote!

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