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Project Information

Project Information

Climate Communications Initiative

Project Scope:

The Climate Communications Initiative (CCI) will coordinate efforts across the National Academies to facilitate rapid and effective communication of evidence-based insights to an attentive public and critical decision makers. The CCI will build on and extend the existing Climate Change at the National Academies outreach efforts ( By leveraging consensus reports and ongoing activities across the National Academies, the CCI will offer a suite of authoritative and objective materials and engagement opportunities, such as easy to consume digital syntheses, interactive mini-sites, infographics, key data sets, videos, webinars, educational materials, and timely commentary (e.g., blogs) by experts and “influentials.”

Expert oversight and guidance for the Initiative will be provided by the CCI Advisory Committee, which is charged to:

1)                  Provide strategic direction to the National Academies about implementation of the CCI;

2)                  Undertake annual evaluations of CCI;

3)                  Provide oversight for scientific and communications review of specific content and products;

4)                  Guide efforts to engage target audiences; and

5)                  Facilitate coordination with other climate-related communications efforts across the National Academies.

TASK 1: Prepare CCI Strategic Plan

The Advisory Committee will develop a strategic plan for the Climate Communications Initiative. The plan will:

1)       Articulate a mission, goals, and target audiences for the Climate Communications Initiative. 

2)       Identify priorities for near-term and longer-term activities.

3)       Recommend mechanisms to ensure coordination of related communication activities spanning the National Academies.

4)       Recommend mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the impact of the products and activities of the CCI.

After the strategic plan is completed, it will be reviewed and approved internally by the Governing Board Executive Committee.

TASK 2: Develop a User-Centric Climate Inventory

The CCI Advisory Committee will guide the development of a user-centric climate inventory (and supporting infrastructure), for both internal and public-facing purposes, to allow easier access to climate-related content and analysis. This resource will be organized according to a taxonomy informed by ongoing audience learning, beginning by topic (e.g., climate science, impacts, responses), in a multi-layered manner (i.e., with increasing technical detail), and building upon existing communications materials (e.g., “Climate Change at the National Academies” website, Climate Change: Evidence and Causes booklet [2014], America’s Climate Choices [2010-11]).

TASK 3: Create a Rapid Response Capability

The CCI Advisory Committee will develop a rapid response capability – both what to do in response to public statements or debate, and the ability to quickly cull information from our body of work in response to specific queries. This will involve procedures and guidelines to allow rapid decision making, dedicated and empowered staff to prepare responses and update materials, and content that is easily discoverable and re-purposed.

TASK 4: Undertake Systematic Audience Learning

The CCI Advisory Committee will undertake a systematic approach to audience learning in order to develop a clear picture of who is being reached and how well by the Academies’ climate-related activities and outputs. This engagement will involve the 4 phases of a communications learning cycle: (1) listening to and learning from audiences about their needs; (2) building relationships with audiences for on-going dialogue; (3) developing products and communication approaches for audiences based on available material and/or identified needs; and (4) evaluating the efficacy of products and approaches.

Status: Current


RSO: Staudt, Amanda


Behavioral and Social Sciences
Earth Sciences
Environment and Environmental Studies

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

David W. Titley, USN (Ret.) - (Chair)
David W. Titley (Chair) is a Professor of Practice in Meteorology and a Professor of International Affairs at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). He is the founding Director of Penn State’s Center for Solutions to Weather & Climate Risk. After graduating from Penn State, Dr. Titley served as a Naval Officer for 32 years and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. Dr. Titley’s career included duties as Commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, as well as Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy. While serving at the Pentagon, Dr. Titley initiated and led the U.S. Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. After retiring from the Navy, Dr. Titley served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Operations, the Chief Operating Officer position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Titley serves on numerous advisory boards and has served as a member of the National Academies’ Climate Intervention Committee, co-chaired the National Academies’ Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences, and chaired the National Academies’ Committee on Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change Attribution. Dr. Titley received his B.S. in meteorology from Penn State in 1980. From the Naval Postgraduate School, he earned his M.S. in meteorology and physical oceanography in 1992 and his Ph.D. in meteorology in 1998. He received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.
Karen Akerlof
Karen Akerlof is an assistant professor in George Mason University’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Her research focuses on the intersection between governance and science and risk communication. She explores this nexus across three areas of study: 1) communication of science with policymakers; 2) public participation in decision-making; and 3) the use of social science within government programs. She leads an environmental science communication concentration within the department’s master’s program and teaches courses on this topic as well as evidence-informed policymaking. As an environmental social scientist, Dr. Akerlof explores the ways in which communities create, interpret, and employ scientific knowledge, whether at the local level or that of national legislatures. For example, she has innovated techniques to develop science policy research agendas in the emerging field of legislative science advice. She has studied use of science by policymakers, evaluated the effects of public deliberation, and conducted research to inform government program implementation. Her work has been published in journals such as Nature, Environmental Science & Policy, Global Environmental Change, and Coastal Management. She served as a visiting scholar at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2017-2018) and as an American Geophysical Union congressional science fellow (2016-2017). Dr. Akerlof earned her M.S. (2009) and Ph.D. (2012) in environmental science and policy from George Mason University. She participated in the National Academies 2017 “Rising to Coastal Challenges: Social Science Perspectives on Research Needs for Responding to Rising Seas” scoping meeting and served as a Gulf Research Program reviewer.
Dominique Brossard
Dominique Brossard is a Professor and the Chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin (UW)–Madison and an affiliate of the UW–Madison Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies, the UW–Madison Center for Global Studies, and the Morgridge Institute for Research. Her teaching responsibilities include courses in strategic communication theory and research, with a focus on science and risk communication. Dr. Brossard’s research agenda focuses on the intersection between science, media, and policy with the Science, Media and the Public (SCIMEP) research group, which she co-directs. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a former board member of the International Network of Public Communication of Science and Technology, Dr. Brossard is an internationally known expert in public opinion dynamics related to controversial scientific issues. She is particularly interested in understanding the role of values in shaping public attitudes and using cross-cultural analysis to understand these processes. SCIMEP’s recent work has focused on scientific discourse in online environments, such as Twitter. She has published more than 100 research articles in outlets such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Communication, International Journal of Public Opinion, Public Understanding of Science, and Communication Research. Dr. Brossard earned her M.S. in plant biotechnology from the Ecole Nationale d’Agronomie de Toulouse (1987) and her M.P.S (1998) and Ph.D. (2002) in communication from Cornell University. Dr. Brossard served as a member of the National Academies’ Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experiene and Future Prospects (2014–2016) and the National Academies’ Committee on Science Literacy and Public Perception of Science (2015–2016).
Robert D. Bullard
Robert D. Bullard is the former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University 2011-2016, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy. Prior to coming to TSU he was founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He has been described as the father of environmental justice. He received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of seventeen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity.
Caitlin Coble-Choate
Caitlin Choate has spent over a decade working for disruptive brands that are growing fast and changing industries. As the first-ever social media director for TOMS, an altruistic fashion company credited with the One for One business model, she led a creative, digital-first global team in building the TOMS tribe around the world. Making a shift to the tech industry in 2014, Caitlin led social and digital content for Nest, a smart home company acquired by Google, bringing cultural cache to thermostats and smoke alarms. Currently, Caitlin is a senior marketing manager at Airbnb, building world class brand marketing muscle for the Airbnb Experiences part of the business. She lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband.
Mariette DiChristina
Mariette DiChristina is the dean of the College of Communication at Boston University and a nationally recognized science journalist. Before arriving in 2019, DiChristina was the editor-in-chief and executive vice president of Scientific American, as well as executive vice president, magazines, of the magazine’s publisher, Springer Nature. The first woman to head Scientific American since its founding in 1845, she led the editorial team to honors including the coveted National Magazine Award for General Excellence. In her Springer Nature role, she oversaw an editorial and publishing staff of more than 160 people across 10 countries. Previously, DiChristina served as president of the National Association of Science Writers and as executive editor of Popular Science, where she was named Editor of the Year by the magazine’s publisher, Times Mirror Magazines. She also served as a part-time associate professor and visiting scholar in the graduate Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter School of Journalism and a science writer in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Boston University recognized her work in 2016 with a Distinguished Alumni Award.
David Goldston
David Goldston became the Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Washington Office in May 2017. In that role, he directs MIT’s federal relations and helps develop policy projects on campus. Prior to that, he was the Director of Government Affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental group, for 8 years, where he helped shape NRDC’s federal political strategy, policies, and communications. He came to NRDC after spending more than 20 years on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, working primarily on science policy and environmental policy. He was the Chief of Staff of the House Committee on Science from 2001 through 2006. After retiring from government service, Mr. Goldston was a visiting lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 2007 and at the Harvard University Center for the Environment in 2008 and 2009. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University. From 2007 through November 2009, he wrote a monthly column for Nature on science policy titled “Party of One.” Mr. Goldston also was the project director for the Bipartisan Policy Center report Improving the Use of Science in Regulatory Policy, which was released in August 2009. He authored a chapter in The Science of Science Policy: A Handbook (Stanford University Press, 2011). He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Academies’ Division on Earth and Life Studies and has served on numerous panels of the National Academies and other science policy organizations. He holds a B.A. (1978) from Cornell University and completed the course work for a Ph.D. in American history at the University of Pennsylvania.
William K. Hallman
William K. Hallman is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Human Ecology and is a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Psychology, the Department of Nutritional Sciences, and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at The State University of New Jersey. He is also a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, a member of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute at Rutgers, and a core member of Rutgers Global Health Institute. An expert in risk perception and risk communication, Dr. Hallman has written extensively on public perceptions of controversial issues concerning food, technology, health, and the environment. He currently serves as a member of the National Academies’ Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication Research and Practice. He has also served as a member of the National Academies’ Committee on the Science of Science Communication: A Research Agenda, which authored the report Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda. He has served as a member of several National Academies’ committees focused on food safety, as Director of the Rutgers Food Policy Institute, and as the Chair of the Risk Communication Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He recently co-authored a handbook on risk communication applied to food safety for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Dr. Hallman holds a B.S. (biology, psychology) from Juniata College (1983) and received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of South Carolina in 1989.
David Herring
David D. Herring is Chief of the Communication, Education and Engagement Division within NOAA's Climate Program Office, where he also serves as Program Manager for both NOAA and the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. After earning his Masters Degree in Technical Communication from East Carolina University in 1992, he has worked for 26 years as a science communicator and program / project manager for the federal government (at NOAA from 2008-present, and at NASA from 1992-2008). Over that span, David has initiated and led a number of successful communications and web development projects aimed at promoting public science literacy and greater civic engagement in policy-relevant science topics. Throughout his career, David has consistently followed “best practices” in information design, data visualization, storytelling, and audience engagement while also innovating new practices and building new, broad-based alliances across and beyond the federal government. David has received numerous awards for his work and is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Matthew Krehbiel
Matt Krehbiel is the Science Director at Achieve and coordinates their work to use implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a lever to improve science education for all students. He previously served as the State Science Supervisor in the Kansas State Department of Education, leading Kansas’ participation as a lead state in developing the NGSS. Mr. Krehbiel also served on the Board and later as President of the Council of State Science Supervisors, an organization that serves to coordinate and support efforts of the state science supervisors of all states. He is a member of the Board on Science Education for the National Research Council and, in that role, was on the committee that wrote the Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards. Mr. Krehbiel began his career in science education as a high school science teacher in Kansas, where he taught a wide range of high school science courses over ten years. He earned his B.A. in biology and natural sciences and his secondary teacher certification in general science, biology, and physics from Bethel College. He earned his M.S. in curriculum and instruction with a focus in science education from Kansas State University.
Maureen Lichtveld
Maureen Lichtveld, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, has more than 35 years of experience in environmental public health and is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She holds an endowed chair in environmental policy. Her research focuses on environmentally-induced disease, health disparities, environmental health policy, disaster preparedness, public health systems, and community resilience. Dr. Lichtveld’s track record in community-based participatory research includes the impact of chemical and non-chemical stressors on communities facing environmental health threats, disasters, and health disparities. As the Director of the Center for Gulf Coast Environmental Health Research, Leadership, and Strategic Initiatives, she serves as the Principal Investigator of several Gulf Coast–associated environmental health research and capacity-building projects. Dr. Lichtveld is a member of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council of the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the NAS Board on Global Health, the NAS Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, the NAS Committee on Measuring Community Resilience Consensus Study, and the Advisory Committee for the NASEM-wide Climate Communications Initiative. She served on the U.S. EPA Scientific Advisory Board, chaired the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Public Health, and is past President of the Hispanic Serving Health Professional Schools.
Sabrina McCormick
Sabrina McCormick is a sociologist and filmmaker whose work focuses on climate change. She has investigated how climate change affects human health, social movement tactics to affect climate outcomes, including engagement with the judicial system, and what motivates politically and geographically diverse audiences to act in response to stories about climate. She was a Lead Author on the Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and under the Obama Administration served on several committees for the Office of Science Technology & Policy. She also advised members of Congress and the U.S. Department of State. She served as an expert for the National Academies’ review of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s report Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Dr. McCormick produces media to convey climate change issues. Among other projects, Dr. McCormick’s film work includes her current feature fiction film, Tribe, set in the Brazilian Amazon; After the Cap, an interactive documentary on the Deepwater Horizon spill; and The Years of Living Dangerously, which won the Emmy for Best Documentary Series. She is the author of two books and more than 50 articles and book chapters. Dr. McCormick’s work is regularly featured in the media, including NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, Time Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and many other media outlets. She is an Associate Professor at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She received her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University, and she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Christopher P. Michel
Christopher Michel is an entrepreneur, investor & photographer. Chris manages Nautilus Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm he founded in 2008. Chris is also an experienced board member and serves as a Director of Dale Carnegie and Catchlight. Previously he was a Director of Castlight Health (NYSE: CSLT), IDG, 3D Robotics, Kixeye, Tugboat Yards, the USO, Alliance Health, etc. In 1999, he founded, an online portal for servicemembers, veterans and their families. was one of the first online social networks to reach scale in the United States. In 2006, Chris founded Affinity Labs, which runs a portfolio of online professional communities. Both companies were purchased by Monster Worldwide. Chris is also an advisor to the Center for Investigative Reporting, The Union of Concerned Scientists, and Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. Chris is also a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. He was previously a member of the Young President's Organization (YPO) and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Chris is also focused on science communication and has worked with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as a member of the President’s Circle and on the advisory board of the Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS). He was also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School during the 2010-2011 school year. Prior to his business career, Chris served as a Naval Flight Officer in the United States Navy. He holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an honorary Doctorate from Tiffin University.
Tancred Miller
Tancred Miller is the Coastal and Ocean Policy Manager for the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management within the Department of Environmental Quality, where he manages the division’s strategic planning and program enhancement functions. He has been with the Division of Coastal Management for 16 years and is the program lead for the coastal hazards and sea-level rise resilience program areas. He has been the division’s sea-level rise program lead for 10 years, coordinating two scientific assessment reports about relative sea-level rise in North Carolina. He has made numerous conference presentations about sea-level rise within the United States and participated in a climate change working group in Germany. He is frequently called on to speak with state and local government agencies, academia, and the private sector. He sits on the Advisory Committee to the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program and the Core Management Team for the North Carolina Sentinel Sites Cooperative. He is a former board member of the Bald Head Island Conservancy and the Duke University Marine Lab Advisory Board. Mr. Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse College in 1996 and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University in 1999, with a concentration in coastal environmental management.
Philip W. Mote
Philip Mote is Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Oregon State University and remains active as part of the NOAA-funded Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) for the Northwest. He has served as a lead author for the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on three US National Climate Assessments, and on nine committees of the National Academies, including chair of the Review of the Climate Science Special Report. He is the President of the Global Environmental Change Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and serves on AGU’s Council. He was founding director (2009-19) of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, and holds a faculty appointment in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. He has given more than 800 public talks about climate change, testified more than 12 times before committees of the U.S. Congress and the legislatures of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and has given hundreds of media interviews, appearing in Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Fox News, National Public Radio, The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, and many more. He earned a B.A. in physics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington.
Andrew Revkin
Andrew Revkin is one of America’s most honored and experienced environmental journalists and the founding director of the new Initiative on Communication and Sustainability at Columbia University's Earth Institute. At Columbia he is building programs, courses, tools and collaborations bridging communication gaps between science and society to cut climate risk and boost social and environmental resilience. Revkin has written on climate change for more than 30 years, reporting from the North Pole to the White House, the Amazon rain forest to the Vatican - mostly for The New York Times. He has held positions at National Geographic and Discover Magazine and won the top awards in science journalism multiple times, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship. Revkin has written acclaimed books on the history of humanity’s relationship with weather, the changing Arctic, global warming and the assault on the Amazon rain forest, as well as three book chapters on science communication. Two very different films have been based on his work: “Rock Star” (Warner Brothers, 2001) and the triple-Golden-Globe-winning 1994 HBO film “The Burning Season,” based on Revkin’s biography of slain rain forest defender Chico Mendes. A lifelong musician, he was a frequent accompanist of Pete Seeger and is a performing songwriter.
Louis Schick
Louis (Lou) Schick is a Partner and the Chief Technology Officer of NewWorld Capital Group, co-founded in June 2009. He does consulting with investment firms and companies to help with diligence, deal execution, project and portfolio company operations and asset management. Earlier, he was a Managing Director at Ritchie Capital Management, a hedge fund, where he oversaw a legacy portfolio of environmental businesses. Mr. Schick spent 8 years at General Electric, mainly in Corporate Research. He began as a Product Service Engineer supporting the installation and repair of gas turbine power plants worldwide. Subsequently, his senior roles included leading the evaluation of Disruptive Technologies for GE Energy. He functioned as a developer and head of GE’s solid oxide fuel cell program and Master Black Belt focusing on low-carbon technologies. In his role as head of the solid oxide fuel cell program, he led a team of more than 100 scientists and researchers in 5 facilities and participated in strategic partnership negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, and government relations. Mr. Schick graduated cum laude with a B.S. in physics and membership in Phi Beta Kappa from Union College and holds an M.S. in physics from Cornell University.
Susan F. Tierney
Susan Tierney, a Senior Advisor at Analysis Group, is an expert on energy economics, regulation, and policy, particularly in the electric and gas industries. She has consulted with businesses, government agencies, foundations, tribes, environmental groups, and other organizations on energy markets, economic and environmental regulation and strategy, and climate-related energy policies. She has participated as an expert in civil litigation cases, regulatory proceedings before state and federal agencies, and business consulting engagements. Previously, she served as the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, and was the Secretary for Environmental Affairs in Massachusetts, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Council. She co-authored the energy chapter of the National Climate Assessment, and serves on the boards of ClimateWorks Foundation, Barr Foundation, Energy Foundation, Resources for the Future, and World Resources Institute. She taught at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the University of California, Irvine, and has lectured at Harvard University, Yale University, New York University, Tufts University, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan. She earned her Ph.D. and Masters in regional planning at Cornell University and her B.A. at Scripps College.
Amanda C. Purcell - (Staff Officer)


Event Type :  

Description :   

This public meeting was held on March 6-7, 2018 to familiarize the Advisory Committee with science communication research and current climate communications and to gather input from potential audiences and stakeholders on needs from, and opportunities for, the NASEM in this space. The Advisory Committee used this input to inform their development of the CCI Strategic Plan. Agenda and archived videos from the event can be viewed here:

Registration for Online Attendance :   

Registration for in Person Attendance :   

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Amanda Purcell
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  -

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Publication(s) resulting from the event: