Non-profit

Center for Climate Change Communication (4C)

The Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) is a research organization focused on promoting a left-of-center narrative around climate change. 4C is part of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

4C conducts research on public perceptions of climate change and then uses that research to advocate for environmentalist policy through communications with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. [1]

History

George Mason University professors Edward Maibach and Connie Roser-Renouf founded 4C in 2007 while pursuing a research partnership with Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

The following year, 4C conducted its first Climate Change in the American Mind (CCAM) national public opinion poll with the support of the Yale program. [2] Starting in 2009, 4C turned its attention to portraying climate change as an issue of public health. [3] 4C runs a Program on Climate and Health, an initiative that argues that fossil fuel use is leading to climate change and unspecified “health harms” and advocates for the use of renewable energy. [4]

Throughout 2010 and 2011, 4C launched a nationwide, localized climate reporting initiative called Climate Matters with multiple partners. [5] Climate Matters provides weekly reporting materials to 900 weather-casters across the country, leveraging the trust that people have in TV weather reporters to encourage increased reporting on climate stories to make the issue more prevalent in American media. [6]

In 2012, former U.S. Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC) and conservative climate activist Alex Bozmoski, who coined the phrase “EcoRight” to support Republican efforts to adopt environmentalism, joined together to form the Energy and Enterprise Initiative within 4C. [7] The Initiative became a nominally right-leaning grassroots community organizing effort called RepublicEn in 2014. [8] RepublicEn advocates for public education surrounding supposedly “free enterprise” policy approaches to climate change, including the use of a carbon tax to curb conventional energy usage. [9]

People

Center for Climate Change Communication founder Edward Maibach is a University Professor at George Mason University and the current director of 4C. [10] Maibach has been involved in a number of national climate change committees, including sitting on the National Climate Assessment and Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2014, advising the Obama administration and producing the Third National Climate Assessment. [11] During the Clinton administration, Maibach worked to plan a multi-billion dollar communications campaign with the Office of National Drug Control Policy. [12] Maibach has criticized conservative approaches to climate change in the past, accusing President Donald Trump’s administration of intending to “perpetuate the myth that there is no scientific consensus” around climate change. [13]

4C co-founder Connie Roser-Renouf works as the co-principal investigator for the Yale/George Mason University Climate Change in the American Mind research program. In her position, Roser-Renouf designs surveys used to assemble and analyze public attitudes towards climate change. [14]

Former Rep. Inglis is still involved with 4C and claims he lost the 2010 South Carolina  Republican primary election as a result of his advocacy in favor of left-of-center environmentalist regulations. [15] Inglis has been promoted by left-of-center media outlets as the “conservative who believes that climate change is real.” [16]

Partnerships

Center for Climate Change Communication has collaborated with a number of left-of-center organizations to support its policy and research agendas, receiving support from groups including Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Rockefeller Family Fund, and the environmentalist Town Creek Foundation. [17] 4C has used funding from the Rockefeller Family Fund since 2016 in order to fund policy advocacy initiatives related to 4C’s environmentalist research. [18]

4C has also partnered with a number of federal government agencies, including the National Park Service (NPS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Beginning in 2012, 4C partnered with NPS to hire interns to communicate left-of-center theories about the impact of climate change on national parks to park visitors. [19] 4C’s other government partnerships have been used to fuel and public opinion research projects in support of environmentalism. [20]

In 2008 and 2012, 4C conducted national surveys with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) which concluded that “local public health departments are seeing increases in climate change-related health problems.” [21][22]

Activity

Center for Climate Change Communication was created to support environmentalist research and communicate left-of-center attitudes towards climate change to the general public, government bodies, and corporations. [23] The group asserts that there is a scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human actions, that climate change is harmful to human beings, and that climate change can be “solved” through human action. [24]

 

4C’s approach to climate change follows the standards set by the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, which introduce rigorous emissions standards and other environmentalist goals for all participating countries. 4C suggests that the goals set by the Accords can be achieved, but “lack sufficient public and political will” for legislative solutions to be implemented. [25] 4C was created to build political will to implement left-of-center climate change legislation. xxvii

Programs

4C operates six separate programs to support environmentalist research and advocacy. Its inaugural program, Climate Change in the American Mind, is a survey project that investigates public support for environmentalism. The program is operated in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and survey findings have been published in a variety of journals and reports. The Congressional Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change has also cited the results of 4C surveying. xxviii 4C also claims that the program influenced Obama White House environmentalist activism. [26]

4C runs two separate programs to influence media reporting on climate change. The organization’s Climate Matters program provides weekly talking points and localized broadcast materials to more than 900 on-air weathercasters at news stations across the United States, covering 90% of all American media markets. [27] xxix 4C claims that this program has increased television weathercasting on climate change 33-fold between 2012 and 2019. xxix

4C’s “4D Media” project focuses on “fact-checking” climate change information in the media. [28] 4D Media alleges that there is rampant misinformation about climate change, which the project seeks to identify and challenge through the media by responding to any skepticism of climate science. [29] [30] 4C has also partnered with the National Park Service to provide a paid summer internship program for students and young professionals to tell national park visitors about climate change. [31]

4C also operates the Program on Climate and Health, through which 4C has formed the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. The Consortium includes 29 medical societies and 53 affiliate organizations that seek to communicate the alleged long-term human health benefits associated with abandoning fossil fuels and adopting renewable energy. [32] The program also runs the Health and Climate Solutions program, which argues that climate change damages the physical health of minority populations, in partnership with the left-of-center Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. [33]

Aside from promoting left-of-center approaches to environmental policy, 4C started a program called “RepublicEn” in an attempt to convince conservatives to act to combat climate change through purportedly “free enterprise” left-progressive approaches, most notably a tax on carbon emissions. [34]

Strategy

4C promotes environmentalist policy through research, training programs, and public engagement that advocates for left-of-center action on climate change. 4C’s Climate Change in the American Mind project exists to argue that Americans are becoming increasingly open to climate regulation. Most of 4C’s research is sociological and concerns perceptions of climate change, rather than climate change itself. As such, 4C frequently conducts public opinion surveys and uses data from populate culture, such as the impact of Pope Francis’s papal encyclicals mentioning climate change, to argue that Americans now see climate change as a moral issue. [35]

In addition to running research programs, 4C educates university students and professionals in communicating left-of-center messages on climate change through its media engagement initiatives and its National Parks Service internship program. xxxv

4C’s overall mission is to engage with various public and private actors to push for left-of-center environmentalist reform. As such, 4C officials are often cited as news authorities on climate change. [36]

Aside from communicating environmentalist ideals to the public, 4C has directly worked with the government to produce climate research, helping to draft the Third National Climate Assessment under the Obama administration in 2014. [37]

References

  1. “What We Do.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/what-we-do/ ^
  2. “Our Story, 2008.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/announcement/2008-2/ ^
  3. Maibach, Edward W, et al. “Reframing Climate Change as a Public Health Issue: an Exploratory Study of Public Reactions.” BMC Public Health, vol. 10, no. 1, Jan. 2010 Accessed January 7, 2020. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-10-299 ^
  4. “Program on Climate & Health.” Center For Climate Change Communication, August 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/programclimatehealth/. ^
  5. “Our Story, 2011.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/announcement/2011-2/ ^
  6. “Climate Matters: Helping TV Weathercasters and Journalists Report Local Climate Change Stories.” Center For Climate Change Communication, August 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/weathercasters/. ^
  7. “Our Story, 2012.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/announcement/2012-2/ ^
  8. “Our Story, 2014.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/announcement/2014-2/ ^
  9. “Climate Matters: Helping TV Weathercasters and Journalists Report Local Climate Change Stories.” Center For Climate Change Communication, August 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/weathercasters/. ^
  10. “People and Partners, Edward Maibach.” Center for Climate Change Communication.

    https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio-view/edward-maibach-4/ ^

  11. “Edward Wile Maibach.” Communication. George Mason University. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://communication.gmu.edu/people/emaibach. ^
  12. “Edward Wile Maibach.” Communication. George Mason University. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://communication.gmu.edu/people/emaibach. ^
  13. Arrieta-Kenna, Ruairí. “Almost 90% of Americans Don’t Know There’s Scientific Consensus on Global Warming.” Vox. Vox Media Company, July 6, 2017. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/7/6/15924444/global-warming-consensus-survey. ^
  14. “People and Partners, Connie Roser-Renouf, PhD.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio-view/connie-roser-renouf-phd/ ^
  15. “People and Partners, Bob Inglis.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio-view/bob-inglis/ ^
  16. “A Conservative Who Believes That Climate Change Is Real.” Yale E360. Accessed October 23, 2019. https://e360.yale.edu/features/interview_bob_inglis_conservative_who_believes_climate_change_is_real. ^
  17. “Partners and Sponsors .” Center For Climate Change Communication. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio_tag/partners-and-sponsors/page/3/. ^
  18. “Partners and Sponsors .” Center For Climate Change Communication. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio_tag/partners-and-sponsors/page/3/. ^
  19. “People and Partners, National Park Service.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio-view/national-park-service-2/ ^
  20. “Partners and Sponsors .” Center For Climate Change Communication. Accessed October 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio_tag/partners-and-sponsors/page/3/. ^
  21. “People and Partners, Association of Country and City Health Professionals.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio-view/naccho/ ^
  22. “People and Partners, Town Creek Foundation.” Center for Climate Change Communication. ://www.climatechangecommunication.org/portfolio-view/town-creek-foundation/ ^
  23. “What is Climate Change Communication.” Yale Program on Climate Change

    Communication.https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/about/what-is-climate-change-communication/ ^

  24. “Why a Center for Climate Change Communication?” Center for Climate Change

    Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/why/ ^

  25. “We can solve this problem if we work on it.” Center for Climate Change Communication.

    http://climatechangecommunication.org/its-solvable/ ^

  26. “Climate Change in the American Mind.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/climate-change-in-the-american-mind/ ^
  27. “Climate Matters: Helping TV Weathercasters and Journalists Report Local Climate Change Stories.” Center For Climate Change Communication, August 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/weathercasters/. ^
  28. “4D Project.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/4d-project/ ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. “NPS Internship Program.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/internship_program/ ^
  32. “Program on Climate & Health.” Center For Climate Change Communication, August 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/programclimatehealth/. ^
  33. “Program on Climate & Health.” Center For Climate Change Communication, August 17, 2020. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/programclimatehealth/ ^
  34. “What We Do: Research.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/research/ ^
  35. “What We Do: Research.” Center for Climate Change Communication. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/research/ ^
  36. “Engagement.” Center For Climate Change Communication, June 28, 2018. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/engagement/. ^
  37. “Engagement.” Center For Climate Change Communication, June 28, 2018. https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/engagement/. ^
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