Scientists must speak out on climate change – academic

The Nelson Mail‘s Sarah Young reports on Professor Glenn McGregor’s presentation at the 34th Annual Meteorological Conference, in which he called on scientists to step up on issues like climate change.

An excerpt (read in full here):

Scientists urged to be outspoken

Society needs to take more responsibility for its effect on the climate – but scientists need to speak out more, too, says a leading climatology expert visiting Nelson.

Professor Glenn McGregor, head of the School of Environment at the University of Auckland and chief editor of the International Journal of Climatology, spoke on the “complex and challenging” relationship between society and climate to a range of scientists, graduate students and research companies at the 34th Annual Meteorological Conference held for the first time in Nelson yesterday and today.

In his presentation Climate and Society: What We Know and What We Need to Know, Prof McGregor said the relationship between climate and society was often one where climate was viewed as both a hazard and constraint.

Traditional relationship analyses focused on the impact of climate events, and tended to avoid diagnosing the possible societal causes of the impacts resulting from climate events, he said.

Another issue scientists still did not understand very well was how the public thought about, and valued, climate and other scientific matters, and often public opinion was “shaped by those who are willing to stand up and speak”.

“And regrettably in New Zealand, the folk who occupy the stage most of the time are the people who question climate science.

“So maybe it’s incumbent on scientists like us to be a bit more forthright about these things when we’re worried, the reasons for that and [explain] how we do our climate science.

“I think we need to engage much more on a more regular basis so the public can build trust in science.”

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