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Ogmius Newsletter

Recent Prometheus Blogs

As always, Center staff members and students, as well as guest writers, have contributed many provocative posts to our science policy weblog, Prometheus.  The following is a sample of recent posts (feedback/contributions welcome):

The Assessors Assessing the Assessments
by Kevin Vranes

Fresh out of the National Academies, commissioned by the CCSP, is a fabulous new climate-related assessment: Analysis of Global Change Assessments: Lessons Learned. The report identifies for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program the essential elements of effective global change assessments, including strategic framing, engagement of stakeholders, credible treatment of uncertainties, and a transparent interface between policymakers and scientists. The report reviews lessons learned from past assessments, which are intended to inform policymakers about the scientific underpinnings of critical environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and ozone depletion.

Which would be great, but for two things we can identify right off the bat:

  1. The most identifiable end user of a climate change assessment is the federal-level (and perhaps state-level) policy maker… read more.

NOAA’s New Media Policy: A Recipe for Conflict
by Roger Pielke, Jr.

The Department of Commerce, the parent agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has released a new media policy for its employees (thanks to an alert Prometheus reader for pointing us to it). The new policy was prepared in response to criticisms levied against the agency for its media policies related to agency scientists which some viewed as over-bearing and too politicized. Unfortunately, the new policy does little to address the challenges of public communication in highly politicized contexts, and probably makes things worse.

The new media policy can be found in PDF. It seeks to draw dark lines between different activities and information. For instance, the policy seeks to distinguish a "Fundamental Research Communication" from an "Official Communication." A FRC is defined as:

a Public Communication that relates to the Department's programs, policies, or operations and takes place or is prepared officially (i.e., under Section 6.03a. 1-4) and that deals with the products of basic or applied research in science or engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community, so long as the communication does not contain information that is… read more.