AGU leadership professes its willingness to head-up an aggressive public policy and ‘education’ campaign directed at congressional skeptics.

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 3, 2012 — The “new AGU.”

The term arose from a questioner in the audience. A Rutgers University scientist was responding to comments by Chris McEntee, AGU executive director.

McEntee had spoken formally during her presentation about having AGU lead an effort involving major scientific societies in “educating” Congress on what unquestionably is an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists on a full range of issues. AGU earlier had led the groups in bringing leading society officials to Washington on climate change issues, but the new effort seems destined to go beyond that in intensity and duration, including strategic targeting of specific legislators.

“It’s not something the old AGU would do,” Rutgers’ Alan Robock said from the floor, but McEntee’s statements received overwhelmingly favorable reaction from those in attendance.

Having and showing a stiff backbone can pose daunting challenges for membership organizations such as AGU. Whether the group has the spine to withstand the heat in the kitchen will be well worth watching in coming months.

One question worth considering: If not AGU … then who? The only other conceivable entity potentially having the chops (resources and leadership potential) might be AAAS. For now, AGU has, says it wants, and can shoulder the burden. Lots of climate scientists hope that’s so, but few are suggesting it will be a smooth and easy road.

Bud Ward

Bud Ward is Editor of Yale Climate Connections. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Air Quality,...