This month’s “This is Not Cool” original video captures the underlying mood – “Stand up for Science” – on the lips of many of the climate scientists at the recent American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco.

It wasn’t so much during the countless official technical presentations or the formal question-and-answer sessions following them that those concerns were aired. Nor were the expressions limited solely to the climate and earth scientists who attended the annual meeting, which as usual attracted more than 22,000 registrants from across the world, although it was among just those scientists that the feelings appeared most intense.

The concerns were voiced most openly during a nearby demonstration in which several dozen climate scientists joined with a couple hundred AGU attendees and others. The concerns were expressed too in the scores of hallways just outside official meeting rooms during the week-long conference … and also during the signature AGU fall meeting afternoon breaks, where cold beer was served along with the usual coffee, tea, water, and soft drinks.

In the 5-1/2 minute video by Yale Climate Connections independent videographer Peter Sinclair, University of Washington scientist Sarah Myhre showed the emotions she and other climate scientists feel, but frequently try to hide, in dealing with aspects of the climate issue. “If I have to come forward as a real person, then so be it,” she said, emphasizing that scientists “really care, we care a lot, about how the information is communicated.”

AGU scientist: 'If I have to come forward as a real person, then so be it.' Click To Tweet

“I’m a real person.”

Including remarks dealing specifically with climate science by several leading researchers, the video turns to an AGU talk by California Governor Jerry Brown. He reminded a large noon audience that in 1978 he had been labeled “Governor Moonbeam” for suggesting California might launch its own climate satellite. Noting transition-period speculation that Trump administration officials might ratchet down on NASA climate research, Brown said, “I didn’t get that moniker for nothin’. And if Trump turns off the satellite, California will launch its own damned satellite. We’re going to collect that data.” His audience erupted with laughter and applause.

The video concludes with footage from the nearby demonstration, where climate scientists and their advocates were carrying “Stand up for Science” and similar placards.

“None of us wanted to be here,” Harvard University science historian Naomi Oreskes said there. Pointing to “a moment in time, a moment in history,” Oreskes said that in addition to continuing their scientific research, climate scientists now have to “do something else as well, and that’s stand up and be counted.”

The views displayed in the video are consistent with those AGU Executive Director and CEO Chris McEntee expressed in a recent Yale Climate Connections posting. “During such times of uncertainty,” McEntee said, “science must not sit quietly on the sidelines…. Each of us must speak up and give voice to the value of science … be a strong voice for climate science, scientific integrity, and funding for research.”

Topics: Climate Science, Policy & Politics