Lancet Countdown on Climate Change

KGNU How on Earth
November 14, 2017

Lancet Countdown on Climate Change(starts 3:45) Respectable science journals no longer debate whether human activity causes climate change, or even if it can be reversed to prevent human suffering.  They now scramble to figure out what will be the cost and who will pay.  The bill will be payable in lost lives and livelihoods.  The British Medical Journal, The Lancet has assembled an interdisciplinary team of scientists to help tally this enormous global bill.  On October 30th they released their 2017 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change.  The report concludes that the delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has already jeopardized human lives and livelihoods, and the impacts must be assessed in terms of global public health.  One of the contributors to that report is local climate scientist, Max Boykoff, a fellow at CIRES in Boulder, where he directs the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.

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CSTPR 2018 Seed Fund Winners for Common Themes Development

Over the past few years (2016-2017), CSTPR has developed four common themes and priority areas for research, education and service. These are (1) Science and Technology Policy, (2) Innovations in Governance and Sustainability, (3) Drivers of Risk Management Decisions, and (4) Communication and Societal Change.

CSTPR put a call out for proposals that solicit funding and that will further develop our four themes in the upcoming 2018 calendar year. The winning proposals will support CSTPR-related efforts as they provide initial support for further development of the projects. These will then help carry out our CSTPR mission and vision.

2018 Seed Fund Winners

Science and Technology Policy Theme and Drivers of Risk Management Decisions Theme
Emerging Responses to Genetically Modified Crops in Boulder County
Amanda Carrico, lead



Innovations in Governance and Sustainability Theme
Water Equity Project Workshop
Steve Vanderheiden, lead



Science and Technology Policy Theme and Drivers of Risk Management Decisions Theme
Building a Network of VAR (Vulnerability, Adaptation, Resilience) Researchers in the Intermountain West
Lisa Dilling, lead



Communication and Societal Change Theme
Environmental and Science Communication Workshops and Curriculum
Phaedra C. Pezzullo, lead



These winners will share their seed-funded accomplishments with the CSTPR community by delivering a Wednesday noontime seminar in the 2018-2019 academic year. Stay tuned.

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Women in Science, November 8

Date: November 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Join Women of the J and the Weizmann Institute of Science for an evening discussing Women in Science. During this program, you will hear perspectives from Dr. Yael Kuperman of the Weizmann Institute in Israel as well as Dr. Rebecca Safran from CU Boulder.
Topics will include:
  • Each scientists specific path, describing obstacles, supports and inspiration along the way.
  • What programs and processes can encourage women to pursue careers in science?
  • What part do peers and role models play?
  • How are philanthropy and science intertwined?
Get these questions answered and hear from two inspiring female scientists! Mark your calendars. More information to come.
Wednesday, November 8 | 6:30 pm | $15, includes wine and cheese | Chautauqua Community House (900 Baseline Road)
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Assistant Professor Position: Environmental Economist at University of Colorado Boulder

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder seeks applications for a tenure-track assistant professor position with a research and teaching emphasis in the field of environmental economics. Applicants should show a record of research including quantitative analyses or modeling of relevance to the environment, such as ecosystem services, climate, natural disasters, coupled human and natural systems, decision sciences, science and technology policy, or sustainability of environmental resources. The successful candidate will have commitments to undergraduate and graduate instruction as a faculty member within an appropriate academic department, and will conduct research through CIRES as a Fellow of CIRES.

Minimum requirements include a PhD in a field of study such as those listed above. Applicants should submit a CV, a statement of research and teaching interests, sample research papers, and names and contact information for 3 professional references. Application materials will be accepted electronically here, posting number 11693. Application review will begin 1 December, and we will continue to accept applications until the position is filled.

The University of Colorado is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to building a diverse workforce. We encourage applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans. Alternative formats of this ad can be provided upon request for individuals with disabilities by contacting the ADA Coordinator at:

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MeCCO Monthly Summary: The Ebbs and Flows in Media Coverage of Climate Change

Media and Climate Change Observatory (MeCCO)
October 2017 Summary

October media attention to climate change and global warming was down just slightly (7%) throughout the world from the previous month of September 2017. This decrease was felt regionally in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, while counts held steady in the Middle East and as they increased slightly in Oceania and South America. Compared to counts from fifty-two sources across twenty-eight countries in seven regions around the world in October 2016 (a year ago), the global numbers were up about 7%. However, coverage in the month was 37% below the average number of stories appearing each month in 2017 (approximately 3631 stories per month from January – October 2017). Scaling down from the global to monitoring in eight countries, coverage was also up from the previous month of September 2017 in Australia (20%), Spain (2%) and New Zealand (27%). Coverage was down in Canada (-19%), Germany (-9%), India (-7%), the United Kingdom (UK) (-21%), and the United States (US) (-18%).

Figure 1 above shows these ebbs and flows in media coverage – organized into seven geographical regions around the world – from January 2004 through October 2017.

With our expansion of monitoring into Spanish-language and German-language coverage in recent years, Figure 2 shows word frequency data from three representative Spanish-language sources (on left): El País (Spain), La Nación (Argentina) and El Nacional (Venezuela). These are words (four letters or more) in articles containing the terms ‘calentamiento global’ or ‘cambio climático’. Word frequency data from two representative German-language sources (on right) are TAZ – Die Tageszeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung (both from Germany). These are words (four letters or more) in articles containing the terms ‘klimawandel’ or ‘globale erwärmung’.

Figure 3 shows word frequency data in the United States (top left), Canada (top right), Australia (bottom left) and India (bottom right) in October 2017. The five representative US sources are The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. The three representative Canadian sources are The Globe & Mail, The National Post and the Toronto Star. The five representative Australian sources are The Age, The Australian, The Courier Mail, The Daily Telegraph & Sunday Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald. The four representative Indian sources are The Hindu, The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express.

As Figure 3 (top left) shows, in the US, media attention continued to focus on movements relating to the Donald J. Trump Administration (in)actions. While this was also the case in previous months of 2017 around the world (see Figure 2 in the February 2017 for an example of Trump coverage in Australia, New Zealand and the UK), the ‘Trump Dump’ – where media attention that would have focused on other climate-related events and issues instead was placed on Trump-related actions (leaving many other stories untold) – appears to be limited to the US media-scape in October 2017. In US news articles related to climate change or global warming, Trump was invoked 2399 times through the 274 stories this month (a remarkable ratio of nearly 9 times per article on average) in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. However, in contrast in the UK press, Trump was mentioned in the Daily Mail & Mail on Sunday, Guardian & The Observer, The Sun, the Daily Telegraph & Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mirror & Sunday Mirror, The Scotsman & Scotland on Sunday, and The Times & The Sunday Times 535 times in 498 October articles.

These stories lead into wider considerations of attention paid to political content of coverage during the month. In this arena, Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer from The New York Times reported in mid-October on US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s initiation of the federal rollback of the Clean Power Plan, despite the lack of a replacement measure to propose in its place. Timothy Puko from The Wall Street Journal reported on power plants nonetheless staying the course for emissions reductions plan due to technological capabilities, consumer demand and cheap natural gas driving demand. While reports of morale being lifted in some coal companies and the coal community, widespread opposition like that reported by Oliver Milman in The Guardian effectively characterized the outdated effort like something akin to saving the eight-track tape in the age of digital music production (a major difference being that this EPA rollback cuts to the heart of carbon-based industry and society as well as to one of the greatest environmental challenges of the 21st century). And as politics met economics in October, Nathan Bomey in USA Today reported how two big US auto companies – General Motors and Ford – announced plans to introduce over thirty models combined in the next five to six years while news reports at the end of the month discussed the US Bureau of Labor Statistics new data that US solar installation and wind technician jobs are the fastest growing, with plans to double by 2026. These business trends and innovations were discussed as catalysts for policy measures to potentially follow.

In October, coverage relating to ecological and meteorological issues grabbed a great deal of attention. Stories like a piece in The Times (UK) on floods and landslides killing at least 68 people in Vietnam after a tropical depression hit the central and northern regions of the country in early October were followed by stories like an article by Jacques Leslie in the Los Angeles Times about the devastating northern California wildfires and their record-breaking human toll as well as widespread property damage, and a piece by Dino Grandoni in The Washington Post (US) linking these wildfires to economic costs to the US Federal government.

Across the globe in October, there were a range of stories that pervaded the cultural arena. Polls in October pointed consistently to willingness to support and take action on climate change around the world. For example, Seth Borenstein and Emily Swanson – in an article then run in a number of national sources – reported on a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago that more than half of US Americans want state and local governments to step up and act on climate change in the absence of US Federal action. And amid many scientific studies on climate change and interconnected issues in October, Amina Khan from the Los Angeles Times covered a new study in Science Advances linking strains in the marine foodweb, ocean warming, El Niño Southern Oscillation and a changing climate.

Heading into the United Nations climate change negotiations (COP23) in Bonn, Germany on November 6-17, preceded by a much-anticipated US Global Change Research Program Report released by thirteen US agencies in early November (with findings at odds with the stance of the Trump Administration), November will be a fascinating month for news on climate change or global warming. We will also see if the ‘Trump Dump’ influence continues to wane in the months to come.

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Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere in Shanghai

by Phaedra C. Pezzullo, CSTPR Faculty Affiliate

In October, I traveled to Fudan University in Shanghai, China, to co-teach a course in environmental communication. The invitation was extended, in part, because I coauthored a textbook with three-time Sierra Club President and Emeritus Professor Robert Cox, Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere (fifth edition forthcoming). I gave three lectures: Western conceptions of the public sphere; Science and risk communication; and Environmental and climate justice movements.

When we address communication and social change, context matters. In the US, democratic rights related to environmental policy are under attack: the right to know has diminished as the current administration has removed data from government websites (for example, the removal of climate data and civil rights information) and there appears to be an endless list of rolled back environmental protections (for example, these 23 regulations removed in the first 100 days). Despite the devastating impacts of neoliberal US policy, most of us hold on to democracy as an ideal driving our engagement in networked public spheres, which shape government decision-making about public goods. Yet, democracy isn’t the only system of governance for environmental action.

Like the US, there is no lack of Chinese ecological and human rights challenges. In terms of an energy transition, however, China is exceeding the US in most ways without appealing to democratic ideals. China’s solar boom is perhaps most astonishing, installing “more than 34 gigawatts of solar capacity in 2016 – more than double the figure for the US and nearly half of the total added capacity worldwide that year.” China, therefore, employs 2.5 million people in the solar sector alone, compared to 260,000 in the US (with the current administration’s focus on bringing back coal jobs). Presumably in response to US President Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stated this year:

Climate change is a global consensus. It was not invented by China. We recognize that this is a global consensus and agreement, and as a big developing nation, we should shoulder our dual international responsibility, that is to join hands with all other countries to cope with this challenge, and realize green, sustainable, low-carbon development.”

When I asked students what modes of communication they found to be most successful for publicizing pollution concerns, they offered answers we might hear anywhere: making time lapse videos, sharing compelling images, and connecting stories to people personally. While they appreciated learning about US environmental advocates’ use of projection bombing and time lapse images of coral reefs or glaciers, I valued learning about the cutting-edge features of the tallest green building in the world (based in Shanghai) and ancient concepts such as “jingwei ziran (敬畏自然),” signifying a reverence for nature. They appeared reassured that I affirmed the global commitment to climate action, despite the lack of US leadership these days.

At COP21 in Paris, my faith in international negotiations for a peaceful solution to climate chaos was rekindled. Although we face uncertainties in the US today and no nation is perfect, cross-cultural opportunities such as this one reaffirm my hope that global environmental progress is possible. I look forward to returning to China in June to speak about the Green Public Sphere and Environmental Communication at the Second Biennial Conference on Communication, Media, and Governance in the Age of Globalization; feel welcome to apply to the CFP.

Photo caption: Professor Pezzullo at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

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2017 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Released

CSTPR Director, Max Boykoff contributed to comprehensive, UK-led report on critical connections between climate change and human health

Climate change is unequivocally affecting the health of people around the world today, with a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations, according to an international report published today in the prestigious medical journal Lancet.

The delayed response to climate change during the past 25 years has already jeopardized human life and livelihoods around the globe, concluded the report, whose 55 authors includes CIRES Fellow Max Boykoff, a University of Colorado Boulder associate professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.

Boykoff and his colleagues contributed to the Lancet report an assessment of trends in scientific publications about climate change and human health—such papers are increasing markedly, the team found. And they found that media coverage of climate change and human health is on the rise globally, but not so in Europe or North America.

“We care about media coverage because the media help foster individual and community discussion about the challenges associated with a changing climate,” said Boykoff. “And media coverage can influence policy decision making, too,” said Boykoff.

The new report, “The 2017 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change,” is an international research collaboration that provides a global overview of the relationship between public health and climate change. This year’s report follows the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change.

After considering 40 indicators, the report’s authors described several overarching conclusions:

  1. The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible, affecting the health of populations around the world, today.
  2. The delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has jeopardised human lives and livelihoods.
  3. Health professionals are essential to drive forward progress on understanding and responding to the impacts of climate change.
  4. Although action has been historically slow, the past five years have seen an accelerated response to climate change, and in 2017, momentum is building across a number of sectors.

Report contributors include academics and technical experts from 24 institutions around the globe, such as the World Bank, World Health Organization, University College London, and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Researchers used 40 unique indicators (including health themes such as exposure and vulnerability to climate change, mitigation techniques, and economic impacts) to assess the global response to climate change and its associated impacts on human health. For example:

  • 125 million medically vulnerable adults are exposed to heatwaves globally between 2000 and 2016.
  • 87 percent of cities globally are in breach of the World Health Organization’s air pollution guidelines.
  • Undernutrition is the largest health impact of climate change in the 21st century.
  • Over one billion people globally will need to migrate within 90 years due to a rise in sea level.
  • Weather-related disasters are up 46 percent since 2000.

The report calls for global action in the wake of these impacts, recommending:

  • Investing in climate change and public health research,
  • Scaling up financing for climate-resilient health systems, and
  • With human health concerns in mind, phasing out coal-fired power and expanding access to renewable energy to help the 2.7 billion people in the world who rely for energy on the burning of unsafe and unsustainable solid fuels.

*This story was modified from Lancet Communications.

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2018 Radford Byerly, Jr. Award in Science and Technology Policy

The Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at CU-Boulder is offering a $1500 award to an eligible CU-Boulder student. More Info.

This award is named in honor of Rad Byerly, who earned a B.A. and M.A. in physics at Williams College, and a Ph.D. in physics at Rice University.  After several years in laboratory research as a postdoctoral fellow at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA), at CU-Boulder, Rad moved to Washington, D.C., for a long career in science policy.  He served more than twenty years as staff on the Science Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, ultimately as staff director to Chairman George E. Brown (D-CA) who believed, as did Rad, that government-funded scientific research had a duty to serve society and its citizens as well as to expand knowledge of the natural world.  In the late 1980s Rad also directed the Center for Space and Geosciences Policy at CU-Boulder, and at the end of his career, delighted in mentoring and working with graduate students at CSTPR/CIRES as they grappled with problems of science, politics, and public policy.

Award Eligibility
Applicants must be full-time, CU-Boulder campus, degree-seeking graduate students in good standing in any academic department.

Award Criteria

  • A commitment to making a significant contribution to science and technology policy through a career in academia; state, local, or federal government service; the private sector; voluntary organizations; journalism and the media; or some other form of public service that advances the role of science and technology in service to society.
  • Demonstrated potential for such contributions through publications, community outreach and organization, or paid and/or voluntary employment either on or off campus.
  • High academic achievement.

Application Process
Applicants shall submit a two-page statement describing how they meet the criteria for the award; an unofficial academic transcript; CV; and one letter of recommendation by midnight December 4, 2017 to The award will be distributed January 2018.

The award recipient is expected to make one presentation in CSTPR’s noontime seminar series on a topic of his/her choice and write one article for the CSTPR blog, Prometheus in Fall 2018.

Applicants will be notified by December 15, 2017

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The 15th Anniversary of CSTPR: Science and Technology Policy Research in a Unique Space

by Alison Gilchrist, CSTPR Science Writing Intern

This year, the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) celebrates its fifteenth anniversary since being recognized as an official University center in 2002. In its fifteen years, CSTPR has weathered major political, social and economic changes—not to mention some severe cold snaps. Through it all, the center has been an important bridge between science and policy for all of the faculty and students who have been involved, as well as the many CSTPR collaborators.

To celebrate the anniversary, CSTPR hosted a keynote address by Brian Deese, Former Climate and Energy Advisor to US President Obama. At the event, Max Boykoff, current director of CSTPR, gave a short introduction in which he talked about the center’s beginnings.

He quoted Susan Avery, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Director from 1994 to 2004 and Assistant Director of CSTPR at the time it was founded: “Developing the center provided a means of establishing research and education programs that focused on the growing need for a connection between science and society.”

Avery called the period in which CSTPR was developed an “interesting and exciting time”—sentiments expressed by many of the people who were instrumental in founding the center and defining its goals. Boykoff, who arrived in 2009, says that CSTPR was already an exciting and unique place by the time he became director in January 2016.

“There aren’t that many places where there can be these kinds of cross-disciplinary collaborations undertaken in consistent, sustained and systematic ways,” said Boykoff. “So an institute like CIRES—well, that was one of the reasons I came to Boulder to take this job. CSTPR really occupies a unique and important space.”

In 2016, Boykoff took the opportunity to clearly define the goals and priorities of CSTPR.

“When I stepped in as Director, we had an opportunity to take a fresh look,” said Boykoff. “there’s a really broad expanse of science and technology policy research, so we went through a process of identifying some of our priority areas and themes.”

Four themes solidify the vision and mission of CSTPR in 2017 and going forward. The first, ‘Science and Technology Policy’, involves studying decisions made at the science-policy interface. This theme describes studies of research processes intended to co-produce science between scientists and stakeholders—a critically important goal for those who want to make science immediately useful for policy makers and the public.

‘Innovations in Governance and Sustainability’, a key theme for many CSTPR researchers, involves studying how sustainability challenges can be addressed by policy. As climate change becomes increasingly addressed in policy, projects related to this theme continue to be incredibly important contributions that CSTPR makes. Similarly, pursuing research along the ‘Drivers of Risk Management Decisions’ theme, for example by studying how individuals and institutions make decisions to respond and adapt to perceived risks, can help us understand the ways in which governments can respond to crises related to climate change.

Finally, projects in the theme of ‘Communication and Societal Change’ helps analyze how representations of science and technology can increase or hamper their reach and impact in various target sectors and in the greater public. Boykoff discussed how all four of the themes are clearly visible in the research projects being carried out by CSTPR scientists today.

Students and faculty who have passed through CSTPR know well the importance that the center serves in the scientific and policy communities. Elizabeth “Bets” McNie, one of the first graduate students at CSTPR, spoke about the role that CSTPR played in her own career path.

“CSTPR has created a community that has really supported me and my research over the years and has given me resources to help me do my research better,” said McNie. “Most of those resources have been the people here and communicating with them and getting ideas from them and knowing that there are like-minded folks who “get it”—get the science-policy nexus and the challenges of working at the nexus.”

Over fifteen years, CSTPR has been in a unique position to house graduate students, visitors, postdocs, faculty, and staff who feel similarly, and has formed a strong network of scientists and researchers who feel passionately about combining science and policy research.

“I like having a foot in the sciences, and then bridging into social sciences and humanities questions from there,” said Boykoff. “It’s important to recognize the challenges and threats to science and environment and some of the critical issues around policy decision making.”

Boykoff is optimistic about the future of CSTPR.

“The state of our center—we’re in a really strong position. We have a great group of core faculty, we’re strengthening with affiliates, the four areas we’ve identified and now are pursuing ones that I feel really good about,” said Boykoff. “While I feel like the scale of challenge is as big as it has been, there’s also a skilled response that we’ve put together that I feel proud of. We’re stepping up in CSTPR in this critical time. “

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CU Boulder Campus Film Screening Designed to Inspire ‘Acting Locally’

CU Boulder Today
October 24, 2017

On Thursday, Oct. 26, Keep Colorado Green, CU Boulder Climate Reality Project Campus Corps and University Libraries will be hosting a campus screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

This is the sequel to former Vice President Al Gore’s popular and successful film An Inconvenient Truth. The event will be taking place on campus at Old Main Chapel, located at 1600 Pleasant St.

Before the film, there will be a livestream Q&A session with former Vice President Al Gore, starting at 4:45 p.m. The film will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion on climate change and its local impacts at 7:15 p.m.

Panelists include ENVS instructor Atreyee Bhattacharya, Boulder City Council member Matthew Appelbaum, CSTPR Associate Professor Max Boykoff, Boulder Regional Sustainability Coordinator Jonathan Koehn, and Nederland, CO mayor Kristopher Larson.

We hope the event will leave attendees with the resources to join the fight against climate change. This is a free event and a great opportunity for students!

If you go

Who: Students, faculty and staff
What: Q&A with Al Gore, film screening and panel discussion
When: Thursday, Oct. 26, 4:45 p.m.
Where: Old Main Chapel
Cost: Free


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