Institute announces partnership with climate change NGO

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs Institute on the Environment and Climate Central, a national non-profit organization, announced a partnership aimed at improving the publicâÄôs knowledge about climate change. Climate Central, a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 2008, is a âÄúhybrid organization of scientists and journalistsâÄù that aims to be a âÄúone stop shop for climate information,âÄù Heidi Cullen , a senior research scientist with Climate Central, said. The partnership with the Institute on the Environment, which was announced Wednesday, will give Climate Central access to the wide expertise of the University faculty to help build a national network of climate change experts. It is Climate CentralâÄôs only partnership in the Upper Midwest and only itâÄôs fourth office nationwide. âÄúThe goal is to reach out and build this community of scientists,âÄù she said. Cullen, who has also worked as a reporter for The Weather Channel, said Climate Central works to translate complex scientific findings into reports and videos that the general public can more easily understand. âÄúWe help the public connect the dots about climate science and bridge this knowledge gap,âÄù she said. A recent Rasmussen report on climate change found that 44 percent of U.S. voters think long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming as opposed to only 41 percent of voters who agree with the scientific consensus that blames human activity. âÄúThe consensus among scientists is itâÄôs real, itâÄôs us, and itâÄôs getting worse,âÄù Cullen said, referencing the fact that most scientists think climate change is caused by people. Todd Reubold , spokesman for the Institute on the Environment, which funds University environmental research, said he expects University professors and researchers to be major contributors to Climate CentralâÄôs work. Along with connecting Climate Central with University faculty, Reubold said the Institute will provide some funding for fellowships and internships at Climate CentralâÄôs Minnesota office. âÄúFrom our perspective itâÄôs a real opportunity to promote University of Minnesota research on issues related to climate change to a national audience,âÄù Reubold said. Kent Cavender-Bares , a research scientist with Climate Central who will be leading the Minnesota office, said when he began working at Climate Central six months ago, he had hopes that a permanent office would open in Minnesota. A dialogue between the Institute on the Environment and Climate Central took place over a number of months and a partnership was eventually forged. The Minnesota office and University faculty will be working together to develop outreach programs and other media productions to help further educate the public about climate change, Cavendar-Bares said. Cavendar-Bares said he hopes the partnership will be able to âÄúto provide a bridge between scientists at the U and the general public, including policymakers.âÄù