The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest non-government general science membership organization and the publisher of the Science family of journals.
Its mission is “advance science for the benefit of all people.” Its goals include providing a voice for science on societal issues and promoting the responsible use of science in public policy. There may be no more pressing issue intersecting science and society than climate change and the What We Know initiative was born in response to that reality.
The What We Know initiative is dedicated to ensuring that three “R’s” of climate change communicated to the public.
- The first is Reality — about 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
- The second is Risk — that the reality of climate change means that there are climate change impacts we can expect, but we also must consider what might happen, especially the small, but real, chance that we may face abrupt changes with massively disruptive impacts.
- The third R is Response — that there is much we can do and that the sooner we respond, the better off we will be.
The What We Know initiative will include outreach to scientists, economists, community leaders, policy makers and the public at large over the following months via meetings and media outreach.
To guide the What We Know initiative, AAAS convened a group of prominent experts in climate science to address the fact that many Americans still erroneously believe that the scientific community is divided on the issue and that Americans are largely unaware of the full spectrum of climate risks – both what is likely to happen and what might happen — that human-caused climate change presents to Americans now and in the future.