Created by a group of prominent experts in climate science, including Harvard's Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography James McCarthy, and convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the What We Know initiative aims 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.

Hear from Professor James McCarthy:

The real experts on this subject agree in a way that the public do not understand. Getting that message out, when you can help them understand and sometimes show them the statements that I’m referring to, that changes their minds.

The What We Know initiative is dedicated to ensuring that three “R’s” of climate change communicated to the public.

  • The first is Reality — 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.

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