Our Story

2007

Ed Maibach and Connie Roser-Renouf came to George Mason University to create Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication.  Learn more

Our first study—a nationwide survey of local public health department directors—was conducted in partnership with climate and health expert John Balbus, who at the time was with Environmental Defense.

We forged a fortuitous research partnership with Anthony Leiserowitz and his Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

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2008

We conducted our first Climate Change in the American Mind (CCAM) national public opinion poll with Yale.

Our analysis of CCAM poll data revealed six distinct sets of climate beliefs, attitudes and behaviors among American adults—thus, Global Warming’s Six Americas was born.

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2009

Ed Maibach was awarded a Health Policy Investigator Award by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which allowed us to do research on how to communicate the human health relevance of climate change.

With climate scientist Heidi Cullen (Climate Central) and broadcast meteorologist Joe Witte, Ed Maibach was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to explore the potential of TV weathercasters as local climate educators.

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2010

Findings from our first-ever national survey of TV meteorologists appeared on Page 1 of the New York Times—in a story that, regrettably, stressed the challenges rather than the opportunities of working with TV weathercasters as climate educators.

We launched a one year pilot-test of Climate Matters—a local climate change reporting initiative—in partnership with WLTX (Columbia, SC) chief meteorologist Jim Gandy and news director Marybeth Jacoby.

We partnered with Climate Central, American Meteorological Society, NOAA, NASA and Yale to develop a plan to turn Climate Matters into a nationwide, localized climate reporting initiative.

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2011

The Climate Matters pilot-test concluded successfully—WLTX viewers had learned more about climate change than viewers of competing stations in Columbia, and WLTX was committed to continuing to air Climate Matters stories indefinitely.

Ed Maibach was recruited to serve as a member of the National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee, and he co-chaired its Engagement and Communication Working Group.

Connie Roser-Renouf began advising museums—eventually including the Science Museum of Virginia, Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Smithsonian Museum—on climate change programming.

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2012

Former Congressman Bob Inglis (Republican, South Carolina) and Alex Bozmoski (who coined the phrase “EcoRight”) joined our faculty to create the Energy & Enterprise Initiative—which in 2014 was relaunched as RepublicEn—an initiative by conservatives, for conservatives, that seeks to build support for free-market solutions to climate change.

As reported by National Journal correspondent Coral Davenport, our polling helped convince President Obama that it makes political sense to talk about climate change.

With the National Park Service, we launched a climate change communication summer internship program, and placed interns in DC-area national parks to design climate education programs for the parks.

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2013

Mona Sarfaty—an academic family medicine physician who had previously served as a key health staff member in the US Senate—joined our faculty to explore the potential of engaging physicians as educators about the human health relevance of climate change.

We surveyed the members of the National Medical Association, and found that most African-American physicians are already seeing the health harms of climate change on their patients.

Connie Roser-Renouf served on a National Academy of Science committee charged with reviewing the findings of National Climate Assessment.

Teresa Myers joined our faculty as a research professor, after finishing a post-doctoral fellowship with us—during which she conducted groundbreaking research on public trust in climate science conducted by federal agencies.

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2014

Climate Matters recruited its 100th TV weathercaster, and our team committed to increase the number to 300 by 2017.

Ed Maibach spoke at a White House press event to launch the National Climate Assessment, while Climate Matters meteorologist Jim Gandy (WLTX, Columbia, SC) interviewed President Obama about the assessment in the White House Rose Garden.

We surveyed the members of the American Thoracic Society—and later the American Association of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology—and found that they too were already seeing the harmful impacts of climate change among their patients.

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2015

Bob Inglis was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award “for the political courage he demonstrated (as a Republican member of the U.S. Congress) when he reversed his previous position on climate change.”

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2016

Politico named Bob Inglis and our climate scientist friend Katharine Hayhoe to its Politico 50 list—“a guide to thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016”—for articulating “the conservative case for fighting climate change.”

We convened representatives of nine medical societies to discuss the possibility of forming a consortium of medical societies to address the health harms of climate change and the health opportunities associated with climate solutions—all agreed to work with us to make this happen.

John Kotcher joined our team—after successfully defending his dissertation—to give us extra communication science bench strength; he immediately began cutting-edge research on how best to explain the myriad health harms of climate change.

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2017

John Cook—creator of the Skeptical Science website and app—joined our faculty, days after receiving the Friend of the Planet Award by the National Center for Science Education.

We launched the Medical Society Consortium for Climate and Health—which initially included 11 leading medical society members—and released the Consortium’s initial public statement: Medical Alert! Climate Change is Harming Our Health.

RepublicEn recruited its 5,000th member—each one a conservative climate realist.

The Climate Matters team recruited its 400th TV weathercaster.

We added five important journalism professional societies to our Climate Matters partnership—RTDNA, SEJ, NABJ, NAHJ and the Kneeland Project—with the aim of expanding the reach of Climate Matters materials and facilitating more local climate reporting.

At the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Ed Maibach issued a call to action to health professionals worldwide to advocate for doubling the world’s GHG emission reduction commitments—to achieve the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement and thereby spare humanity from a sustained, catastrophic public health disaster.

We celebrated our 10th anniversary by releasing our first ever annual report.

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2018

The Climate Matters team recruited its 500th TV meteorologist; on-air climate change reporting by weathercasters had increased 1,500+% since 2012.

We held our first public meeting of the Medical Society Consortium for Climate and Health on our Arlington campus—nearly 300 health professional participated in the educational event.

We launched the Health and Climate Solutions Hub to help communities advance equity and sustainability. Mark Mitchell—a leading climate, health and environmental justice expert—joined our faculty to co-direct the hub with Ed Maibach.

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