Forecast is mostly about climate science — the people who do it, and why they’re stoked about their work. But science is inevitably conducted within a political context, and Mike is a neanderthal when it comes to politics. Gretchen Goldman from the Union of Concerned Scientists, on the other hand, knows a lot about science policy. Gretchen initially planned to avoid the often-unpleasant dynamics surrounding climate science, and went into air pollution research. Eventually the draw of engaging in even bigger issues proved too much to resist, and Gretchen is now the research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the UCS. Gretchen leaves Mike feeling surprisingly optimistic. In spite of the dark times facing US climate science, and as Gretchen discusses in a Science Policy Forum, there are still clear ways for scientists to engage with the broader public and to promote the use of science in the democratic and policy process. For those interested in getting more involved, the UCS provides excellent resources for networking and dealing with personal attacks.
Disclosure: As Gretchen discusses in the interview, her husband works at NOAA, an agency whose budget faces major cuts. He is also the consulting meteorologist for climate.gov.