"We ... need information on the implications of different options -- especially to assess whether policies are effective."
"Although we face a daunting challenge, if we start an honest conversation now and look at some options,...it's something we can do."
"[We need to] adopt an economy-wide carbon pricing system ... [since an] incentive that aligns private sector incentives with public policy goals is essential to getting this job done. It just doesn't work any other way."
In 2010-2011 the National Research Council - the research/report-writing arm of our National Academy of Sciences - put out a series of reports called America's Climate Choices* - and from what I can tell, the report's information and recommendations, for outreach on effective solutions, is being ignored.
This post just gives excerpts and quotes from & about the report, on climate mitigation policy & outreach assessments and recommendations.
From the press release:
Diana Liverman, co-chair of the panel that wrote the report,...[said,] "To make choices that are based on the best available science, government agencies, the private sector, and individuals need clear, accessible information about what is happening to the climate and to emissions. We also need information on the implications of different options -- especially to assess whether policies are effective." (link)
More report snippets (with added bolding) from various sources:
Improving Communication and Education
The climate-related decisions that society will confront over the coming decades will require an informed and engaged public and an education system that provides students with the knowledge to make informed choices. Although nearly all Americans have now heard of climate change, many have yet to understand the full implications of the issue and the opportunities and risks that lie in the solutions.
(from the "Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change" summary "report in brief" PDF)The report recommended creating a national task force on climate communication and education:
a national task force of educators, government leaders, policymakers, and business executives should be established to improve climate change communication and education.
Climate policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions
(did the report address the relative cost of adaptation vs. mitigation?)
Summarizing mitigation (prevention) policy, the bottom line is we need to put a price on carbon:
Governments at federal, state, and local levels have a large role to play in infuencing ...[the] key stakeholders through effective policies and incentives. In general, there are four major tool chests from which to select policies for driving emission reductions:
• Pricing of emissions such as by means of a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system;
• mandates or regulations that could include direct controls on emitters (for example, through the Clean Air Act) or mandates such as automobile fuel economy standards, appliance efficiency standards, labeling requirements, building codes, and renewable or low-carbon portfolio standards for electricity generation;
• public subsidies for emission-reducing choices through the tax code, appropriations, or loan guarantees; and
• providing information and education and promoting voluntary measures to reduce emissions
A comprehensive national program would likely use tools from all of these areas. Most economists and policy analysts have concluded, however, that putting a price on CO2 emissions that is sufficiently high and rises over time is the least costly path to significantly reduce emissions; and it is the most efficient incentive for innovation and the long term investments necessary to develop and deploy energy efficient and low-carbon technologies and infrastructure.
(Source: p. 34 of the "Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts and Choices" ~40pp booklet)
This "must-price-carbon" bottom line on mitigation policy is restated in the NOAA-hosted video "Limiting the Magnitude of & Adapting to Future Climate Change"; from the transcript, speaker Claudia Mengelt or Bob Fri says:
the first recommendation [for mitigating climate change, through GHG reduction] is to adopt an economy-wide carbon pricing system ... [since an] incentive that aligns private sector incentives with public policy goals is essential to getting this job done. It just doesn't work any other way.
The report also said Americans do want more information about potential solutions:
... recent opinion polls indicate that many Americans are concerned about climate change and want more information about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions.- - - -
OK, so what kind of outreach & climate education messaging are NSF and NOAA funding, and museums, aquariums, zoos and the like offering?
I haven't looked into NSF, but from what I've seen, public science institutions' "end user" communication speaks to consumers, not citizens, offering little or no information on effective solutions.
*Confession/caveat: I have not read the full report.