David Ropeik, writing in a guest blog for Scientific American, calls the 2014 National Climate Assessment a “masterful piece of science and risk communication.” He singles out Climate Communication Director Susan Hassol, senior science writer of the report, in particular, saying, “Senior science writer Susan Joy Hassol, who turned massive contributions from hundreds of scientists into an accessible, persuasive report that will play an important role in getting the U.S. to act on climate change, deserves great credit.”
He goes on to write, “The language of the report is clear and accessible to the average reader. Facts are well explained. The supporting evidence behind those facts is provided and simplified for the average reader, but not overly dumbed down. Graphics summarize and reinforce the impact of the information. Basic questions about the workings of climate change and its impacts, present and future, are answered. What science is still unsure about is honestly acknowledged.
But beyond those science communication basics, the National Climate Assessment intelligently applies social science insights into how to communicate about risk in order to maximize the impact the communication has, not just on how well the reader understands the issue, but also on how they feel about it. It applies research on the psychology of risk perception to the challenge of communicating, not just so people get the facts, but so they care.”
Ropeik’s full blogpost can be read here.