Climate change is one of the most critical environmental challenges that humanity has ever faced, yet calls to action are confounded by the nature, size, and complexity of the issue, as well as widespread misinformation. Our partners at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division wanted help to communicate the causes, effects, and impacts of climate change to a broad audience in a format that was succinct, engaging, and accessible without sacrificing scientific accuracy.
ERG helped CCD research, develop, and publish a set of indicators that track changes in the Earth’s climate and related variables over time. Collectively, these indicators tell a compelling story about greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations, weather and climate variables, oceans, ice and snow features, and impacts on human health, society, and ecosystems. We published these indicators in an attractive printed report in 2010 and followed up with new editions in 2012, 2014, and 2016, along with a website that features more frequent data updates and access to printed materials.
ERG’s support included researching potential datasets, helping to develop and apply data quality screening criteria, developing analytical methods, creating easy-to-understand graphs and maps, writing short “plain English” summaries, documenting sources and methods in detail to ensure transparency, designing and publishing print and web products, and engaging with dozens of data providers and other stakeholders along the way. This project has won awards within EPA and generated critical praise from others, and we’re proud to have played a part in making climate science more accessible to the public.