Can Dr. Richard Alley Convince Skeptics of Climate Change? Can Dr. Richard Alley Convince Skeptics of Climate Change?
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Can Dr. Richard Alley Convince Skeptics of Climate Change?

by Ben Jervey

April 9, 2011

Of all the scientists out there trying to communicate the realities of climate change to the public, I'd rank Dr. Richard Alley in the top three. Unlike many others, he succeeds at making the science accessible. So I was excited to learn that he's the star of a new one-hour PBS special about climate change, Earth: The Operators' Manual.

Here's the show's trailer:

Like Carbon Nation, this show will feature characters that speak directly to America's right—the military hawks, the Church-goers, the Texas ranchers. Moreover, Alley himself doesn't fit the mold of the liberal, pointy-headed scientist so easily dismissed by skeptics. "I'm a registered Republican," he says. "I play soccer on Saturdays, and go to church on Sundays." And he's sensitive to people's near-term practical concerns: "I'm a parent and a professor. I worry about jobs for my students, and my daughter's future." All this means he might be one of the best possible spokespeople for climate science.

There are lots and lots of people out there who have registered an "ah, now I get it" moment while watching Alley talk about climate change. Hopefully there will be more of them after Earth: The Operators' Manual airs. With public concern about climate and energy waning, we need someone who can explain the science in a way that's both clear and informative and politically neutral.

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
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Can Dr. Richard Alley Convince Skeptics of Climate Change?