Climate change science vs. politics marks focus of CEREO debate

Thermal image of the earth showing polar vortex conditions.
NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument aboard the Aqua satellite recently captured the polar vortex as it moved, Jan. 20‑29, southward from central Canada into the U.S. Midwest. As a result, the U.S. Midwest has been gripped by the lowest temperatures it has seen in years. (Photo courtesy of

The Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach’s Debate Series Spring 2019 will zero in on the topic “Tapping the tensions between the science and politics of climate change.” The event will be hosted on the WSU Vancouver campus, with streaming to WSU Pullman and WSU Tri‑Cities.

The discussion will be led by two WSU Vancouver professors:

  • Michael Berger, a clinical assistant professor with WSU Vancouver’s School of the Environment and School of Biological Sciences, studies the impact of location and other environmental stressors on marine invertebrates.
  • Mark Stephan, an associate professor with the WSU Vancouver College of Arts and Sciences, who researches environmental governance on climate change policies.

Together, Berger and Stephan will focus on the roles, responsibilities and differences between policy and science in driving public perceptions about climate change. Scientists have the knowledge, but politicians and social institutions hold the power to exact meaningful solutions. Do climate scientists need to better understand the politics? Or should science stay true to itself and the process of climate change investigations?

Closeups of Berger and Stephan.
Berger, Stephan (l-r)

Berger and Stephan will frame the discussion, but faculty, staff and students are encouraged to participate. The event begins 3:10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the WSU Vancouver Engineering and Computer Science Building, with streaming available at WSU Pullman in PACCAR 202, and at WSU Tri‑Cities in Floyd Building, Room 247.

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