Science historian Oreskes to participate in IU panel on climate change

  • March 4, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University’s Integrated Program in the Environment and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs will host a panel discussion next week featuring Harvard science historian and IU Patten lecturer Naomi Oreskes.

The discussion “Climate Change, Public Perception and the Media: What’s Not Getting Through?” is open to the public and IU community, with a reception to follow. It will be held in SPEA Room 167 at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, and will include several IU faculty.

Oreskes is co-author of the book "Merchants of Doubt," based on the premise that a small subset of the American scientific community has skewed public perception of various crises, from the dangers of tobacco to acid rain and climate change. She will be visiting the IU Bloomington campus to present lectures March 9 and 11 sponsored by the William T. Patten Foundation.

Joining Oreskes for the panel discussion will be SPEA professor of environmental economics and policy Kenneth Richards; The Media School Dean James Shanahan; and IU professors Scott Robeson from the Department of Geography and Phaedra Pezzullo from the Department of Communication and Culture. Each brings a unique perspective to the topic of environmental communication and the media.

Jeff White, director of the Integrated Program on the Environment, will moderate the discussion.

“As the world looks to the next international climate convention in Paris this coming December, communication about the science and policy of climate change has been ramping up,” White said. “Yet there is much confusion about the issue, and the environmental, economic and social stakes are so very high.

“We have assembled a terrific panel of experts to discuss each of these aspects and the essential role of the media in communicating about climate change. We are particularly pleased to partner with the Patten Foundation to include Naomi Oreskes, whose works uncover organized and deliberate cultivation of misinformation and have opened the eyes of many to the highly politicized nature of the issue.”

For more information about the event, contact Sarah Mincey, associate director of the Integrated Program in the Environment, at 812-855-8745 or

About the School of Public and Environmental Affairs

SPEA was founded in 1972 and is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2012 "Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks second and is the nation's highest-ranked professional graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. Four of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings.

About the Integrated Program in the Environment

The IU Integrated Program in the Environment brings together more than 90 faculty members, including world-renowned scientists and instructors. It reaches across 25 departments and five schools within IU -- one of the Big Ten's top universities. The program encourages collaborations in the classroom, lab, field, outreach and other activities.

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