As I hope you know by now, WHRC has been named the world’s #1 climate change think tank for the second year in a row. (I had been warning that when you are #1 there’s only one direction to go, but I guess we kicked that particular can down the road.) It’s wonderful to have this recognition, and the staff deserves tremendous credit for earning it. (I do not, however, since the ranking is based on work done in 2014, before I arrived here.)
The ranking by the International Center for Climate Governance is based on “the quality of a think tank in conducting research and its role in influencing climate and energy policy.” These two elements—conducting research and influencing policy—are exactly what WHRC tries to be good at. It’s difficult to succeed at either one, and even more difficult to do well at both. But for WHRC, these two elements are linked, because being good researchers is what gives us credibility in the policy world.
A great example of how that can work is our recent involvement in arctic policy. Because they are known as credible experts, WHRC scientists Max Holmes and Sue Natali were able to brief staff from Congress, the White House, and State Department on the importance of keeping permafrost frozen. The State Department in particular “got the message,” and we’re now advising them on policies that can impact the problem.
And by the way, the problem is big and scary. Permafrost contains enough carbon to cause truly catastrophic warming, and warming itself is causing that carbon to be released to the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. It’s absolutely essential that this process not get out of control.
Although it may be the most apocalyptic, this is only one of the important problems that we think about every day at WHRC. It’s great to be recognized as being good at what we do, but what we’d really like the world to recognize is the importance and urgency of the problems we work on. Thanks as always for your interest and support.