A livable climate is essential for us, so it’s important to have a basic understanding of the atmospheric mechanism that maintains the climate. Because the mechanism is based on fundamental physics and chemistry, scientists, including chemists, bear a responsibility for understanding climate science themselves and helping others who are not scientists be attentive to the issues relevant to maintaining the climate. These are the responsibilities that provided the motivation for the ACS Climate Science Working Group appointed by 2012 ACS President Bassam Shakhashiri.
The initial task for the Working Group was to develop the content of this ACS Climate Science Toolkit that deals relatively briefly with the basic science of climate change and can used by every ACS member. The purpose of this content is self-education. It is designed to equip you with the information and other resources necessary to develop a robust intellectual structure that can be the basis for your discussions with others.
“Isn't it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn't it your responsibility to do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place? If not us, who? If not now, when?”
F. Sherwood Rowland, 1927-2012, Nobel Laureate 1995, White House climate change roundtable, 1997
The second and ongoing task for the Working Group is to articulate strategies for ACS members to use the information from the Toolkit and possible further resources in disseminating climate science information to broader audiences. These include teachers, college and university faculty, industrial scientists and business leaders, civic and religious groups, professional science and educational organizations, and elected public officials at all levels and in all branches of government. The 2010-2013 ACS Public Policy Statement on Climate Change, states that, “Climate change education for the public is essential to informed rational personal choices.” The Toolkit strategies are designed to support and reinforce ACS members in undertaking climate science education.