Details on joining Climate Change National Forum as a columnist

Science columnist criteria

To participate as a science columnist in ClimateChangeNationalForum.org, one must:

  • have an adequate level of expertise in some area of climate science;
  • agree to evaluate the science of climate change with an open mind;
  • have a demonstrated commitment to accuracy; and
  • agree to express one’s personal opinion only and refrain from speaking for or on behalf of any organization or group.

Application instructions for scientists

If you meet the above criteria and are interested in contributing as a science columnist, you can apply for admission into CCNF and publishing access on ClimateChangeNationalForum.org by sending an email to ClimateChangeNationalForum@gmail.com with the subject line “Science Columnist Application.” Please include the following information:

  • name;
  • email address;
  • affirmation that the you meet the columnist criteria;
  • short biography to display upon admission (200 words max recommended);
  • cv;
  • photo; and
  • any links to your recent and/or most applicable publications.

Subject matter or policy columnist criteria

To participate as a subject-matter expert or policy columnist in Phase II of the project, one must:

  • have an adequate level of expertise in energy, economic, environmental or national policy or in any area or field directly or indirectly related to these policy areas;
  • agree to base one’s subject matter or policy position on climate science that has been discussed or reviewed by the science columnists;* and
  • have a demonstrated commitment to accuracy.

*If a subject matter or policy columnist proposes a policy position based on a study or area of science that has not been discussed or reviewed by the scientists within the Forum, the moderator will note that the study/material has yet to be substantiated in the Forum and submit or post the referenced study as a fact checker item in one of the science sections for the science columnist community to scrutinize. Bottom-line, any scientist can take issue and challenge any of the Forum’s conclusions on the science in the Forum in the science sections, but non-scientists. In sum, a subject matter or policy columnist can advocate for any policy on climate change in Phase II, but he or she will have to own up to the implications of his or her policy based on the scientific knowledge that has withstood the Socratic scrutiny of CCNF’s community of contributing scientists. 

Application instructions for subject matter or policy experts

If you meet the above criteria and are interested in participating as a subject matter of policy columnist, you can apply for admission into CCNF and publishing access in the policy categories of ClimateChangeNationalForum.org by sending an email to ClimateChangeNationalForum@gmail.com with the subject line “Subject Matter or Policy Columnist Application.” Please include the following information:

  • name;
  • email address;
  • affirmation that you meet the columnist criteria;
  • preferred identification as a subject matter columnist (please name the subject matter area) or a policy columnist;*
  • short biography to display upon admission (200 words max recommended);
  • cv;
  • photo; and
  • any links to your recent and/or most applicable publications.

*There is no real difference between a “subject matter columnist” and a “policy columnist.” It is just a matter of identification and preference on whether a member-columnist would like to be identified as someone actively advocating for particular policy positions within the Forum or as an expert that seeks to inform the policy discussion and debate. Either will have full publishing privileges in any policy category.

Member Obligations & Suggestions on Participation

Becoming a columnist-member of CCNF comes with no obligation to participate. It simply gives one unlimited access to this open radio channel on climate change. Any columnist-member can end his or her membership and leave the CCNF community at any time.  If a columnist-member decides to participate in the Forum, we ask him or her to:

1. Write as if addressing a true national forum of citizens, scientists, experts, and policy makers in a conversational style;

2. Provide context to less-informed readers and endeavor to communicate in a manner that is as accessible as possible to a lay audience;

3. Ensure every contribution is a deliberate post to the Forum;

4. Respond to queries by other columnist-members in the Forum (if not also to the public commentators); and

5. If the columnist-member is a scientist or science communicator, to explain to the reader when he or she is getting into values or policy (if he or she decides to go beyond the science); and

6. If the columnist-member is a policy columnist seeking to advocate for a policy, to ensure his or her post answers the question of what, if anything, can or should be done about climate change as a nation.

Admission and publishing privileges in ClimateChangeNationalForum.org

Applications will go to the applicable board committee. If the committee determines that an applicant meets the columnist criteria, then the applicant shall be admitted into the Forum as a columnist (this is inscribed in the CCNF bylaws). Once an applicant is admitted as a columnist, the CCNF staff will then provide the columnist with publishing privileges and provide any necessary technical support to get the columnist up and running. After that, the columnist will be able to publish posts on his or her own page, in any science or policy category, and in the Forum’s own comment thread as little or as much as he or she would like. The CCNF board is asking that columnists contribute at least once a month on average and participate in some of the discussions in the columnist-only comment threads below posts.

Bifurcation of science and policy

When Phase II kicks in, there will be a general bifurcation of science and policy in the Forum. Subject matter or policy columnists will be able to publish posts and comment in policy categories only. Similarly, the science columnists will only be able to publish posts in the science categories. However, the science columnists will be able to comment under any policy post. Hopefully, this will keep the policy discussion and debate grounded in the science!

Voting and organization structure

CCNF is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit that is recognized by the IRS. Member-columnists that have contributed at least once a month on average to the dialogue by the time of the annual members’ meeting get to nominate individuals for the board and vote in the annual board election. The board hires the administrative and journalism staff. Two committees on the board act as the gatekeeper, admitting only those columnists that can meet CCNF’s columnist criteria.

Guest columnist criteria

Any columnist-member may invite any person to contribute as a guest columnist to any area of the site that the columnist-member has access to. The only criterion one must meet to contribute as a guest columnist is that he or she must base his or her policy position on science discussed and reviewed by the science columnists. This criterion does not apply to any published scientist or anyone who has published a book on climate change. Guest columnists do not become members of the organization by contributing as guest columnists.

The CCNF board of directors or a committee with board-delegated powers cannot prevent a guest columnist from posting on ClimateChangeNationalForum.org. Inviting a guest columnist is a member-columnist’s own individual privilege. Guest columnists will be able to contribute up to five times to the Forum for one month. A guest columnist will be able to contribute more than 5 times and/or beyond one month if his or her guest columnist status is extended by a board member, committee with board-delegated powers, or journalist.

Causes of removal

Causes of removal of member-columnists from the columnist community by the CCNF board include the following:

  1. Failure to meet the columnist criteria;
  2. Continual failure to demonstrate courtesy and respect to other columnists; or
  3. Continual failure to refrain from personally attacking other columnists.

When a columnist is removed from CCNF, the reason for his or her removal shall be stated in the corporate records and communicated to the person being removed.

Disclaimer: The rules and regulations of this organization are set out in the bylaws of Climate Change National Forum. The above criteria and causes for removal are meant to explain and summarize, but not supplant or override any of the bylaws. If there is a conflict between the bylaws and anything above, the bylaws will override what is above.