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When NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, announced at a press conference on May 12, 2014, that the loss of the West Antarctic glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment appears unstoppable I asked Professor Chris Rapley for his comments. As former Director of the British Antarctic Survey it had been his job and expertise to know all aspects of Antarctic research.
Born and educated in Britain, Rapley became an international scientist. 40 years ago he began a six year term with NASA’s Solar Maximum Mission. Then he lectured at the Department of Space and Climate Physics of University College London from 1981 to 1987 and became Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm in 1994. The IGBP helps identify and assess risks posed to society and ecosystems by climate change.
After almost ten years as Director of the British Antarctic Survey Professor Chris Rapley accepted the job as Director of the Science Museum in London. He had become more and more engaged with the question how to communicate the scientific facts of climate change and counteract the overwhelming financial power of the climate change deniers. They are preventing urgently needed action in face of a clear and present danger.
Rapley moved back to University College London as Professor of Climate Science and has spent the last couple of years working with neuroscientists, psycho-sociologists and science policy people on the psychology of climate dismissal, the communication of climate science, and the interaction of climate science and policy.
I spoke to Professor Rapley by phone on May 23, 2014.