Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific Northwest

Program Summary | Agenda | Speaker Bios | Participant Bios | Resource List
Climate Change and the News Initiative

Climate Change and the News: Climate Science Seminar for Journalists

September 6-7, 2013
The Bullitt Center
1501 East Madison Street, Seattle, WA

Climate change has already left a mark on the Pacific Northwest, affecting communities, businesses, and the region’s many cultural connections with the natural environment. Journalists, whether covering the environment, economy, local government, or all of the above, need to know what is happening, who to contact for these stories, and where to go for additional information.

Metcalf Institute, in partnership with The Seattle Times and The Bullitt Center, helped journalists find the answers to all of those questions in a free Climate Change Seminar for Journalists in Seattle, Washington. Supported by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, this seminar was the first in a series of Metcalf Institute regional climate change seminars. The four-year initiative is designed to help journalists throughout the U.S. understand climate change science and report on regional impacts with more accuracy, clarity, and nuance.

The two-day seminar at the new Bullitt Center in Seattle focused on the most important effects of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.  The seminar, which was offered to accepted journalists at no cost, addressed the following topics:

Beachgoers Playing At Cannon Beach With Haystack Rock, OregonIntroduction to Climate Change and Policy
A solid scientific and policy foundation for journalists covering the broad implications of climate change, just in time for the next highly anticipated report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This session informed the remainder of the seminar program, as well as news coverage of the pending IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Climate Change Effects on Regional Water Supply
In the Pacific Northwest, climate change will significantly affect water supply, wreaking havoc on the carefully negotiated water management structures now in place. Building on concepts introduced in the first session, participants learned about the science and management of water supplies under climate change scenarios and the many related and under-reported news stories.

Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Responses to Climate Change
Participants learned how marine ecosystems are responding to warming temperatures, changing ocean currents, acidification, and changing precipitation patterns, and what all this means for local businesses and the regional economy.

Forest and Watershed Ecosystem Responses to Climate Change
Climate change will affect ecosystems on land at many levels, from the timing of plant pollination in mountain forests to the frequency of wildfires and reproductive success of Northwestern salmon. The fourth and final session of this two-day seminar described hot research topics in regional forests and broader watershed impacts, followed by a discussion of how these changes will affect communities, regulatory approaches, and economic security.

View videos from the seminar

View full agenda

Read article about the seminar series

Journalists based in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or British Columbia were encouraged to apply. The seminar was open to staff journalists and freelancers, and is suitable for applicants with a wide variety of experience, from early-career general assignment reporters to veteran environmental reporters and editors. Attendees were selected to maximize diversity in experience, medium, audience, geography, race and ethnicity, and gender.

The seminar was offered free of charge to accepted applicants, thanks to support from The Grantham Foundation.


This program was underwritten by The Grantham Foundation,
with in-kind support from The Seattle Times and The Bullitt Center


Follow me on Twitter