AGU Position Statements Task Force

Jana Davis, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Annapolis, Maryland

James Evans, Bowling Green State University
Rebecca French, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation
Miriam Kastner, Scripps
Kevin Reed, Stony Brook University
Randy Richardson, University of Arizona
Daniel Sinnett, Emmes
Margaret Spring – Monterey Bay Aquarium

Staff Liaison
Lexi Schulz, Director, Public Affiars


Since 1982, AGU has developed and maintained position statements that relate the understanding and application of the Earth and space sciences to public policy. In publishing such statements, the Union limits itself to positions that are within the range of available geophysical data or norms of legitimate scientific debate. Draft statements undergo AGU membership, Council, and Board review. Published statements expire in four years if they are not renewed or updated.

Union statements are made publicly available on the AGU science policy Web site and are published in Eos after AGU Council and Board approval. Position statements are limited to one page in length and are used to explain the Union’s stance on Earth and space science topics to policy makers, media, scientists, educators, and the general public. Statements are crafted by a panel of AGU member experts and are written in a manor manner to be best understood by the target audiences.

AGU members are encouraged to propose statements, participate in position statement panels, and to review draft statements. Members may submit proposals for new statements via an online form on the AGU science policy Web site. Relevant AGU Sections and Focus Groups are asked to provide nominees for panels. Draft statements are published in Eos, and AGU members are asked to review and comment on the drafts.

The Need for a Task Force

A task force is needed to assist in reviewing existing position statements that are up for renewal, recommending position statement panelists, reviewing draft statements, and identifying gaps in the existing position statement portfolio. The expertise of AGU scientists with a strong background and interest in science policy and science outreach is integral to performing these duties, as these individuals have vital knowledge of how best to communicate with policy makers, the media, and the public, as well as which geoscience topics may require a Union statement. The task force can also assist in improving the position statement submission, writing, and review process as well as educating members about Union statements.

Responsibilities of the Position Statement Task Force

The task force will work with AGU Public Affairs to perform the following:

1. Review each expiring position statement and determine if the statement should be renewed, rewritten, or allowed to expire;

2. Review proposals for new position statements and determine if statements should be drafted;

3. Provide nominations for position statement panels and assist in selection of the panels;

4. Review and comment on draft statements;

5. Identify gaps in the statement portfolio and recommend or write position statement proposals when needed;

6. Assist in improving the position statement submission, writing, and review process and panel guidelines;

7. Serve as a spokesperson and help support communication and outreach for the program.

The task force members will meet the following criteria:

1. Have a background and interest in science policy and science outreach;

2. Experience communicating controversial science topics to a lay audience;

3. Available to participate in monthly hour-long teleconferences, respond in a timely manner to email and phone communication, provide timely review of materials.

Position Statement Task Force Charge

The task force will improve and broaden the AGU position statement portfolio. In addition to review of proposed, expiring, and draft statements, discussions will include developing detailed guidelines for position statement panels, updating the statement review process to reflect the current environment and needs, and developing and implementing ideas for educating members about position statements and increasing involvement, including improving the number and worth of comments on draft statements and the number of proposals for new statements.