State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Climate Change On The Street

By Dana Kochnower and Andrew Mambo

This past semester we took Bob Newton’s course, Climate Change: History, Causes, Economics and Decisions, which took us through the various swings from ice ages to warming periods. The course also covered the mechanics of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and how their concentration works to regulate the Earth’s temperature. In addition, we covered the methods climate scientists use to measure and chart the changes in the temperature on land and in the ocean. The final assignment was an investigation of one of the topics covered. As journalists who have worked in radio and television, we were especially excited about the opportunity to work in the media of our choice.

To start with we had a simple objective in mind: to produce a video that explored the issue of people’s perceptions of the role carbon emissions play in climate change versus the hard science. We conducted man-on-the-street interviews and spoke to Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In the process, we found that most of the people we spoke to agreed that climate change is caused by carbon emissions; however many people expressed concerns about the way scientific information is communicated. Our experience with this project has inspired us to go further. We are now working on exploring this issue in additional videos looking into communication between the scientific community and the public.

Dana Kochnower is a freelance videographer, producer and editor with a background in journalism and a passion for environmental issues.  An award-winning producer, Dana has more than a decade of experience in local and national news at WPIX-TV, CNN and FOX Business Network.  Watch more of her work at

Andrew Mambo is a freelance producer, photographer and writer with over 10 years of experience in both radio and print media. He has worked for the BBC in the U.K. as well as CKUT radio in his hometown of Montreal. He spent six years working with various UN organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and has recently relocated to New York. He can be found online at:

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