AGU approved updates to two position statements

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Last week, the AGU Board and Council approved updates to two position statements, which address funding for science and the responsibilities and rights of scientists.

AGU position statements—created, revised and approved by members—are what enable AGU to take adaptive stances on significant policy issues, ranging from climate change to national security. Each position statement acknowledges the challenges involved and makes specific recommendations toward achieving an articulated vision. These statements are cited by AGU as well as journalists, policymakers and other science organizations.

As part of a recurring four-year process, AGU’s Position Statement Committee reviews existing statements to decide which should be reaffirmed, retired or revised. Members can propose new position statements via this form.

The first statement conveys that “Robust government investment in Earth and space science research is essential for a resilient, sustainable society.” Updates to the statement were drafted by an expert task force and shared with AGU members during a one-month comment period before being sent to the AGU Council and Board for approval. The statement calls for governments around the world to increase funding for both discovery and solutions-inspired Earth and Space science research because of the deep connections between a better understanding of the Earth system and its connections to human, economic and ecological health.

The second statement, which was updated by a panel of experts with only minor revisions, describes “The responsibilities and rights of scientists.” It articulates that science requires freedom of movement, collaboration and communication, as well as equitable access to data and resources. The statement also states that science requires scientists to conduct and communicate scientific work for the benefit of society, with excellence, integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, clarity and transparency. 

We would like to extend our gratitude to the volunteers who served on the AGU Position Statement Committee this year, as well as each statement writing panel. In 2021, AGU approved four position statements, including “Teaching climate change and evolution is essential to understand our past and shape our future” and “The importance of exploring Earth and space science (ESS) throughout the educational experience” in addition to the two approved last week.

Without the contributions of these volunteers, we would not be able to develop, review and edit these position statements. If you’d like to get involved, we’ll be looking for volunteers for additional AGU Position Statement writing panels in 2022.

AGU Position Statement Committee 2020-2021:

  • Denise Hills (chair), Geological Survey of Alabama
  • Soumaya Belmecheri, University of Arizona
  • Ian Bolliger, University of California, Berkley
  • Beth Inadomi, Meridian122
  • Brendan Kelly, International Arctic Research Center
  • Katie Reeves, ICF
  • Karen Wayland, Kw Energy Strategies

Government Investment in Science Position Statement Writing Panel Members 2021:

  • Kasey White (chair), Geological Society of America
  • Margaret Spring, Monterrey Bay Aquarium
  • Bennett Bearden, Geological Survey of Alabama
  • Terry Davis, National Science Foundation, Retired
  • Heather Bloemhard, Vanderbilt University
  • Richard Moss, University of Maryland
  • Maeve Boland, University College Dublin
  • Robert Kopp, Rutgers University

Responsibilities and Rights of Scientists Position Statement Minor Update Panel Members 2021:

  • Scott Mandia, Suffolk County Community College
  • Elizabeth Marino, Oregon State University
  • Laura Malloy, CODATA
  • Sheree Watson, United States Geological Survey


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