Climate Communications and Behavior Change: A Guide for Practitioners
Author(s): Cara Pike
At its heart, global warming is a cognitive and behavior change challenge. Public support for taking action to address global warming is declining just as it is needed most to implement emission reductions and climate preparedness programs and push for new policies. Even if new climate policies are enacted, in the short term they are unlikely to stabilize emissions due to their long ramp-up periods and many challenges involved with implementation. This is particularly concerning given recent evidence that indicates global warming is occurring more quickly than originally projected. Carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gas emissions must be dramatically reduced as soon as possible.
To address global warming there must be a shift in thinking and behavior that motivates people and organizations to engage in emissions reductions and climate preparedness activities and support new policies. Mounting evidence shows that this shift is not only possible, but an important part of a national strategy. Even simple actions taken at the household and organizational levels can rapidly and significantly reduce carbon emissions. Making these changes would buy time and build public support for new policies that could spur greater reductions.
In order to motivate people to alter their views and behaviors related to global warming, leaders within all levels of government, the private sector, non-pro ts and communities must become aware of and utilize the fundamentals of effective climate communications, outreach, and behavioral change mechanisms.
To address this need, the Social Capital Project of the Climate Leadership Initiative has developed this guidebook, which draws on extensive global warming, behavior change and communications research completed by our organization and others as well as from practitioner expertise.The guide distills this information into tools and recommendations that climate leaders can easily apply. It includes talking points that have been tested with the public as well as quotes from focus group participants that reflect the attitudes of many Americans about global warming.
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