Principles for effective communication and public engagement on climate change: A Handbook for IPCC authors
Source: Climate Outreach
Author(s): Adam Corner, Chris Shaw, Jamie Clarke
As several decades of awareness-raising and initiatives to engage the public have shown, climate change doesn’t communicate itself.
A burgeoning evidence base on the social science of climate change communication now provides many explanations for why engaging on climate change can be challenging. Climate science is filled with uncertainties, a notorious stumbling block for communicating with non-scientists. For some, the topic can seem abstract and intangible. For others, the abstract statistics that de ne the climate discourse can feel distant from their day-to-day experiences. In some nations, the issue is politically polarised; in others, the absence of a public and political discourse is the problem.
But the same social science literature that documents the challenges posed by engaging the public with climate change also provides some robust guidance for how to communicate more effectively. That our worldviews, values and social norms dictate how we receive information and apply it to our own lives is well understood. It has also long been recognised that the messenger is at least as important, if not more so, than the message itself. Scientists are trusted in society and there are a wealth of opportunities to engage the public around key moments in the climate change calendar, such as the release of IPCC reports. The purpose of this Handbook is to offer guidance to IPCC scientists on how to make public engagement at these key moments as impactful, effective and evidence- based as possible.
By synthesising evidence and recommendations from primary social science research, and existing communication ‘guides’ and resources, this Handbook sets out a series of principles for effective communication and public engagement, tailored speci cally for IPCC authors.
Are you familiar with this resource?
If so, please give it a rating: