No 503 Posted by fw, June 11, 2012
There is a great deal of research on climate change communication. But too often this valuable knowledge doesn’t reach the people who need it most: climate change communicators. At the same time, researchers are often unaware of how to promote their work beyond academic journals.
At Talking Climate, the best research evidence is translated into practical guides on a wide range of topics, ensuring academics and practitioners get the most from climate change communication research.
With a comprehensive and frequently updated database of academic papers, a regular newsletter, and a blog featuring comment and analysis from climate change communication experts, Talking Climate is the gateway to research on climate change communication.
Talking Climate is a UK-based partnership between the Climate Outreach and Information Network(COIN), the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), the Understanding Risk group at Cardiff University and the ‘Climate change as complex social issue’ research group at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, Nottingham University.
Design, development and maintenance of this website was funded by Nottingham University School of Sociology and Social Policy, and the creation and development of the database was funded by the Understanding Risk group at Cardiff University – specifically Nick Pidgeon’s Climate Leader Professorial Fellowship from the Economic and Social Research Council.
Our US and Canadian partner in climate change communication is Climate Access – the network for those engaging the public in the transformation to low-carbon, resilient communities.
Communicating climate science
The body of scientific evidence showing that the climate is changing due to human activity is so overwhelming that you might expect the facts to speak for themselves. Unfortunately they do not, as some people still do not accept the reality or seriousness of climate change. This means that using the most effective methods of communicating climate science is critical.
One challenge for communicators is that climate science – like any other scientific discipline – will always contain uncertainties. Being honest and open about what scientists do and don’t know about climate change, without undermining the strength of your message, is a real balancing act. Talking Climate contains a guide to communicating uncertainty, a section focusing specifically on communicating uncertainty in IPCC reports, and links to other resources that offer advice on communicating uncertainty in climate science in the most effective way.
Another reason that climate science is so difficult to communicate is that it is complex, and often involves technical terminology and jargon. This guide contains advice on making climate science simple – the best and clearest language to get complex scientific concepts across in an understandable way.
While communicating the science of climate change is an essential component of climate change communication, there is mounting evidence that simply turning up the volume on the scientific facts and figures is not enough to get more people interested and engaged in climate change. Scepticism about the reality and seriousness of climate change is often not based on a lack of scientific knowledge. This guide summarises the social science research that is revealing why some people remain sceptical about climate change despite the strength of the scientific evidence. Talking Climate also offers a roundup of the key messages about public attitudes towards climate change – essential to understand for overcoming scepticism.