Communicating climate science

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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.

Related guides

  1. Communicating cli­mate change
  2. Resources for com­mu­nic­ating cli­mate change
  3. Public per­cep­tions of cli­mate change
  4. <a href=“” title=“Permanent link to Values & frames”>Values & frames
  5. Encouraging sus­tain­able beha­viour

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This website, a project of Climate Outreach (COIN), has been integrated into the new Climate Outreach website. Any updates since 21 October 2015 have been made to the new website only, not here, and this website will soon be deleted. Please bookmark our new website – we look forward to continuing to share the latest in climate communication research with you. We are now tweeting from @climateoutreach so please follow us there.