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=“http://talkingclimate.org/guides/values-frames/” title=“Permanent link to Values & frames”>Values & frames
  5. Encouraging sus­tain­able beha­viour

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