Four climate communication’s specialists present this excellent panel session at the 2011 American Geophysical Union conference.
Susan Joy Hassol director of of the non-profit science and outreach project, Climate Communications, starts this session on communication with a casual-yet-important observation that the public rarely reacts to new information unless there is an incentive.
The second speaker, John Cook who runs Skeptical Science presents practical tips for scientists respond to climate deniers and other media backlash. His approach is to provide scientific evidence to combat myths, yet he’s quite aware that this is not very effective.
Edward Maibach, who I’ve worked with in the past, runs George Mason’s 4C program (Center for Climate Change Communication), discusses a three-part strategy that anyone, even non-scientists can employ for effective communications: Trust, short messaging, and audience research.
I think this is one of the better walks through the problems of communicating climate science with the general public. From the description:
Addressing issues related to effective public ‘climate communications’ may require including subjects outside of one’s field of expertise.
This discussion explores real and perceived challenges regarding how to bridge the gap between expertise and relevant related cause and effect relationships to enhance effective climate communications without abandoning scientific integrity.
This delves into the differences between science, scientific opinion and general opinion. To convey the physical reality of climate change, it helps to convey ‘what climate change means’ to people in their everyday lives. For this reason, scientists need to consider how to discuss related issues, while maintaining scientific integrity.
On that note, this wraps up Climate Science Communications Week at Climate Adaptation! What did you think? Should I do another week to a single topic? What did you learn? Did you find videos were mo’ beddah than my text posts? Send your feedback to my ask box or to: http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/submit
The speakers explored several practical solutions and then launch into a decent Q&A. Some were simple, such as directing readers to share their reading materials or collaborate with authors from various news outlets (e.g., Mother Jones partnering with, say, Washington Post to work on and cross-post the same stories, which would reach different audiences.). It was good to hear some practical solutions rather than esoteric brainstorming.
The public is poorly served by reports about climate change that follow familiar lines and surface only when there’s a severe weather event or UN conference; meanwhile, media outlets like the New York Times are scaling back on environmental reporting.
Orion and media watchdog Free Press convened a panel of authors and activists (including Kate Sheppard, M. Sanjayan, Bill McKibben, and others) to propose concrete actions for improving the state of climate reporting in the mainstream media.
Climate Science Communications Week is winding down at Climate Adaptation! For the entire week of Feb. 18 - 23, I covered how climate change is discussed by the media, scientists, researchers, academics, and politicians. If you have sources or ideas on communicating climate change, send to: http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/submit