Climate talk

Climate talk

Last October, leading scientists, activists, and communications experts (including Climate Access’ Cara Pike) came together to discuss what it would take to get climate the attention that it deserves. That workshop produced a report, Toward Consensus on the Climate Communication Challenge, summarizing the science on effective communication.

Here’s what Baruch Fischhoff, Howard Heinz University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, had to say about some of its conclusions in a recent article on The Huffington Post:

“More immediate problems (jobs, kids, health) consume our personal attention. Big problems require collective action by groups with conflicting interests. Powerful forces attack any science whose findings threaten their interests. Emotions (fear, powerlessness) can cloud our judgment.

A century of social science research has provided the detail needed to unpack these processes and focus action. When do people find time to work on long-term global threats? What kinds of international agreements are worth the struggle? How can disinformation be refuted, without affording it unwarranted attention? When do emotions mobilize, rather than paralyze or confuse us?

Toward Consensus argues that acting on that research will require unprecedented collaboration, and humility, among natural scientists, social scientists, and climate activists. Natural scientists will need to respect the social sciences, not just assume that more evidence will win the day. Social scientists will need to draw on all relevant results, not just their own specialty. Climate activists will need to test their communications, not just trust their hunches about what people need to hear.”

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

Download the report, Toward Consensus on the Climate Communication Challenge, or the report summary