Better Understanding and Improving Climate Communications

A review of the University of Michigan's Erb Institute/Union of Concerned Scientists seminar, "Increasing Public Understanding of Climate Risks and Choices: What We Can Learn from Social Science Research and Practice" that gathered leading climate communications experts.

In the article, Bud Ward offers a rich commentary on the conference and includes a valuable list of climate communication insights that he saw emerge from both presenters and attendees. The following is an abridged list of the key messages that he identified:

  • Tailor climate engagement strategies and messages to specific audiences.
  • Messengers are as important as the message. Repetition of the points made by respected messengers is critical.
  • Speak directly to an audience's values, not just about facts and figures.
  • Acknowledge the present situation, express a vision, then provide the roadmap.
  • Create a culture where climate protection is heroic.
  • Focus on climate threats through risk storytelling to motivate concrete actions.
  • Uncertainty is not an excuse for inaction in the face of overwhelming evidence.
  • Engage corporate interests through emerging technologies and long-term business opportunities.
  • Consider "local warming" instead of "global warming" to focus on specific community impacts.

Learn more about the workshop and watch the video from the Town Hall.

Image is a screenshot from the Erb Institute Town Hall video page.


Date: 2012
Authors: Bud Ward
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other
Author: Bud Ward
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other

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