Health Messaging on Carbon Pollution Standards

The EPA is looking at introducing new regulations on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, and this guide from Resource Media and US CAN want to help health professionals communicate it.


Stepping into the fray of a controversial media issue can be intimidating at the best of times, but even more so when your line of work doesn’t often involve media appearances. This report gives practical and usable advice on how to talk about the health impacts of climate change.


The report starts off by giving examples of why pollution from coal-fired power plants is dangerous to our health, followed by the link to climate disruption. It gives links to the research on asthma and allergies, diseases, weather and heat impacts.

Next, the report moves into the really practical advice like:

  • Do say ‘climate disruption’, ‘extreme weather’, ‘we can solve this’
  • When forming your message, think about the threat, the core values at stake and what the solution is
  • Think about what makes a good story – personalize your story
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare – in an interview you’ll have 10 seconds or two sentences to make your point. Have that ready and also have rebuttals to opposing views ready
  • Know how to stay on message and not get derailed
  • Use analogies or metaphors instead of statistics and never use acronyms or jargon
  • You’re always on the record
  • You should be able to explain your message in a sentence or two. If it requires a paragraph or more, keep working


There’s detail and examples for print, radio, television in the report even down to details like where to look while being interviewed (either at the host or ask the camera man), how to correct errors in an article and how to write a compelling op-ed.

The whole thing is worth a read, even if you aren’t a health professional or communicating about EPA regulations. 

image via cc, NASA/Paul E. Alers 

Date: 2014
Authors: Cat Lazaroff
Organization: Resource Media, USCAN
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other
Author: Cat Lazaroff
Organization: Resource Media, USCAN
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other

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