Right Here, Right Now: A Communications Guide to Climate Change Impacts

Tools and strategies from Climate Nexus to help Americans understand the link between climate disruption and disaster through well-crafted and disciplined communication approaches.



The public is increasingly connecting the dots between climate disruption and impacts, but these correlations are complex and can be difficult to communicate. The report provides communication guidelines and example language for leveraging teachable moments and motivating action.


  • Talk about the Here and Now – Focusing solely on the future can undermine urgency.

  • Paint the Big Picture – Emphasize that climate change is happening right here, right now.

  • Link Damage and Disasters to the Larger Trends – Start with the current event and link the trend to climate change.

  • Highlight the Strongest Link – Start with the links where the science is strongest.

  • Focus on Climate Disruption – Avoid counter-intuitive framing by using the term “climate disruption.”

  • Connect Climate Disruption to the Disaster – Link climate disruption to damage, not just the event itself.

  • Invoke Thresholds for Assessing Damage and Disaster – Show how infrastructure and systems can be overwhelmed by extremes.

  • Talk What You Know – Lead with what you know, rather than saying you can’t blame a particular disaster on climate change.

  • Highlight Broken Records – Record setting events grab attention.

  • Focus on Frequency and Severity – Severe events are the most likely to become more frequent.

  • Claim Unprecedented Events – All weather events are now affected by climate change.

  • Know the Signatures of Climate Change – Different regions face different kinds of impacts.

  • Don't Debate the Science – Simply point to trusted authorities who have validated the science of climate change.

  • Don’t Debate the Consensus – Compare deniers to those who denied the consensus on smoking and cancer.

  • Push Back – Assert that the science is strong.

  • Preempt Alternative Explanations – Explain how climate change is a contributing factor of other variations.

  • Know Your Audience – Use the messengers most trusted by those who you are trying to reach.

Date: 2013
Organization: Climate Nexus
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other
Organization: Climate Nexus
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other

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