The Challenges for Climate Communication Post-COP21

Last fall I was in Helsinki to give two presentations at the 2nd ICOS Scientific Conference. ICOS is the Integrated Carbon Observation System, a European-wide research infrastructure that is developing a harmonized system for collecting and disseminating carbon cycle and greenhouse gas data. In their words, ICOS is an “organisation of eleven member countries and over 100 greenhouse gases measuring stations aimed at quantifying and understanding the greenhouse gas balance of the Europe and neighbouring regions.”

 Needless to say, the conference delegates were almost all bio-physical scientists who, I assumed, knew little or nothing about communication theory generally or climate communication research specifically. Keep that in mind as you read on because that informed my approach to the two talks.

In other words, if you are somewhat familiar with the research on climate communication, this should be pretty familiar ground. But if you are new to the topic, I hope this will be a good primer for you.

The first presentation, a keynote, was about the challenges of communicating about climate change in the Post-COP21 context. The second was about some of the main things we know about good practices in climate communication. Both of these talks were meant to synthesize of some of the current thinking among scholars and practitioners on these topics.

What follows is the approximate text of the first talk, edited somewhat for this context. I’ll do a post on the second talk shortly. Continue reading

A Brief Explanation of why Global Warming is Misunderstood in America

The following article was commissioned by my local PBS station, WCNY, to accompany a program called Arctic Air, broadcast in the fall of 2010. The article was originally published on the WCNY Arctic Air web site. Continue reading