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Communicating Climate Change

Rapley, CG; Communicating Climate Change. In: (Proceedings) Planet Under Pressure 2012.

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There is a large gap between the 97% of practising climate scientists who accept that the Earth’s climate is changing, driven by humans and that this represents a significant threat to human wellbeing, and the 30-40% (with wide variations) of non-specialists who agree. This is a problem, since public perceptions exert a strong influence on the global societal response feasible. A common reaction by the science community has been to provide more and clearer information. Although necessary, this is not sufficient, since it does not address key underlying causes. These concern the human response to information that is disquieting, challenges deeply held convictions and world views, or simply threatens the status quo. As a consequence, the effective delivery of more facts can be counterproductive. Having recognised that the “information deficit” model does not work, what approach should a scientist take in communicating the messages of climate science? What is the role of science and the scientist given the need for a massive scaling up of action if the extent of dangerous climate change is to be limited, and if society is to become resilient to the changes to which we are already committed?

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Communicating Climate Change
Event: Planet Under Pressure 2012
Dates: 26 March 2012 - 29 March 2012
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1345442
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