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Publication Detail
Communicating Climate Change
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Rapley CG
  • Publication date:
  • Name of conference:
    Planet Under Pressure 2012
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
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?
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