Planet Under Pressure - Session "Communicating climate change: Achieving a richer quality of engagement with publics and people"
Asher Minns (the user), Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK; Lorraine Whitmarsh, University of Cardiff, UK; Joe Smith, The Open University, UK
Session content: Public opinion polls suggest that awareness of climate change is consistently high, and the majority see it as human-caused. At one level, then, publicity for climate change science has been relatively effective. However the years since 2009 have seen challenges to public engagement. News editors gave prominence to ‘Climategate' and other climate science controversies, and social media activity gathered and promoted contrarian opinion. Policy and political processes have also appeared to lose momentum. This session explores the relationship between environmental science, media decision-making and levels of public engagement, and what can the science and policy community do to improve the breadth and depth of public deliberation of climate change.
We examine and discuss what is currently understood about engaging diverse publics, with an emphasis on communicating science and policy processes, risk and uncertainty, and directions for future engagement. Our purpose is to assess and analyse how the science and societal implications of climate change can be better communicated by the research and policy communities. How can we enhance interest for new knowledge about climate change? How can we be effective in communicating what is and what is not known? What are the implications and outcomes of communication for societal, lifestyle and behaviour changes?
The target audience for this session is researchers, press officers, science communicators and policy people who are interested in how a richer quality of communication and public engagement can be pursued.