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Communicating Climate Change: History, Challenges, Process and Future Directions

Since anthropogenic climate change first emerged on the public agenda in the mid-to-late 1980s, public communication of climate change and - more recently - the question of how to communicate it most effectively have witnessed a steep rise. This paper synthesizes what is known, presumed, and still unknown about how to effectively communicate this problem. An introductory historical overview of climate change communication is followed by a discussion of the challenges that communicators face in trying to convey the issue (invisibility of causes, distant impacts, lack of immediacy and direct experience of the impacts, lack of gratification for taking mitigative actions, disbelief in human's global influence, complexity and uncertainty, inadequate signals indicating the need for change, perceptual limits and self-interest). The core of the paper focuses on key aspects of the communication process (purpose and scope of the communication, audience, framing, messages, messengers, modes and channels of communication, and assessing the outcomes and effectiveness of a communication). These elements are placed in relationship to several contextual factors that affect the communication process. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research on climate change communication.

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, Volume 1, Issue 1 (p 31-53).

Note: If your college offers journal access, the full report is available to registered members of the library at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123222289/PDFSTART or http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123222289/HTMLSTART.

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Date Of Record Release 2010-07-19 16:06:12
Description Since anthropogenic climate change first emerged on the public agenda in the mid-to-late 1980s, public communication of climate change and - more recently - the question of how to communicate it most effectively have witnessed a steep rise. This paper synthesizes what is known, presumed, and still unknown about how to effectively communicate this problem. An introductory historical overview of climate change communication is followed by a discussion of the challenges that communicators face in trying to convey the issue (invisibility of causes, distant impacts, lack of immediacy and direct experience of the impacts, lack of gratification for taking mitigative actions, disbelief in human's global influence, complexity and uncertainty, inadequate signals indicating the need for change, perceptual limits and self-interest). The core of the paper focuses on key aspects of the communication process (purpose and scope of the communication, audience, framing, messages, messengers, modes and channels of communication, and assessing the outcomes and effectiveness of a communication). These elements are placed in relationship to several contextual factors that affect the communication process. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research on climate change communication.

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, Volume 1, Issue 1 (p 31-53).

Note: If your college offers journal access, the full report is available to registered members of the library at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123222289/PDFSTART or http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123222289/HTMLSTART.
Classification
Resource Type
Format
Subject
Source John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Keyword Communication, Climate change
Selector Selection Committee
Date Of Record Creation 2010-07-19 15:45:12
Education Level
Date Last Modified 2011-03-08 12:37:52
Creator Susanne Moser
Language English
Date Record Checked: 2011-03-08 00:00:00 (W3C-DTF)

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