Communications update

Some of the best analyses on communicating the need for action on climate change
The Earth’s Climate Does Not Care…
Two minutes of great advice to Obama on communicating on climate.
2 February 2013


Winning On Climate: Framing The Debate Means Being Both For And Against Things
There’s an age-old debate playing out among climate hawks today: Do you win environmental battles by fighting against something or fighting for something?
7 June 2012

Climate change is not a ‘message.’ It’s an objective reality and an urgent crisis. That’s why we must talk about it
Have climate campaigners learned the art of political communication too well?  We poll and focus group.  We segment audiences and target swings.
9 May 2012

Hug the monster: It’s time to stop downplaying the climate threat
Journalist Bill Blakemore has a great piece on ABC’s website:‘Hug the Monster’ for Realistic Hope in Global Warming (or How to Transform Your Fearful Inner Climate). He offers advice to journalists in covering climate change – and advice to the rest of us in a world captured by denial.
8 May 2012

Reason and rationality alone are unlikely to change minds                    
Our environmental and political beliefs begin in our gut, not our head.
7 May 2012

Nation now 'indifferent' to environment
Concern for the environment has dwindled into a ''middling'' issue that many people do not have strong feelings about, a major study into Australian attitudes towards society, politics and the economy has found.
30 April 2012

Extreme Weather, Climate and Preparedness in the American Mind 
82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year; Over the past several years, Americans say the weather in the U.S. has been getting worse – rather than better – by a margin of over 2 to 1; and a large majority of Americans believe that global warming made several high profile extreme weather events worse. 
17 April  2012

Climate Coverage Plummets 80% On Broadcast Networks From 2009 To 2011 
Scientists Were Shut Out Of Climate Change Discussions On Sunday Shows
18 April 2012

Connecting the dots: A communications guide to climate change and extreme weather 
Guidelines for communicating about the connections between extreme weather and climate change to help the public understand how individual events are part of a larger trend.
March  2012

It's time for the gloves to come off on climate change
The people who accept climate change as a real threat need to accept that they have failed to get other people to accept climate change as a real threat.
07 March  2012

New Study: Political Elite Shapes Climate Discourse
Fresh analysis of public opinion presents a vexing challenge for climate communicators.
9 February 2012

New study: “The greater the quantity of media coverage of climate change, the greater the level of public concern”
A must-read study published Monday in the journal Climatic Change debunks some pervasive myths about public opinion and climate change.  The lead author, Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, gave me an exclusive interview.
6 February 2012

Bombshell: Democrats Taking “Green” Positions on Climate Change “Won Much More Often” Than Those Remaining Silent
Stanford public opinion expert Jon Krosnick and his colleagues analyzed the 2008 presidential election and the 2010 congressional election.  They found: “Democrats who took ‘green’ positions on climate change won much more often than did Democrats who remained silent,” Krosnick said. “Republicans who took ‘not-green’ positions won less often than Republicans who remained silent.”
13 October 2011

Climate communication: The science has never been more compelling, the public never so misled
Joe Romm asked me to write a guest post introducing you to Climate Communication - a new science and outreach organization dedicated to improving public understanding of climate change science.
September 13, 2011

Polling Expert: Is Obama’s Reluctance to Mention Climate Change Motivated by a False Assumption About Public Opinion?
Politicians’ understanding of the public’s beliefs on climate is much poorer than their understanding of the science. I’ve talked to senior officials from the Administration as well as journalists who cover them — and both groups report that team Obama has bought into the nonsensical and ultimately self-destructive view that talking about climate is not a political winner.
8 September 2011

The real climate message is in the shadows. It’s time to shine the light.
In sum, fear appeals appear to be effective when they depict a significant and relevant threat (to increase perceptions of severity and susceptibility) and when they outline effective responses that appear easy to accomplish (to increase perceptions of response efficacy and self-efficacy). Low-threat fear appeals appear to produce little, if any, persuasive effects… the advice to message designers is the same: A persuader should promote high levels of threat and high levels of efficacy to promote attitude, intention, and behaviour changes.
30 August 2011

Must-Read Drew Westen Op-Ed Spells Out Obama’s Catastrophic Failure of Messaging
For now, the single best piece dissecting Obama’s catastrophically bad messaging is by Drew Westen in today’s NY Times, “What Happened to Obama?“  Westen is a psychology professor at Emory and author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.
7 August 2011

Road to Ruin: Extremist ‘Climate Pragmatism’ Report Pushes Right-Wing Myths and a Failed Strategy
Let’s stipulate that if a report doesn’t spell out what your greenhouse gas concentrations target is for the planet, it is  just handwaving — and we’ve really had enough of that for two decades now.
27 July 2011

Carbon tax pitch misses the mark: it’s the climate, stupid!
Can you sell people an answer, when they’re not sure of the question? The carbon tax TV campaign confirms the government’s strategy of framing the case largely in economic terms: a "clean energy future" for investment and jobs and innovation, building Australia for the 21st century. Long gone are the days of the "great moral challenge" of our time.
18 July 2011

The Common Cause Handbook
In working with national and international issues, many of us have often appealed to financial costs and benefits – or to people’s desire for status or security – to help spur lasting social and environmental change. Yet cross-cultural psychological research on human values reveals that this may be doing untold damage to the causes we care about, by reinforcing the very values that underpin unhelpful attitudes, policies, behaviours and institutions.
July 6, 2011

Rudd govt's silence led to poor climate change support: Hugh Mackay
Social researcher Hugh Mackay says the dramatic fall in public support for action on climate change is not due to the failures of the current government or even to the Rudd backflip on an emissions trading scheme. Instead he says the trend was evident in early 2008 and was caused by what he calls a silence on climate change in the first six months of the Rudd government.
27 June 2011

Communication and climate change: what the Australian public thinks
While the majority of Australians believe climate change is a real phenomenon, some confusion and misconceptions exist when trying to decipher the information presented by the media and other communication specialists.
May 2011

Policy in an age of post-truth politics
In short, Republicans have mastered post-truth politics. They've realized that their rhetoric doesn't have to bear any connection to their policy agenda. They can go through different slogans, different rationales, different fights, depending on the political landscape of the moment. They need not feel bound by previous slogans, rationales, or fights. They've realized that policy is policy and politics is politics and they can push for the former while waging the latter battle on its own terms. The two have become entirely unmoored.
28 April 2011

No, clean energy is not a substitute for climate change
President Obama talked about clean energy in his state of the union address, but avoided climate change. That strategy won't work in tackling the climate challenge.
28 January 2011

Why dire climate warnings boost scepticism
Undermining belief in a fair world may mean that climate warnings go unheeded.
4 January 2011
BUT
Why science-based (dire) warnings are an essential part of good climate messaging
Nature's Matt Kaplan blows the story
January 5, 2011

Winning climate messages combine dire scientific threat with solutions for a just world
Last week I explained how the media blew the story of UC Berkeley study on climate messaging.  The study found the best message is also the most science-based:  Doing nothing risks “many devastating consequences” but “much of the technology we need already exists.”
28 November 2010

Messaging 101b: EcoAmerica’s phrase ‘our deteriorating atmosphere’ isn’t going to replace ‘global warming’ — and that’s a good thing.
In a front page article Saturday, “Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus,” the NYT opens with some mostly bad messaging advice from EcoAmerica: The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”
May 3, 2009

A Rough Guide to Door-Knocking on Climate
Based on some recent experiences of door-knocking by the climate movement, this Rough Guide to Door-Knocking on Climate contains practical advice as well as some discussion of the strategic thinking behind this form of community engagement.

Sell the Sizzle. The New Climate Message
In this guide we argue that climate change is no longer a scientist's problem, it's now a salesman's problem