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|under 10 minutes
Global Warming's Six Americas
In this eloquent short video, the director of the Yale Forum on Climate Change
& The Media explains the basic (and very important) results of this on-going
public survey project tracking American attitudes about and knowledge of
(6 minutes, 2011)
Climate Talk: Science and Solutions
Susan Joy Hassol, TEDxUMontana
A crystal-clear overview of fixes for ways science communication can interfere
with the public understanding of climate change. Hassol has long been in the
lead on this issue as a practitioner and trainer.
(16 minutes, 2015)
Chapman Conference on Climate Science Communications
Attended by some hundred climate scientists and communicators, including many
leaders in their fields, this meeting was organized primarily by James Byrne
of Lethbridge University with many partners and contributors. Most talks on
this YouTube playlist are under 20 minutes long.
(lengths vary, June 2013)
||articles & essays
FOCUS on Misinformation and Denial
There's a lot of false information around, a good part of which is spread intentionally by people who
want to confuse the rest of us. Here are sources for those who want to clarify their own
knowledge‒or help others do the same.
Communication: Start Here
Changing Climates @ CSU / 100 Views of Climate Change
An annotated list of excellent sources for getting started with the topic of
climate change communication. Designed to print out as a single double-sided
Climate Change is Everybody's Business. So How Do You Talk to Everybody?
Changing Climates @ CSU / 100 Views of Climate Change
This concise tip sheet summarizes six key communication principles, a few
particulars for the topic of climate change, and a brief guide to a few of the
resources listed on this website. Designed to print out as a single
double-sided sheet, with room for hole-punching. For another brief tip sheet
about writing more accessible prose, see
For Clearer, More Inviting Writing.
The Consensus Handbook
John Cook, Sander van der Linden, Edward Maibach, Stephan Lewandowsky, March, 2018
Everything you need to know about why it matters that people understand how
thoroughly climate scientists really do agree that human-caused climate change
is happening. The research behind the well-known 97% number; how the public
responds to this number (as a gateway belief); how misinformation campaigns
have tried to undermine it; and how best to counter that misinformation
(inoculation with information about how misinformation is typically crafted);
and why it matters: these important things are laid out clearly and concisely,
with enough detail for specialists but in a way that is very readable for the
rest of us.
The Disinformation Playbook: How Business Interests Deceive, Misinform, and Buy Influence at the Expense of Public Health and Safety
The Union of Concerned Scientists, October 2017
This lively compilation of tactics for spreading dangerous disinformation,
while it is not limited to climate change, is very useful for this critical
issue. The Fake, the Blitz, the Diversion, the Screen, and the Fix: how these
tactics operate, examples of who has used them, and ideas for how to counter
2015's Five Fave Flashcards
Anna Fahey, Sightline Institute, December 2015
Smart, succinct tips for communicating about climate change: "Pope Francis's
Climate Talking Points," "Climate Science in 4 Pictures" (metaphorical),
"What's Your Climate Change Elevator Pitch?" (values, then scientific basics,
then actions), a video on "The Art of Talking Climate Change" (to reporters),
and "Three Climate Messages That Win" (Threat, Villain, Solution). You won't
find a faster primer on this subject.
Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change: Five "Best Practice" Insights from Psychological Science
Sander van der Linden, Edward Maibach, Anthony Leiserowitz, Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2015
This peer-reviewed and well-documented academic article is nevertheless
extremely readable and cuts to the core of the communication question.
Why Doesn't Anyone Know How to Talk About Global Warming?
Natasha Geiling, Smithsonian.com, May 2014
An excellent discussion of a very wide range of complications related to
effective communication on this topic, along with ideas about solutions. Lots
of good links to the key literature.
Breaking the Climate Fear Taboo: Why Feelings Matter for Our Climate Change Communications
Renee Lertzman, Sightline Daily, March 2014
Lertzman has focused her research on climate change communication and
psychology, and this short, efficient blog post offers a set of four
categories with which we think about engagement with the topic. One of them,
the one having to do with feelings, we tend to neglect, to our loss. Here she
offers five guidelines for allowing people to have their feelings without fear
The Id and the Eco
Rosemary Randall, Aeon, December 2012
"Thinking about climate change makes people feel helpless and
anxious‒but that's why we must talk about it openly": so
psychotherapist Randall explains in this terrific article. Rich in insights
about human emotions as they interfere with our ability to deal well with
climate change, and some good ideas about what we might do to face and cope
with these emotions.
The Psychology of Climate Change Communication
The Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED), Columbia
The best efficient guide available for sound advice about better ways to
communicate about climate change, especially with the general public and
decision makers from government and business. Culling research findings from
psychology, anthropology, economics, history, environmental science and
policy, and climate science, this text's principles and examples are clear,
practical, and interesting. The principal sections are "Know Your Audience,"
"Get Your Audience's Attention," "Translate Scientific Data into Concrete
Experience," "Beware the Overuse of Emotional Appeals," "Address Scientific
and Climate Uncertainties," "Tap into Social Identities and Affiliations,"
"Encourage Group Participation," and "Make Behavior Change Easier." The report
is well worth reading in its entirety, but there's also a useful summary, "The
Principles of Climate Change Communication in Brief."
Global Warming's Six Americas
Prepared by the Yale Project on Climate Change and George Mason University's
Center for Climate Change Communication, this important series of downloadable
surveys analyses the American public's "climate change beliefs, attitudes,
risk perceptions, motivations, values, policy preferences, behaviors, and
underlying barriers to action." For a good article about the core results, see
What Do Americans Think about Global
Warming? Tony Leiserowitz can tell you. It's not what you might expect.
(Neela Banerjee, Yale Alumni Magazine, Jan/Feb 2015) "The perception among
many in the media, in politics, and so on‒that you can't talk about this
because half the country is against you?‒it's false, it's wrong . . .
It's only 15 percent. They're a really loud 15 percent, and they have
convinced much of the country it's not safe to talk about it, but it's just
This website offers an excellent one-stop-shopping "resource hub" focusing on
"essential research, news articles, and commentary on climate change
communications, behavior change, and public opinion." (It includes other
elements, too, but these are central.) Significant parts of the site are
public; for others, you need to apply as part of an organization working in
this field. Run by the Resource Innovation Group's Social Capital Project, the
Rutgers Initiative on Climate and Society, and the Stonehouse Standing Circle,
the website features two mottoes: "The network for those engaging the public
in the transformation to low-carbon, resilient communities" and "SHARING WHAT
With the goal of helping us all "see the invisible," this group and site
develop and offer still and animated "images of carbon emissions, air
pollution, water use, waste and more." A useful resource for anyone who has
trouble really grasping such things as what one day's carbon emissions might
Covering Climate Change
Tom Yulsman, the Poynter Institute News University
This free, online, self-directed course offers to "non-expert reporters and
citizen journalists a firm grounding in the science and policy underlying
climate change." Estimated time to complete: 4 hours.
George Mason University, Center for Climate Change Communication
This center uses "social science research methods‒experiments, surveys,
in-depth interviews and other methods‒to find ways of effectively
the public and policy makers in the problem, and in considering and enacting
solutions." In 2017, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the Center
published a very useful, readable
overview of their main findings about the
challenges of and main discoveries about climate change communication: an
excellent way to get acquainted with this body of work.