Communicating Climate Change: A Literature Review
For climate scientists, climate change is a problem that has a significant chance of having catastrophic environmental, social and economic consequences during the course of this century. In contrast, public opinion seems to regard with scepticism the pronouncements on climate change that emanate from the scientific community. Why the difference? This is what our research project was designed to examine. Or to put it another way: Assuming that the scientific information is correct, and that without a dramatic change in technology (and policy to promote such a change) there would be a significant risk of man-made, global catastrophe, what must be done to communicate this urgent issue to the public? We have approached the analysis of this problem by reviewing the literature on communicating climate change. By organising the literature according to the role of the major groups of participants in the information transfer process, useful insights can be gleaned. These groups include scientists, business, the government, the media and the general public. This analysis leads to an overall model of the information transfer process that highlights various issues including the role that the media plays as a lens through which the public observes scientific results.
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