[Coral-List] Climate Change and Communication
davefisk at gmail.com
Tue Nov 1 16:07:19 EDT 2016
A recent article from WMO proposes some ways of communicating climate
change and extreme events, which may be useful for coral reef scientists
wanting to communicate impacts like the recent bleaching events with links
to climate change.
They propose several simple guidelines for clear communication around
Lead with what the science does understand and save the caveats and
uncertainties for later. For example, start by explaining the impact of
global warming on heatwaves and then discuss the specifics of an individual
Use metaphors to explain risk and probabilities. For instance,
discussion of global warming as “loading the dice toward more rolls of
extreme events”, or “stacking the deck” in favour of extremes, are examples
of accessible language.
Avoid loaded language like “blame” and “fault”.
Use accessible language for conveying uncertainty and confidence. For
example, scientists often use the word “uncertainty” to discuss the
envelope of future climate scenarios, but to the public, “uncertainty”
means we just don’t know. Instead, use the word “range”.
Try to avoid language that creates a sense of hopelessness. For example,
rather than calling further increases in some extreme weather “inevitable”,
we can discuss the choice we face between a future with increases in
extreme weather, and one with less.
Cheers Dave Fisk
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