The Current State Of Climate Communication


Communication has the power to be a driver of action or inaction, of hope or despair, of literacy or misinformation. When it comes to the climate crisis, we often walk a fine line between these extremes. But the strategies we use to communicate about climate, and the platform through which our messages are disseminated, are factors too important to ignore. They shape our collective response to the biggest threat facing humanity, and they urgently need overhauling.

The climate story is defined by competing interests and complex dynamics between media conglomerates and public opinion — distorting scientific knowledge and consensus. Adding to the challenge is the single-frame messages many of us are exposed to — portraying climate as an isolated issue, rather than in its full interconnectedness with social justice, the economy, and global geopolitics. Simplified and sensationalized media portrayals may raise awareness, but are also one of the key challenges we have to overcome to foster meaningful and sustained action.

By recognizing the power in every message we share, we can tackle the task ahead by rethinking the way we talk about climate change, and reshaping our collective imagination — redefining narratives that will carry us into a better and more sustainable future.

keep reading

Where Have We Gone Wrong?

Climate communication has often been neglected in terms of attention, investment, funding, planning, and strategy — including by institutions and NGOs working in the climate sphere. The field is facing a difficult conundrum: while fear-based and guilt-based messaging may grab our attention, they don't necessarily inspire action. Those tactics are often perceived as manipulative and can lead to a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and even resistance among the public.
read more

The Political and Cultural Landscape of Media

The media and entertainment sector is an under-acknowledged player in influencing public attitudes and behaviors, and the role of media in shaping public perception and discourse around climate change cannot be overstated.
read more

Why We Need an Ecosystem View

To effectively engage the public on the climate crisis, it is necessary to adopt an ecosystem view of climate communication that considers the individual, collective and systemic levels, examining all dimensions of the problem. This means reversing the breakdown of complexity and reintroducing nuance into climate messaging, acknowledging that climate change is not just an environmental problem, but also a social and economic crisis. Communication strategies should therefore address the various impacts climate change has on society, including social justice issues and economic implications. As part of this, it will be crucial to highlight the need for holistic and collaborative solutions, as well as co-benefits of climate action.1 Effective communication should emphasize the opportunities for positive change and the potential benefits of taking ambitious climate action.
read more

The Case for Funding Climate Advocacy

In the early stages of coordinated climate philanthropy, directly educating and influencing policymakers could drive reductions in carbon emissions across various sectors — but today's climate policy changes require extensive public support from a diverse array of engaged stakeholders.
read more