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Climate Change Communication Principles Issued by American Academy Group

An American Academy of Arts & Sciences working group co-chaired by Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson has published a brief and white paper with steps to encourage clear communication about the urgency of climate change.

The reports, developed by the communication working group of the Academy’s Commission on Accelerating Climate Action, include 12 principles for effective climate change communication, ranging from communicating consensus on climate change to making messages locally relevant to demanding accountability.

The principles are designed to overcome communication barriers to effective climate action, including partisan polarization, the low prioritization of climate action among the issues evaluated by voters, and the need to overcome the assumption that “action is futile.”

The seven-page brief summarizes 12 “Proven Principles of Effective Climate Change Communication,” while the 66-page white paper offers examples of climate communication and action from the media landscape, government, nonprofits, and other sectors.

Cover of Climate Communication Principles briefIn discussing one of the principles, to “Encourage Commitments in the Form of Accountable Climate Action Plans,” the working group cited the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which asked signatories to promote efforts to create a sustainable society and eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from their own campus operations.

One example of how that was effectuated, the report said, was through a resolution of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate of the University of Pennsylvania, which asked faculty members to sign a climate pledge and posted a video to encourage them to do so.

Along with Jamieson, the co-chairs of the communication working group of the Academy’s climate action initiative are climate scientist J. Marshall Shepherd of the University of Georgia, who also serves on the external advisory board of the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability & the Media, and Bob Inglis, executive director of republicEn, a conservative climate group.

Read more about the Academy’s Accelerating Climate Action commission.

Download the brief and the white paper “Proven Principles of Effective Climate Change Communication”