EGU22-12116
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-12116
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Imagine it's climate crisis - and nobody gives a sh**! Some reflections on climate change communication

Kirten von Elverfeldt
Kirten von Elverfeldt
  • Department of Geograph and Regional Studies, University of Klagenfurt

Imagine, a global climate crisis is happening – but nobody cares! With this presentation I want to take you on a journey into the heads of those people who will probably never be with us in academia, who will never enter university. To these people, climate change is not plausible – and they are right: Climate change is a systemic risk, and as such it is crossing borders, complex, stochastic, and there are tipping points, all of which leads to a general implausibility for those who are not quite into science. And I want to take you on a journey through 100 years of scientists failing to make people understand.
With this presentation I want to contribute to a better general understanding of what went wrong in our communication efforts and how we can improve. This reflection takes place on two levels:

  • The level of communication: (Geo-)science communication has to be very clear about the difference between the right and the almost right word. Furthermore, it has to be very clear about the difference between informing people and making people understand.
  • The level of the characteristics of climate change: The first level is even more important whenever we are dealing with systemic risks like climate change. In our communication efforts, we will have to pay more attention to the pitfalls and paradoxes of systemic risks than we have done so far. Probably the greatest paradox is that we are simply fearing the wrong: We are afraid of things that are highly unlikely (like getting robbed) whilst underestimating risks that are highly probable (like climate change) but not plausible on first sight.

Imagine, a global climate crisis is happening – and our communication is effective, thus the majority of people understands what is at stake. However, doing more of the same will not bring us to this stage. We might have to change the way we communicate and reach out.

How to cite: von Elverfeldt, K.: Imagine it's climate crisis - and nobody gives a sh**! Some reflections on climate change communication, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12116, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-12116, 2022.

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