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Dr. Jill Hopke
@jillhopke
Climate Change Science and Policy
DePaul University
October 17, 2017
Communicating on Climate
Change
• What’s at stake
• Socio-psychological underpinnings to
climate change beliefs
• Visualizing climate change
• My research and teaching
Talk Outline
NASA [NASA]. (2017, Jan. 18). 2016 is the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures.
[Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/NASAClimate/status/821762849496186880
Climate Change as as a Distant, Far-off Problem?
Polar bears as a “condensation symbol” on climate change
• Climate change is hard to visualize
– Intangible and abstract, large-scale
global problem
• The problem with polar bears
– Gives impression the problem is far off
and distant
Going Beyond Polar Bears
What Climate Change Means for Chicago
Communicating on Climate
Science
Climate Change Belief – “Six Americas”
Source: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (2016, Nov. 30), http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/global-
warmings-six-americas-november-2016/.
Climate Change Belief – “Six Americas”
Artwork by Michael Sloan. Source: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/about/projects/global-warmings-six-americas/.
• Personal experience
with extreme weather
events can impact
likelihood someone
believes global
warming is occurring
Extreme Weather and Climate Beliefs
Damaged boats dropped in a heap by the storm surge
of Hurricane Sandy on the New Jersey shore. Source:
http://www.climatevisuals.org/.
• “Inoculation messages” help,
effective across political ideology
affiliations
• Pre-emptively highlight
misinformation and refute counter-
arguments
How to counter-act false claims on climate science?
Source: van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., Rosenthal, S., and Maibach, E. Inoculating the Public against Misinformation
about Climate Change. Global Challenges: Climate Change. 2017. DOI: 10.1002/gch2.201600008. Retrieved from
http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/inoculate-public-misinformation-climate-change/
• Convey consensus of climate scientists
on human-caused climate change
– “97% of climate scientists have concluded
that…”
Inoculating Against Misinformation
Source: van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., Rosenthal, S., and Maibach, E. Inoculating the Public against Misinformation
about Climate Change. Global Challenges: Climate Change. 2017. DOI: 10.1002/gch2.201600008. Retrieved from
http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/inoculate-public-misinformation-climate-change/
• Peripheral / heuristic
information processing
Visuals, humor, credible
sources
• Promote positive
social norms
Show climate-friendly
behaviors are common
Tailoring Appeals to “Disengaged” Publics
Black-and-white backlight daytime photo of street in
Melbourne, Australia. Source:
http://www.climatevisuals.org/.
• Show rather than tell
 Show localized climate
impacts
• Use storytelling and
narratives
Tailoring Appeals to “Disengaged” Publics
• Study of how people
respond to visuals
about climate change
– 2015: Discussion groups
in London (2) and Berlin
(2)
– International online
survey (n=3,014)
Climate Outreach – Climate Visuals Research
Source: Corner, A., Webster, R. & Teriete, C. (2015). Climate Visuals: Seven principles for visual climate change communication (based
on international social research). Oxford: Climate Outreach.
• Show real people
– Don’t stage!
• Tell new stories
– “Classic” images =
fatigue
– Go for less familiar,
thought-provoking
Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations
Kids Planting Flowers.
Source: http://www.climatevisuals.org/.
• Show causes at scale
– People don’t
understand links to
daily life
• Climate impacts =
emotion /
overwhelming
– Put with actions people
can take
Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations
Traffic Jam USA.
Source:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/florian_the_great/.
• Show localized
impacts
– Balance with bigger
picture
• Be careful with
protest imagery
– Most people don’t
identify with
Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations
People’s Climate March in New York City, 2014.
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.
• Lastly but important! Understand your
audience.
– For people on political right, “distant” climate
impacts = flatter emotional response
– Images showing climate solutions = mostly
positive emotions for individuals across political
ideology
Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations
My Research and Teaching
• COP21
– Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, 2015
– 195 nations agree to limit global
greenhouse gas emissions with
voluntary targets
• June 1, 2017: Pres. Trump
announces pending U.S.
withdrawal from agreement
Visual Twitter During COP21 Paris Climate Talks
The Guardian – Climate Justice Theme
Movement Orgs – Climate Justice Theme
Fossil Fuel Industry – Focus on Obama “agenda”
• Winter 2018
Undergraduate
Included in the new minor
JOUR 311 / CMN 363
Mondays and Wednesdays
2:40 – 4:10 p.m. in LPC
New Climate Change Communication Course
Questions?
Jill Hopke, Ph.D.
jhopke@depaul.edu
Jillhopke.com

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Communicating on Climate Change

  • 1. Dr. Jill Hopke @jillhopke Climate Change Science and Policy DePaul University October 17, 2017 Communicating on Climate Change
  • 2. • What’s at stake • Socio-psychological underpinnings to climate change beliefs • Visualizing climate change • My research and teaching Talk Outline
  • 3. NASA [NASA]. (2017, Jan. 18). 2016 is the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/NASAClimate/status/821762849496186880
  • 4. Climate Change as as a Distant, Far-off Problem? Polar bears as a “condensation symbol” on climate change
  • 5. • Climate change is hard to visualize – Intangible and abstract, large-scale global problem • The problem with polar bears – Gives impression the problem is far off and distant Going Beyond Polar Bears
  • 6. What Climate Change Means for Chicago
  • 8. Climate Change Belief – “Six Americas” Source: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (2016, Nov. 30), http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/global- warmings-six-americas-november-2016/.
  • 9. Climate Change Belief – “Six Americas” Artwork by Michael Sloan. Source: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/about/projects/global-warmings-six-americas/.
  • 10. • Personal experience with extreme weather events can impact likelihood someone believes global warming is occurring Extreme Weather and Climate Beliefs Damaged boats dropped in a heap by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy on the New Jersey shore. Source: http://www.climatevisuals.org/.
  • 11. • “Inoculation messages” help, effective across political ideology affiliations • Pre-emptively highlight misinformation and refute counter- arguments How to counter-act false claims on climate science? Source: van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., Rosenthal, S., and Maibach, E. Inoculating the Public against Misinformation about Climate Change. Global Challenges: Climate Change. 2017. DOI: 10.1002/gch2.201600008. Retrieved from http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/inoculate-public-misinformation-climate-change/
  • 12. • Convey consensus of climate scientists on human-caused climate change – “97% of climate scientists have concluded that…” Inoculating Against Misinformation Source: van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., Rosenthal, S., and Maibach, E. Inoculating the Public against Misinformation about Climate Change. Global Challenges: Climate Change. 2017. DOI: 10.1002/gch2.201600008. Retrieved from http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/inoculate-public-misinformation-climate-change/
  • 13. • Peripheral / heuristic information processing Visuals, humor, credible sources • Promote positive social norms Show climate-friendly behaviors are common Tailoring Appeals to “Disengaged” Publics Black-and-white backlight daytime photo of street in Melbourne, Australia. Source: http://www.climatevisuals.org/.
  • 14. • Show rather than tell  Show localized climate impacts • Use storytelling and narratives Tailoring Appeals to “Disengaged” Publics
  • 15. • Study of how people respond to visuals about climate change – 2015: Discussion groups in London (2) and Berlin (2) – International online survey (n=3,014) Climate Outreach – Climate Visuals Research Source: Corner, A., Webster, R. & Teriete, C. (2015). Climate Visuals: Seven principles for visual climate change communication (based on international social research). Oxford: Climate Outreach.
  • 16. • Show real people – Don’t stage! • Tell new stories – “Classic” images = fatigue – Go for less familiar, thought-provoking Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations Kids Planting Flowers. Source: http://www.climatevisuals.org/.
  • 17. • Show causes at scale – People don’t understand links to daily life • Climate impacts = emotion / overwhelming – Put with actions people can take Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations Traffic Jam USA. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/florian_the_great/.
  • 18. • Show localized impacts – Balance with bigger picture • Be careful with protest imagery – Most people don’t identify with Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations People’s Climate March in New York City, 2014. Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.
  • 19. • Lastly but important! Understand your audience. – For people on political right, “distant” climate impacts = flatter emotional response – Images showing climate solutions = mostly positive emotions for individuals across political ideology Climate Visuals: Key Recommendations
  • 20. My Research and Teaching
  • 21. • COP21 – Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, 2015 – 195 nations agree to limit global greenhouse gas emissions with voluntary targets • June 1, 2017: Pres. Trump announces pending U.S. withdrawal from agreement Visual Twitter During COP21 Paris Climate Talks
  • 22. The Guardian – Climate Justice Theme
  • 23. Movement Orgs – Climate Justice Theme
  • 24. Fossil Fuel Industry – Focus on Obama “agenda”
  • 25. • Winter 2018 Undergraduate Included in the new minor JOUR 311 / CMN 363 Mondays and Wednesdays 2:40 – 4:10 p.m. in LPC New Climate Change Communication Course

Editor's Notes

  1. CONTEXT – Planet is getting hotter; 2016 was hottest year in recorded history. Climate impacts in IL:
  2. Condensation symbol = Word or phrase evoke emotion, memories and/or anxieties Symbol of the Arctic By 2005: Scientists find evidence polar bears drowning due to melting ice sheets Have to swim longer distances
  3. Not the deficit model of science communication  not a matter of just giving people more information. It’s about wordviews and pre-held beliefs, social networks of friends and family, identity.
  4. “The Alarmed are fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and are already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it. The Concerned are also convinced that global warming is happening and a serious problem, but have not yet engaged the issue personally. Three other Americas – the Cautious, the Disengaged, and the Doubtful – represent different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem, and none are actively involved. The final America – the Dismissive are very sure it is not happening and are actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
  5. “The emerging literature on this relationship indicates that individuals are more likely to express skepticism regarding the existence of global warming when experiencing below average temperatures or above average snowfall in the period preceding an interview on their views. Conversely, higher temperatures and various extreme weather events can elevate acceptance of global warming’s existence.”
  6. Context of “disinformation campaigns” False memes, inaccurate mental models
  7. In the lead up to the 2015 Paris climate talks, divestment from fossil fuels gained the support of high-profile individuals, including: former UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. While there was a push by activists to promote fossil fuel divestment during COP21, less than 1 percent of the total social media posting volume was devoted to the topic. Paris Agreement a landmark in voluntary climate action by nation-states (broad international support). Went into force 4 November 2016 (right before US presidential election). US President Donald Trump announced the country will withdraw when able (around time of 2020 presidential election).
  8. How to visualize abstract concepts, like “climate justice”? Future possible / predicted outcomes? The Guardian’s discussion of climate solutions was notably higher in posting about outcomes of the climate summit and climate justice. U.S. publications discussed climate science and research to a greater degree than other media stakeholders.
  9. Similar visual to the previous. In US context, coal is now major point of contention / national conversation on energy development / climate with Pres. Trump push to bring back the coal industry.
  10. Nation-state contributions (Treaty) BIO: “The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) tweets about clean coal technology, coal-based electricity and energy issues.” For fossil fuel industry and trade groups posts, the majority of posts were about nation-state contributions, specifically focused on then-US President Barack Obama's engagement with the international community on climate action and a perceived lack of support at home. In addition, no solution and fossil fuel-based solutions are also higher than expected by chance. Effects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of pending withdrawal from Paris Accord International commitment to agreement Cities and states stepping-up on U.S. climate action Better understanding of fossil fuel industry / supporters visual messaging needed
  11. Thank you! Questions? Discussion?