Seminar Abstract

Susi Moser

Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Parrington Hall, Room 309 ("The Forum")

Toward effective climate change communication: Understanding, engagement, and action

Climate change is in the news now almost every day. Whether it's Hurricane Katrina, the new IPCC reports, Greenland melting more rapidly than we dare to think, Congress discussing climate bills, or Al Gore winning the Oscar for Best Documentary -- we seem to be on a "high" in the issue attention cycle on global warming. But are things really changing? Where is the American public on climate change? Have we helped the public sufficiently to understand the urgency of global warming, engaged people in dialogue and persuaded them on the need for action? Is anyone changing their behavior yet? And if not, what else needs to be done? What are the prospects for keeping people engaged on this long-term issue?

Clearly, the need for effective communication, public outreach, and education to increase support for policy, collective action, and behavior change is ever present, and is perhaps most pressing in the context of anthropogenic climate change. This talk will present findings and lessons learned from a three-year project examining climate change communication and its effectiveness in supporting societal response. It will lay out best practices and suggest new directions for communicating climate change in a way that could lead to greater public engagement, policy action, and deeper social changes.

Speaker bio:

Dr. Susi Moser is a Research Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Institute for the Study of Society and Environment in Boulder, Colorado. A geographer by training (Ph.D. from Clark University, 1997), her work over the past 15 years has focused on interdisciplinary challenges such as the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on coastal areas, community and state responses to such global change hazards, the interaction between science and policy/practice, and the communication of climate change risks in support of societal responses to climate change. Dr. Moser was lead editor for the recently released (2006) book Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change.