Curbing global greenhouse gas emissions (what we call ‘mitigation’) is an urgent priority, but some impacts are now unavoidable, affecting citizens and communities around the world in a range of increasingly visible ways.
Key insights from our work
- In many countries around the world, climate change concern is surging as climate impacts become more salient and visible. This opens up important new fronts for engaging the public, but efforts must be done sensitively and with empathy and compassion.
- Climate impacts are disproportionately impacting poorer and more vulnerable communities and countries, so building public support for helping these communities and increasing their resilience is vitally important.
- There is growing evidence that adaptation policies are supported across the political spectrum – practical steps to build resilience are not polarising or controversial in the way that some mitigation policies are.
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- Climate impacts make for powerful visual symbols – but must be used sensitively, and coupled with imagery/narratives that build a sense of efficacy to avoid overwhelming or disempowering audiences.
- Communicators should not avoid adaptation messages for fear that they will undermine mitigation messages: there is no evidence that this will happen, and people are likely to perceive mitigation and adaptation as two sides of the same coin.
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