Climate Consortium

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Earth and Environment


Climate change is an area of environmental science with far reaching social, political and cultural implications. How members of the public think about and engage with the science of climate change - and the consequences for everyone's lives - is a crucial piece of the puzzle for making progress on climate change as a society. Effective adaptation policies, national targets for energy efficiency, and rapid decarbonisation through energy technologies all depend on committed and sustained public engagement. This means that in addition to a solid evidence base on climate science, the science of communicating climate change is critical too

The Climate Consortium project aims to provide the 'infrastructure' to ensure that efforts to engage the public on climate change are coordinated, effective and based on the most up-to-date evidence from academic studies and tried-and-tested practitioner expertise. The project team includes internationally recognised specialists on public engagement, high profile science communicators and a blend of climate science, social science and communications expertise. Using our networks and experience, we will ensure that the Climate Consortium is an inclusive one year programme, producing evidence-based but accessible resources to catalyse public engagement with climate change at a national scale.

The first stage of the Climate Consortium project involves an 'audit' of the diverse pool of expertise on public engagement with climate change that already exists in the UK. Rather than 'reinvent the wheel', we will identify opportunities for better coordinating and drawing value from existing initiatives, including producing a publicly available register of climate change public engagement expertise.

But public engagement experience is only one side of the equation - central to the Climate Consortium project is working closely with diverse representatives of public groups (including Refugee Action and regional Community Centres) to identify and establish possible channels for effectively reaching beyond the 'usual suspects' with climate change communication, and instead creating a dialogue with diverse communities and who bring new and distinct perspectives.

A key output for the project will be a website that captures areas of agreement and 'consensus' between experts on public engagement (and areas of disagreement), and presents them in an easy-to-use tool for public engagement practitioners. This is crucial so that the diverse range of individuals and organisations undertaking public engagement on climate change in the UK can access a trusted and reliable source of guidance on strategies and approaches for effective communication and dialogue.


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