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Georgia Climate Project: What are the best ways to talk about climate change?

Scientists for the past 100 or more years have known that the climate is changing due to the addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Basic physics tells us that if you add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, things are going to warm up. And we know that most (but not all) of the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is due to the burning of fossil fuels by looking at the isotope ratios of the different types of carbon atoms. But knowing the science is not enough–we have to know how to communicate these ideas clearly but with respect for others. Calling people names or treating them disrespectfully just makes it harder to really talk to them. This week’s Roadmap question delves into what the best ways to communicate about climate change to others are. After all, the changing climate presents challenges, but also can provide opportunities that industries, including agriculture, can take advantage of.

35. What are the most effective and practical ways to frame and communicate the challenges and opportunities of climate change in Georgia?

Why this question is important: In 2016, 68% of adult Georgians thought global warming was occurring, and 51% believed that it was caused by human activity (Marlon et al. 2016). Framing (Nisbet 2009) and communicating the issues associated with climate change is critically important to the future of climate-related action and policy in Georgia. Finding ways to frame and communicate the issues associated with climate change could have impacts on the way the State and its citizens react to the effects of climate change. Communication of the causes and consequences of climate change in Georgia is needed for the public and for policy and decision-makers.