World Symposium "Climate Change Communication"
7th to 9th February 2018: 2nd World Symposium on Climate Change Communication, Graz, Austria
The complexity of climate change means that appropriate approaches, methods and tools to communicate the problem and its various ramifications are urgently needed. Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) clearly addresses the importance of climate change communication to the general public and reiterates the need to engaging the various stakeholders in debating this issue. It also highlights the responsibility of the UNFCCC signatories countries to develop and implement educational and public awareness programmes on climate change and its effects, to ensure public access to information, and to promote public participation in addressing communication issues.
A serious problem observed today is the fact that because the phenomena of climate change is global in nature, many people do not believe it is related to them. Yet, most impacts of climate change are local in nature. The sooner people (especially decision-makers but also representatives from industry, the housing and agriculture sectors, as well as ordinary citizens) realise that climate change is a matter that affects them and—as such—needs to be taken seriously, the more rapidly the required mitigation and adaptation measures may be implemented. In this context, communication on climate change can play a key role.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has, in connection with its 5th Assessment Report (AR5), engaged on a major communication and information outreach to promote the report and its results. Elsewhere however, the proper communication of matters related to climate change is found wanting. The complexity of the problem, whose scope entails not only increases in temperatures, but also erratic rainfalls, extended droughts, and extreme events on the one hand, as well as decreases in agriculture and livestock production, property losses and a variety of other consequences on the other, requires a holistic understanding of the causes and effects of climate change.
The above state of affairs illustrates the need for a better understanding of what climate change is, and for the identification of approaches, processes, methods and tools which may help to better communicate it. There is also a perceived need to showcase successful examples of how communication on matters related to climate change across society and stakeholders can take place, so as to catalyse the sort of cross-sectoral action needed to address the phenomena and its many consequences.
It is against this background that the “2nd World Symposium on Climate Change Communication” is being organized by the Research and Transfer Centre “Sustainable Development and Climate Change Management” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Graz, Austria and the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) in collaboration with a set of organisations. The Symposium will be a truly interdisciplinary event, mobilizing scholars, social movements, practitioners and members of governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing projects on climate change communication across the world.
The “2nd World Symposium on Climate Change Communication” will focus on “addressing the challenges in communicating climate change across various audiences”, hence providing a platform for reflections on climate change communication research and practice. The Symposium will also offer a concrete contribution towards a better understanding and in catalysing further action to better communicate climate change. Furthermore, the event will serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice to foster climate change communication among various settings and audiences, which may be useful and which could be adapted and replicated elsewhere.