US Climate and Health Alliance

Effectively Communicating Climate Change to the American Public: Challenges and Opportunities

Location: Online presentation

Sponsor: Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE)

More information:

There is no one public response to climate change. Instead, there are different audiences or “interpretive communities” within society who each respond to the issue in their own distinct ways. One of the first rules of effective communication is “know thy audience” – including who they are, what they currently understand or misunderstand about climate change, their perceptions of the risks, their underlying values, attitudes, and emotions, where they get their information, whom they trust, etc. This presentation will explore national public opinion about different dimensions of climate change, and will identify “Six Americas,” an audience segmentation framework that has been widely used to develop effective education and communication tools focusing on climate change. An interactive mapping tool called “Yale Climate Opinion Maps” (YCOM) will also be presented. YCOM allows users to visualize and explore differences in public opinion about global warming in the United States in unprecedented geographic detail.

About the Speaker: Jennifer Marlon, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC). She obtained her Ph.D. and M.S. in Geography from the University of Oregon. Dr. Marlon studies human-environment interactions – how geography, psychology, and social processes drive environmental changes, and how humans perceive and respond to those changes. Her current research focuses primarily on climate change communication, especially public perceptions of extreme weather, such as hurricanes, droughts, and heat waves. She also studies long-term climate-fire interactions using paleoenvironmental data.