Searching for Clearer Climate Change Messaging

Although clear climate communication is more important than ever, many people find even basic terminology about climate change confusing, research shows.

September 19, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Climate Change Protest

Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz / Shutterstock

"A recent study found that some of the most common terms in climate science are confusing to the general public," reports Rebecca Hersher, leading scientists and activists to seek better ways of communicating with the public.

"Clear climate communication gets more important every day because climate change is affecting every part of life on Earth. Nurses, doctors, farmers, teachers, engineers and business executives need reliable, accessible information about how global warming is affecting their patients, crops, students, buildings and businesses."

The group of scientists working on the 2023 National Climate Assessment, "the most comprehensive, public-facing climate change report for the U.S.," has been tasked with improving the language used in the next report. Allison Crimmins, the director of the assessment, says "[c]limate scientists and people who communicate about climate science have a responsibility to think about the terminology they use." According to Crimmins, "one way to make the information clearer is to present it in many different ways."

For its part, "[t]he United Nations has also tried to make its climate change reports more accessible. The most recent report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was more than 3,900 pages long and highly technical, but it also included a two-page summary that stated the main points in simple language, such as, 'It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.'"

Wednesday, September 8, 2021 in NPR

Stylized rendering of the Midwest Regional Rail Network

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network

If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.

January 17, 2022 - The Urbanist

New York City Politicians wears a mask at a New York subway station during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Leadership at New York Department of City Planning

With a new mayoral administration comes new planning leadership in the Big Apple.

January 20, 2022 - New York City


'15-Minute City' To Be Built in Utah

A community that focuses on reducing the need for car ownership and providing effective multimodal transportation and diverse land uses will be built from scratch on the site of the decommissioned Utah State Prison.

January 19, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

Florida Pedestrians

Opinion: Road Safety Data Should Include Close Calls

Even in the absence of lethal collisions, the experience of repeated near-misses can discourage pedestrians from walking and degrade public perception of road safety.

3 hours ago - NextCity

The courtyard of a vecindad in Mexico City's Centro Histórico

Vecindades: Mexico City's Answer to 'Missing Middle Housing'

An iconic multifamily housing form repurposes the former homes of Mexico's elite into communal housing for urban workers.

5 hours ago - Bloomberg CityLab

Wide shot of bridge overpasses under construction at the intersection of GA 400 and I-285 on July 22, 2019 in Atlanta, GA.

Three Challenges to Building Big Infrastructure in America

How complicated zoning and permitting, slow construction, and a dearth of certain skills in the public sector cause delays and increase the cost of U.S. infrastructure projects.

6 hours ago - Bloomberg CityLab

Assistant Planner

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

Urban Designer/Planner

LMN Architects

Regulatory Programs Director

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Case Study posted on HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.