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Climate Impacts

IPPR narrative testing: Messages about impacts are one of the most persuasive arguments for action on climate change

20 July 2022

Using a Randomised Control Trial methodology, 10 different narratives, framed around different themes, were tested in an online survey. A narrative emphasising the proximity of climate impacts was one of the best performing, especially in terms of increasing the ‘salience’ of climate change as an issue. The narrative included content emphasising:

All over the world, climate change is already leading to dangerous weather events. Scientists agree that things will get worse if we don’t take action. In the UK, we could see coastal towns submerged by rising sea levels. Heat waves that threaten our food supply; flash floods which cause destruction on a scale never seen before. We still have time. But we simply have to change now if we want to protect our way of life for the future.

The report argues that rather than focus on the so-called ‘co-benefits’ of climate action (e.g. green jobs) it is more effective to frame messages around the threat of climate impacts (as well as protecting future generations and showing global leadership).

The latest from the Climate Impacts timeline:

From the Climate Community 28th November 2023

National Trust report: A Resilience Bill could put adaptation on the same footing as mitigation

The National Trust – with a huge portfolio of land and historic properties that faces a wide range of risks from a changing climate – has released a report which includes a call for a new Climate Resilience Bill, putting adaptation on the same footing as mitigation (which they argue has a ‘unifying focus’ on net zero).

Research shows that people beyond specialist circles do not make a clear distinction between mitigation and adaptation, and see worsening climate impacts as one of the most motivating reasons for decarbonising faster. When asked directly whether the UK government should prioritise adaptation or mitigation, the most popular answer (around half of the survey respondents) in a 2020 poll was that both should be of equal focus.

  • Author: National Trust
  • Date: 7th November 2023
Climate Barometer Tracker 19th October 2023

Tracker data: What climate impacts are the public concerned about?

In terms of the impacts of extreme weather and climate change-related effects, the public is primarily concerned about: harm towards nature and wildlife, suffering and hardship for the world’s poorest, that their bills and costs may rise, and that some food will become unavailable.

The public tend to see less connection between extreme weather and climate change and the effect on their physical and mental health, or ability to spend time outdoors or travel. Only 12% said they were worried climate change and extreme weather would lead to damage to their home.

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