Fri, 2006-08-04 09:47Kevin Grandia
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Warning: Climate porn is bad for you

The Institute for Public Policy Research, a UK-based think tank, issued areport yesterday warning environmentalists and communicaters to stay away from alarmist language that may be causing more harm than good when it comes to getting the message across about global warming.

The IPPR report is just another in a series of reports and research urging envrionmentalists and those who want real action on climate change to re-think the way we communicate the issue to the public. In any public relations campaign, there is always a real danger of creating an unwanted or opposite effect from what is intended. If the PR program you design is not grounded in thorough research, usually in the form of such things as polling and focus groups, you will always be in the dark about what the actual effects are of your program are.

In the case of the IPPR report, the authors, a linguist and a textual analyst, make the sound argument that alarmist language can elicit an effect more akin to “climate porn,” than a call to arms by the citizenry to tackle global warming. In other words, many public interest groups assume that melting glaciers and heat waves will scare people to action, when in fact it has the opposite effect of people tuning out the message they are trying to get across. PR professionals have known this for years, but much like smoking, we all know that alarmism is bad for us, but many of us continue to do it anyways.
Fri, 2006-08-04 09:35Richard Littlemore
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UK Communications Firm Advises on Climate Communication

The on-line Grist Magazine has found a really excellent guide to climate change communications here.
Fri, 2006-08-04 09:02Richard Littlemore
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Skeptical Inquirer Weighs In on Journalistic Imbalance

Look here for a piece by American University Communications Professor Matthew Nisbet and The Republican War on Science author Chris Mooney weighing in on the journalistic challenges of covering climate change.

The piece appears on the Skeptical Inquirer site, but we found it through a Grist post that adds an additional interesting comment to the whole piece.

Fri, 2006-08-04 08:39Richard Littlemore
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Leaked Memo Update: Electricity Producers Respond

For those of you who don't necessarily get back to the comments on older posts, it's worth checking here, for some electricity industry counterpoints on our coverage of a leaked memo from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association.

It is, frankly, nice to see American Electric Power trying to distance itself from the corporate disinformation strategy laid out in the IREA memo. It's a little harder to swallow the not-for-profit motives of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, but by all means, check out their comments and judge for yourself

Thu, 2006-08-03 16:12Jim Hoggan
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Milloy's National Post Spin is Textbook PR Manipulation

Pure junkThe column that Junk Scientist Steven J. Milloy wrote in the National Post Aug. 2, 2006 is a textbook example - a really reprehensible example - of the kind of PR spin that is perverting the global climate change conversation.

Milloy is rising in defence of General Motors, DaimlerChrysler Corp. and the Association of Automobile Manufacturers, all of whom are suing the State if California for trying to strengthen its emissions legislation. In its own defence, in a pretrial discovery motion, California had asked for information on how much these companies were paying a group of “scientists” who are the most outspoken climate change skeptics in the United States.

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