35th year, issue #86
november 2021
the cop26 edition
curated for you
Bondi Icebergs pool
five tips from rebecca huntley

Positive climate
writing

1

You don't have to start with the science

Australian Audiences have become all too familiar with the usual climate change script which starts with the alarming science and moves quickly to catastrophic projections about the future. While these are important elements of the story to tell, if you lead with them and over-emphasise them it can be a barrier to engagement and sustaining interest. Thinking about new ways to communicate the science is important. But starting the story with solutions and strategies to address climate change and individual stories of those taking action on climate can be a better way forward.

2

Make the connections

Not everyone immediately recognises or acknowledges that the impacts of climate change are being felt today in this country, in their own backyard. Finding ways to connect climate impacts with people’s lives – the food we eat, the way we work, the air we breathe, our mental and physical health, our jobs, pretty much everything – is critical. And connecting action on climate with protecting and preserving what we value today equally important.
Urgent COP26 delivery – the superb fairywren’s first order of business as 2021 Australian bird of the year.
Superb fairywren carrying urgent mail to deliver

3

Think beyond the usual messengers

While Australians still trust scientists and still need to hear from politicians on climate, they are not the only messengers. A quick scan online will uncover all kinds of Australians from all places, all professionals, political persuasions and backgrounds concerned about climate and acting in the best ways they know how. Consider talking to builders, sportspeople, health professionals, parents and grandparents, animals lovers, faith leaders and business people of all kinds about why climate change matters to them and what they are doing about it.

4

Forget polar bears on icecaps

The images we match with the stories we tell about climate change really matter. Bleak vistas devoid of humanity or images from overseas don’t always work. Find images that people can relate to, that look like they come from their own backyard. It strengthens the salience of the climate story. This is happening to be people like me, right here right now.

5

Emphasise the common ground rather than the division

Because of the toxic partisan politics around climate change that has hampered progress for over a decade, we forget the level of consensus and increasing momentum around climate in the community, in business, in so many parts of our society. People are just getting on with it. Show the agreement and not just the division, people, communities and organisations collaborating to address the climate crisis.
The book
How To Talk About Climate Change in A Way That Makes a Difference is book is about understanding why people who aren't like you feel the way they do and learning to talk to them effectively. What we need are thousands - millions - of everyday conversations about the climate to enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action.
learn more
About the author
Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia's foremost researchers on social trends and author of numerous books including How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference (Murdoch books, 2020). She leads her own research and consultancy firm working closely with climate and environment NGOs, government and business on climate change strategy and communication and is the Chair of the Advisory Board of Australian Parents for Climate Action.
in numbers

The climate story

The Australia Institute Climate of the Nation 2021 Report

Australians’ concern about climate change is at an all time high.

In the lead-up to COP26, 75% of Australians are concerned about climate change while seven in 10 think Australia should set emissions targets.
The Lowy Institute Climate Poll 2021

Eight in ten Australians (78%) support ‘setting a net-zero emissions target for 2050’.

Most Australians want Australia to increase its ambitions on climate change policy. Seven in ten Australians (70%) say Australia should join other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, to increase its commitments to address climate change.
The People’s Climate Vote

64% of people believe that climate change is an “emergency” and must be addressed urgently.

With 1.2 million respondents, the Peoples' Climate Vote is the largest survey of public opinion on climate change ever conducted. It found that 64% of people believe that climate change is an “emergency” and must be addressed urgently, but just 10% believe world leaders are doing enough.
Young people’s voices on climate anxiety

59% of children and young people were 'very' or 'extremely' worried about climate change.

The survey — the largest of its kind — asked 10,000 young people in 10 countries how they felt about climate change and government responses to it. It found 59% of children and young people were 'very' or 'extremely' worried about climate change and that levels of anxiety were increased by a perception of government inaction in the face of escalating climate risks.
citizens of the world seeking...

Key COP26 goals

Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:
accelerate the phase-out of coal
curtail deforestation

Mobilise finance

To deliver on the first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least US$100bn in climate finance per year by 2020.

International financial institutions must play their part and and work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects.

At COP26 countries need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:
protect and restore ecosystems
build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives

Work together to deliver

The world can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together.
At COP26 countries must:
finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational)
accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society

Good COP

vs

Bad COP

Less talk, more action. Improved net zero targets and detailed delivery plans
Giving up on 1.5 degrees or 2030 targets that lack ambition
US$100 billion annually for developing countries to kickstart their green transition
Ignoring poorer countries and turning it into Rich COP, Poor COP
Putting nature-based solutions front and centre in national plans to reach net zero
No binding targets for countries to protect and restore nature
Consigning coal to history by ending use of coal power and international coal financing
No precise timeline or concrete plan for the transition away from coal power
Global leaders to embed climate change in mainstream politics and public consciousness
Where hot air from global leaders increases CO₂ emissions and they look forward to COP27
back to main