The CCES has recently staged a successful symposium event, held in Liverpool on May 30th this year: ‘Keeping the Flame Alive?: Climate Change, the Media and the Public’. It was attended by around forty people form a wide variety of scholarly and non-scholarly backgrounds, and was themed around the coverage of climate change before and through the 2013-14 UN IPCC climate change reports:
Climate change as an issue has recently been somewhat eclipsed by economic turbulence in Britain and Europe. Maintaining its profile in the national dialogue is a challenge for many organisations and institutions. This symposium draws on speakers from a range of these. They will present their take on the challenge of keeping the clients, stakeholders and the public, engaged with and informed about climate change. But in addition, scholars in this area will speak on their related area of specialisation: media coverage of the issue, policy development in this area, and attitude formation and change. The aim is here is an exchange of ideas, experiences and expertise.
The keynote speaker was the Right Honourable Andrew Miller MP (Chair, Science and Technology Select Committee), who spoke about his committee’s recent report (‘Communicating Climate Science’) and the likely government and media industry response. Another speaker was Dr Saffron O’Neill (Exeter University), who talked about current path-breaking research on the visualisation of climate change in the media, and its impact on those exposed to it. Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh (Cardiff University) spoke on climate sceptic attitudes, while James Painter (RISJ, Oxford University), delivered a talk on risk and uncertainty climate reporting. Dr Neil Gavin (Liverpool University and CCES Convenor), delivered results from recent work on the agenda-setting capacities of climate coverage, and on television coverage of the 2013-14 UN IPCC reports. Matt Evans of the polling company IPSOS-Mori talked about the broader feature of public opinion on climate change, and his organisation’s recent work on how social media refract environmental issues.
Plans are afoot to organise a panel at next year’s MeCCSA conference around the theme of ongoing research under the auspices of CCES.
The CCES Convenor, Dr Neil Gavin, has been invited to the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Whitehall in August 2014, to give a ‘DECC Talk’ on the mediation of climate change. The hope is that this might facilitate communication and dialogue between DECC and CCES members working in the area.