Communicating Climate Science: A Matter of Credibility—Swedish Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate-Change Information

While climate-change communication research has advanced in the last decade, we still lack a thorough discussion of the credibility aspects of climate-change information and communication. Concurrently, and perhaps somewhat paradoxically, communication theories suggest that whether a (climate change) frame resonates with a particular audience is due partly to its perceived credibility. This article addresses the under-researched question of how a particular audience perceives climate-change information. Based on focus group (FG) discussions with Swedish farmers, this article explores both participants’ perceptions of climate-change information as well as the formation of these perceptions. The analysis of FG transcripts and frame credibility finds that participants use multiple ways of judging the credibility of information related to climate change. Specifically, the analysis suggests that participants hold different views concerning whether consistent or contradictory climate information landscapes constitute credible information; what constitutes credible knowledge production processes (e.g., analytical vs. experience-based approaches); and the credibility of frame articulators. Lastly, the article discusses how scientific evidence can be better communicated to more effectively inform climate-change decision-making and advocates paying greater attention to audience segmentation based on audience perceptions of climate change information credibility.

Artist-Scientist Collaborations: Maximising Impact of Climate Research and Increasing Public Engagement

Scientists are under increasing pressure to communicate their findings effectively to decision-makers and undertake public engagement activities. Research councils require researchers to demonstrate the Pathways to Impact of their funding and within the Research Excellence Framework to demonstrate an “effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia” (Stern 2014, 43). However, scientists are often ill-equipped or may be restricted by resource and capacity to effectively engage in activities that can ensure the broad dissemination and uptake of their findings. Similarly, adoption of the “information deficit approach” where more information is assumed to lead to better understanding, means the evidence-base on climate change can be abundant yet inaccessible and misaligned with the needs of different audiences. Cross-research collaboration and partnerships with artists could enable knowledge exchange and sharing of experiences to facilitate this. Processes through which scientists engage with the arts provide a unique opportunity to engage with different audiences in meaningful ways to enable scientific evidence on climate change to become salient and relevant, providing more potential to inform decision-making and practices. This commentary explores the science-arts relationship through an analysis of three case studies. “The Prediction Machine,” “A Conversation between Trees,” and “Cold Sun.” We discuss insights that can be gained from these art-science collaborations on climate change. In particular, we explore how these collaborations can support scientists to further enhance salience to climate change and co-produce resilient solutions at different scales, to maximise dissemination of research.

Urban Climate Change and Governance

Most developing countries are expected to be at increased risks of hydrological extremes due to the growing impact of climate change. Because of these concerns, developing countries have already started searching for appropriate solutions. Local actors as drivers must enhance adaptation opportunities for long-term climate change responses. In addition, cities need to govern and manage natural resources, people, and infrastructure as an integrated entity. This study looks at incorporating water sensitive planning practices to enhance climate change impact adaptation. A collaborative institutional model recognised as locally operative and guided nationally could provide the mechanism for governing climate adaptation. The theory of Multi-level Governance is used as a framework for working up local, regional, and national level policies, strategies, and programmes. Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Christchurch, New Zealand, will be considered as case studies in undertaking this research process.