Our series explores how climate communications has becoming increasingly shrill propaganda devoid of facts and logic. Our thesis is that sticking to facts and logical arguments is sufficient and the best way to communicate concerns over climate issues.
Unfortunately, the perception that too many are “skeptical” (and results in the pejorative name calling of “deniers”) results in more propaganda-based communications efforts. Our series suggests that heavy handed propaganda approaches will back fire. Today I saw this item on Twitter as an illustration of the effect of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” approach to climate communications:
This captures the problem – when people figure out that some of what they are presented is exaggerated or false they lose confidence in those providing information. This is a major climate communications “fail”.
The solution is not, however, to engage in more hysterical propaganda messaging – but that has been the primary approach for decades and even today is the usual response. When people “Do not believe” they are labeled “deniers” (name calling”), out of touch (get on the band wagon”) and ignorant (of the experts via appeal to authority).
Some say the problem is “We are not asking the “Do you believe in climate change” survey questions properly” without looking at the root cause problem. The root problem is the excessive use of failed propaganda methodologies rather than facts and logic.
Another backfire example comes from the donation solicitation email of The Nature Conservancy, which had 4 false claims about climate in the email’s first sentence. This approach of exaggeration and lying is a huge turn off to many and is counterproductive.