Strategic Climate Change Communications

Effective Approaches to Fighting Climate Denial

Jasper Colin Fessmann (Ed.)

by Cynthia Barnett (University of Florida, USA), John Cook (George Mason University, USA), Nicole Dahmen (University of Oregon, USA), Nancy LaPlaca (Regulatory Issues at the Energy & Policy Institute), David L. Morris II (University of South Carolina Aiken, USA), Ishana Ratan (University of California, Berkeley, USA), Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright (RegeNErate, USA), Kim Sheehan (University of Oregon, USA)

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For over 30 years the science on climate change has been clear: it is happening, we humans caused it, and it puts all our futures at risk. Global warming can still be reversed, or at least the worst prevented, if we act in time. However, despite valiant efforts by scientists, activists and science reporters, little meaningful change has occurred. This is largely the result of well-funded professional strategic communication efforts by vested interests. They have been highly successful in achieving their central goal: protecting the profitable status quo by creating gridlock to slow down meaningful action on climate change.

Strategic Climate Science Communications: Effective Approaches to Fighting Climate Denial analyzes some of the communication strategies employed by deniers and the psychological mechanisms behind how they work. Several experts offer specific counter-strategies to change the conversation and foster meaningful societal change on global warming. The book helps environmental journalists to build up resistance against being manipulated by highly effective public relations techniques often successfully used against them. It can also help scientists and activists to become more effective communicators. An effective strategy is best countered by even better strategy.


Foreword: Climate truths in a post-truth world
Cynthia Barnett

Editor’s Introduction: Climate Change Communications in the Age of Trump
Jasper Fessmann, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 An Unlevel Playing Field: A Primer on the Problems of Climate Change Communications
Jasper Fessmann, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Turning Climate Misinformation into an Educational Opportunity
John Cook, PhD

Chapter 3 Intentional Circumvention: Navigating Around Denial and Towards Each Other
Anthony Rogers-Wright

Chapter 4 Fire, ice or drought? Picturing humanity in climate change imagery
Kim Sheehan, PhD and David L. Morris II

Chapter 5 Arcane and Hidden: Why the State Public Utilities Commissions Are So Difficult for Climate Change Communications
Nancy LaPlaca, J.D.

Chapter 6 Reframing the Narrative Around Solar Technology: Unlikely Opportunities for Bipartisanship in an Increasingly Divided Nation
Ishana Ratan

Chapter 7 Key Strategic Climate Denial Techniques Journalists Should Understand
Jasper Fessmann, Ph.D.


The editor Dr. Jasper Fessmann is a professor of strategic communications and a 15-year public relations agency veteran. His work focuses on public interest communications – using strategic communications to improve the human condition. He is joined by leading thinkers, both academics and practitioners, on strategic climate change communications:
Cynthia Barnett, Dr. John Cook, Dr. Nicole Dahmen, Nancy LaPlaca, Dr. David L. Morris II, Ishana Ratan, Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Dr. Kim Sheehan.

Advocacy, public relations, social change, climate change denial, solutions journalism, Strategic communication

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Strategic Climate Change Communications

Book Subtitle

Effective Approaches to Fighting Climate Denial





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date

October 2019