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The Climate Change Communication Forum

Communicating climate change presents us with a fundamental challenge. Climate change threatens all countries on Earth, regardless of their degree of development. However, telling the story of climate change, its causes and effects, and the ways in which we can contribute in the fight against it, remains a difficult task for any party involved, including the scientific community, governments, the media or nongovernmental organizations. Efforts to communicate climate change in a simple, clear and persuasive manner have not been totally successful. Moreover, competing positions still exist regarding the severity of the phenomenon and the appropriate collective response. While some recent polls have revealed increased public interest in a number of issues relating to climate change effects, others point to a certain fatigue on the part of several sectors of society regarding the whole environment subject. Bearing in mind that public support is essential in the process of adopting the necessary national and international policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, this trend in public opinion should concern us all.

There is growing interest in deepening climate awareness around the world. All sides to the issue agree on this point, albeit with different concerns in mind. With inspiration from author, researcher and independent policy advisor Simon Anholt, the Government of Mexico and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change have joined efforts to convene an international meeting on the communication of climate change.

The main purpose of this initiative is to share ideas and identify best practices in addressing common challenges, and at the same time contribute to consensus building. The Forum, global and multidisciplinary in nature, will welcome experts in the public understanding of science, public diplomacy and communications, together with renowned public opinion leaders, traditional and alternative media figures, and members of NGOs and the private sector.

Public opinion on climate change will be the starting point of the Forum. The results of a survey specifically designed for this occasion will be released and analyzed at the Forum. Three different discussion panels will address crucial topics such as what is working and what is not working in getting the climate change story out, the communication of climate science, the risks involved in inducing changes of social behavior, and the role of new and traditional voices, such as social media and religion, in this debate global.

The Forum will take place in the Grand Velas Riviera Maya (Carretera Cancun-Tulum, km 62, Playa del Carmen) on December 3, 2010, form 9 am to 5:30 pm. It will be open to the general public, as well as accredited media and delegates to the COP16.