A Panel of public health, business climate communication experts On Tuesday June 23 2015 was told that ultimately, to get people to care about climate change, the message needs to be personal. Director of George Mason University’s Centre for Climate Change Communication Edward Maibach was addressing fellow panellists at the White House Public Health and Climate Change Summit including Ruth Etzel from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lance Pierce from CDP North America and Joe Romm from Climate Progress. The Panel was charged with finding ways to strengthen the conversation regarding climate change in the United States and ultimately answer the question “how do we use the vast amount of data and tools at our disposal to get people to care about climate change?”
Lance Pierce from CDP stated that it comes down to people at the end of the day, and it’s a big challenge for which there may not be one single silver bullet or a single way to communicate the need for us all to care about climate change. Maibach was adamant that all Americans care about their health and that of their children and parents, and that therefore unlike climate change, health isn’t polarised. He identified the huge opportunity that communicating climate change through public health issues represents.
The timing of the Panel discussion was timely given the release of two reports linking climate change and public health-one from the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change and a USEPA report released on Monday June 22 2015. The former concluded that climate change could represent the greatest global health opportunity of this century, and the latter concluded that 57,000 deaths would be avoided in 2100 if warming was kept at the previously agreed 2°C warming limit.