On August 22, I was listening to Rebecca Stott speaking of the rhetoric of climate change on Radio 4’s A Point of View.
She said that when communicating climate change it was hard to avoid the use of abstract nouns. Words such as climate change, climate justice, weather, future, ineffective, decarbonisation, deforestation and mitigation. According to her, these words are unemotive and easily forgotten. For a message to be effective it needs to convey feeling.
She explained that during her public relations work she often used Aristotle’s three principles of rhetoric: Ethos, Logos and Pathos during her. Ethos involves establishing the moral authority of the speaker. Logos uses statistics and facts to give the message credibility. Pathos is about conveying emotion. Scientists communicate via logos and find it difficult to tie the emotional message to facts.
Ms Stott described the scale of the communications problem for scientists at The United Nations (UN) Climate...
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