Enhancing climate science communication

Gearing up for IPCC Assesment Report 5

Enhancing climate science communication

The objectives of the project is

  •  create an informal network of climate science communicators and communication advisors for capacity building and knowledge sharing.
  • To organise a conference for science communications experts, advisors and researchers to prepare for the launch of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.


 Background – why now and why AR5?

The first of four AR5 reports will be launched in September 2013. The second and third will be launched March and April 2014 and the fourth will be made public in October 2014. Last year, the UNFCCC decided to finalise the negotiations on a new global climate treaty by 2015. IPCC reports have been drivers of public interest and media coverage of climate change in the past. As in 2007, the launch of the AR5 reports takes place in the run up to a deadline for the international climate negotiations. Based on experience from 2007 to 2009 we can expect that the science will come under close scrutiny and indeed outright attack from certain quarters. Furthermore, research on science communication suggests that highly politicised sciences such as that of climate change would benefit from science communication that takes into account cultural, social and psychological factors in order for the communication to be effective. Yet many science communicators do not necessarily have the capacity or ability to effectively communicate and defend climate science, nor an international network from where to draw support and advice.

Climate communicators have geared up

«Gearing up for AR5» was a two-day conference in Oslo in May 2013 hosted by CICERO to launch the new network of European Climate Communications Officers (ECCO).

Up until January 2013 there did not exist a network for European climate communication advisors that could facilitate professional support and knowledge-sharing. CICERO, together with representatives from ten European organisations, has addressed this challenge by creating ECCO, a network of European Climate Communication Officers.

Increased uptake of climate communication

ECCO is an informal network with the broad aim of information-sharing and capacity-building among communicators. It strives for increased uptake of climate science and climate communication in Europe. Communicators and communication advisors of climate research centres and associated institutions across Europe are the prime targets of the network. ECCO membership is personal and by invitation only. ECCO will aim to improve its members’ communication capacity through the sharing of ideas, best practices and knowledge, and by providing a forum for discussion and support.

No formal link to the IPCC

ECCO has no formal link with the IPCC or its Working Groups and does not seek to represent the views of European research institutions or influence how individual research organisations choose to conduct their communications activities. Rather, ECCO is a loose group of individuals who have a mutual interest in:
- Thinking strategically about climate communications, especially with regard to policy-makers and the wider public
- Helping put climate research on the public agenda
- Helping explain the importance of science to the wider public and policy-makers
- Sharing best communications practice
- Generating a sense of community among European climate communicators

ECCO has a small secretariat based at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research Oslo (CICERO). For more information please contact:
Tiina Ruohonen (tiina.ruohonen@cicero.oslo.no, +47 90 98 31 61) or
Christian Bjørnæs (christian.bjornas@cicero.oslo.no, +47 41 14 06 65)

Kick-off conference

In May ECCO held a kick-off-conference in Oslo as part of the network’s efforts to prepare the scientific community in Europe, and in particular communications officers working for the home institutions of IPCC authors, for the launch of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. The conference took place at Leangkollen, a hotel beautifully situated by the Oslo fjord. It was attended by 82 persons spanning 14 European countries.

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