Climate Extremes Communication Guidebook

From the World Wildlife Fund, ICLEI, and Resilient Communities for America, this guidebook is designed to help local governments communicate about weather and climate extremes in the context of climate change. This guide is intended to help mainstream climate preparedness into local government planning processes, and/or build support for any existing climate preparedness efforts that have been already undertaken by local governments.

The guidebook provides local government planners with:

• concise explanations of climate extremes;
• the relationships of these climate extremes to climate change;
• tips on national, state, regional and local data related to climate extremes and their impacts; and
• extensive guidance on how to communicate about climate extremes.

The report provides background information, observed and projected trends, as well as summarized current impacts for weather and climate extremes. According to the report’s cited statistics, evidence clearly indicates that some climate extremes are on the rise in the U.S. The annual number of weather/climate-related disasters costing at least a billion dollars each in the U.S. has increased since 1980, with a record 14 such events in 2011. Similarly, there were 11 billion dollar events in 2012, the second highest annual total on record.

Examples of local climate adaptation measures are given, followed with a discussion of the importance of communication is in pursuing climate adaptation. Steps for working climate considerations in to the conversation are provided, along with specifics on where to get the background information needed. 

The “Are You Only Scaring People?” is a good example of the kind of valuable advice offered in the guide: “Remember that if you present climate change only as a formidable threat and don’t offer appealing responses, people may react to this overwhelming fear by ignoring or denying the problem. That’s why it’s important to meet people where they are, and determine how to move your audience toward action without going too far, too fast.”


Publication Date: January 2014

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  • Communication
  • Tool (general)


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