Tips on when to talk about climate during a heatwave

By Livvy Drake

Following the reactions on social media to the extreme heat and its links with climate change in July 2022, I found this recent email from Act Climate Labs and Sean Buchan hugely insightful and helpful.

How weather events affect concern

Pulsar data revealed that there were 25% more posts on twitter about #heatwave vs #stormeunice in Feb, but more google searches for Storm Eunice.

Polling data following the UK heatwave found there was a 10% increase in people selecting the ‘environment’ as one of the most important issues.

Further research identified that ‘persuadables’ (69% of the UK population who are often not engaged with traditional climate communications) were those actively engaged in denying the links with climate change on Twitter and Facebook.

So how do we communicate with people who can’t see the connections yet?

Sean Buchan recommends:

Reframe: Try NOT to talk about the climate during a heatwave, wait till afterwards.

Acknowledge the weather and give advice on how to stay safe.

Use examples from other countries like Spain that regularly have hot weather, this can more subtly drive the point home that these events are irregular.

Talk about and thank local services and service workers that we have needed during this period of unusual heat and sunshine.

If you want to discuss the impacts of the extreme heat, messages of emotional support to those affected land better than just stating the risks and dangers.

For more tips on using facts and stats read the full article

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