The war of words is getting heated as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prepares to launch a key report, detailing global warming predictions, in Stockholm next week. Climate-denying groups have already launched counter attacks to what they see as alarmist findings.
As Allister Doyle at Reuters points out, the very nature of scientific research presents a big stumbling block when trying to convince the public about the urgency of climate change. The IPCC report uses the term “uncertainty” 42 times – not because scientists don’t believe climate change is happening, but because in science, few things can be proved absolutely.
Could companies help to overcome this “language gap”? There is certainly distrust of corporations among much of the populace – but it’s arguable that that distrust is actually greatest among those who are already convinced about the reality of global warming. Companies could have a role to play in arguing the climate cause to customers who don’t trust what they hear from government, the UN, scientists or the media.
Nor would this just be do-goodery. Climate change, water shortages and other environmental changes threaten companies’ revenues in many ways. The most trusted household names could make a difference in this arena – if they craft their message just right.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.
Picture credit: Elias Gayles