Climate Priorities

An object lesson in how public opinion responds if care is not taken to frame climate change messages appropriately for their target audience can be found in recent experience of the UK Government’s ‘Act on CO2’ campaign

Many governments need to persuade their citizens to think about climate change as a serious and urgent issue needing action, and that government policies offer solutions for climate change that merit their support. The UK experience provides a cautionary tale… more detail...

The UK public is among the most sceptical about climate change in Europe. An Ipsos Mori poll (2008) showed that 60% of citizens doubt there is scientific consensus about the causes of climate change, and in the 2009 Eurobarometer survey only 47% of UK citizens ranked climate change as the world’s most serious problem, placing the UK 19th out of 27 EU nations in this respect.

A video released as part of the UK government’s £6 million ‘Act on CO2’ public information campaign about climate change was intended to convey the importance of individuals acting now to reduce their CO2 emissions for the benefit of future generations. It featured a father reading a story about climate change to his daughter.

The video seems to have had a negative impact on public opinion as it has generated 700 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which has banned it from being screened before 9pm and is launching a full investigation into the complaints.

Climate change is a complex issue and it seems likely that insufficient care was taken in the framing the video for its target audience.

More detail and analysis at

Tags: climate change, climate goals, public opinion, EU priorities and opinion, Act on CO2, InfoSociety,

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