The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has just launched a new inquiry:
In July 2011, the Foresight programme’s report into the International Dimensions of Climate Change stated:
Recent polling suggests that scepticism about climate change has increased, alongside diminished concern for its effects. In 2006, 81% of surveyed UK citizens were fairly or very concerns about climate change compared with 76% in 2009 in an identical tracking survey.
Foresight cautions that “should scepticism continue to increase, democratic governments are likely to find it harder to convince voters to support costly environmental policies aimed at mitigation of, or adaptation to, climate change.”
The Science and Technology Select Committee considered issues of public trust and risk communication in its report “Devil’s bargain? Energy risks and the public” earlier this year. The Committee concluded that “more could be done to improve risk communication of scientific matters in the media”.
The Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into what the public understand about climate, where people look for their information and how that may impact climate change policy and seeks written submissions on the following matters:
- What is the current state of public understanding of what is meant by climate change? How has this changed in recent years?
- Which voices are trusted in public discourse on climate science and policy? What role should Government Departments, scientific advisers to Government and publicly funded scientists have in communicating climate science?
- How could public understanding of what is meant by climate change be improved? What are the main barriers to this? Does the media have a positive role to play?
- How important is public understanding in developing effective climate change policy?
- What evidence is there that public attitude to climate science affects their engagement with energy policies or initiatives?
- Does the Government have sufficient expertise in social and behavioural sciences to understand the relationship between public understanding of climate science and the feasibility of relevant public policies?
- Can lessons about public engagement with climate change policy be learned from other countries?
Details on how to submit evidence here.