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Panel debate: Communicating climate change

CICERO organized the panel debate "Communicating climate change" during the United Nations climate conference in Nairobi in November. See what Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of IPCC and the other panellists said in their opening remarks.
The aim of this event was to discuss to what degree the general public still has the impression that climate scientists strongly disagree about the extent to which climate change is human induced, and what may have caused this impression.
Has the journalists’ struggle to achieve a balanced presentation given the so-called climate skeptics greater journalistic coverage than they deserve? Or are the majority of climate scientists simply unable to communicate their message effectively? What concrete steps can be taken to reduce the problems with respect to communication?
  • Click on the names to see the panellists opening remarks. (approx 10 minutes each, 200 Mb).


Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). What are the main challenges and bottlenecks in communicating the IPCC’s assessment reports?
Pål Prestrud, Director CICERO and vise chair Arctic Climate Impacts Assessment (ACIA). Experiences from ACIA information work and the media coverage of the ACIA report compared to the IPCC assessment reports.
Jules Boykoff, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Government at Pacific University, Oregon. Journalistic Balance as Global Warming Bias – Creating controversy where science finds consensus.
Liisa Antilla, Human Geographer. What role do US mainstream media play in the dissemination of misinformation about climate change?
Marc Morano,  Communications Director for Senator James Inhofe, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Discussion leader
Alister Doyle, Environmental journalist, Reuters.

Additional reading


Dr Rajendra K Pachauri assumed his current responsibilities as the head of TERI (Tata Energy Research Institute) in 1981. In April 2002, Dr Pachauri was elected Chairman of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which was established by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme in 1988.
Pål Prestrud is the current director of CICERO (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo) and vice chair of ACIA (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment). He holds a doctorate in biology from the University of Oslo, and his previous positions include division director for the Division of Science and Technology at the Research Council of Norway, research director at the Norwegian Polar Institute, and deputy director general at the Section for Polar Affairs and Cooperation with Russia, Department for International Cooperation at the Ministry of the Environment.
Nick Nuttall is spokesperson for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Jules Boykoff holds a Ph.D. in political science. His work on U.S. media coverage of global warming, which he co-authored with Maxwell Boykoff (Oxford University, Environmental Change Institute), has appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular publications. Al Gore used their research in his film and book “An Inconvenient Truth”. Boykoff teaches political science at Pacific University in the United States.
Liisa Antilla holds a master’s degree in human geography from King’s College London. She is an independent researcher living in Seattle, Washington, USA. Some of her work on media coverage of climate change is posted at
Alister Doyle has been Reuters Environment Correspondent since 2004. Based in Oslo, he has worked in more than 30 countries with Reuters since 1982, with postings in Paris, Brussels, London, Central and South America.

Marc Morano joined the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as the majority Communications Director in June 2006 after a decade and a half as a working journalist, documentary maker and national television correspondent.

Last updated: 16.11.06

Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Without a connection to current disasters, global warming is the kind of problem people, and democratic institutions, have proved singularly terrible at solving: a long-term threat that can only be limited by acting promptly, before the harm is clear.”

The New York Times, April 23, 2006

Time and location: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 15:15-16:45, African Tulip Tree, Nairobi,Kenya.

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