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Communicating about climate change using a health frame Fiona Armstrong

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Presentation on theme: "Communicating about climate change using a health frame Fiona Armstrong"— Presentation transcript:

1 Communicating about climate change using a health frame Fiona Armstrong

2 Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Psychological Society, Doctors for the Environment, Australia, the Australian Womens Health Network, the Australian Nursing Federation, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Australian Association of Social Workers, the Australian Hospitals and Healthcare Association, the Australian Rural Health Education Network, the Australian Council of Social Service, Australian Health Promotion Association, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, CRANAplus, Doctors Reform Society, Health Issues Centre, Royal College of Nursing Australia, Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health, North Yarra Community Health, Womens Health East, Womens Health in the North, and World Vision Who is CAHA?

3 Expert advisory committee Associate Professor Erica Bell, University Department of Rural Health, University of Tasmania Professor David Karoly, Federation Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia Dr Peter Tait, RACGP General Practitioner of the Year 2007, Alice Springs Associate Professor Grant Blashki, Nossal Institute for Global Health Professor Anthony Capon, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University Professor Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health, University of Sydney Dr Susie Burke, Senior Psychologist, Public Interest, Environment & Disaster Response, Australian Psychological Society Dr Marion Carey, Public Health Research Fellow, Monash Sustainability Institute Professor Colin Butler, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University Professor Garry Egger, School of Health & Human Sciences, Southern Cross University

4 Climate change poses serious risks to human health but there are also many opportunities to improve health from strategies to cut emissions. When presented in a health context, climate change is more likely to be considered to be an issue of personal significance. Campaigns that emphasise the health risks from climate change and health benefits of climate action can help build support for mitigation. Why health is important

5 Climate change biggest global health threat of the 21 st century Called for a public health movement that frames the threat of climate change for humankind as a health issue The Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commissions:

6 Health is a top priority for people in Australia And its a vote winner: Poll in March 2012 showed Labor is nine points ahead of the Coalition when it comes to who voters think will best handle health. Morgan poll in 2010 on election night found health second only to economy as priority issues for voters.

7 The health benefits of climate action

8 Health benefits of climate action climate change already has, and will continue to have, a major adverse impact on the health of human populations... reducing greenhouse-gas emissions has unrivalled opportunities for improving public health. Indeed, moving to a low carbon economy could be the next great public health advance. British Medical Journal, The Lancet, and the Finnish Medical Journal

9 Action on climate = better health + $

10 Strong emissions reductions can deliver massive economic savings: 30% by 2020 in the EU could save 80 billion a year by 2020 in avoided ill health and productivity gains Cutting emissions to half 2005 levels estimated to reduce premature deaths by % Emissions reductions could be considered public health strategies with climate co- benefits Health benefits of climate action

11 Health impacts are now Victoria in January 2009 in one five day period: 62% increase in mortality, from direct heat related illnesses and exacerbations of chronic medical conditions. Ambulances had a 46% increase in demand Eight-fold increase in heat related presentations to EDs 2.8 fold increase in cardiac arrests Threefold increase in patients dead on arrival

12 Climate change as a moral issue The Challenges: Abstractness and complexity Blamelessness of unintentional action Guilty bias Uncertainty breeds wishful thinking Moral tribalism Long term horizons and far away places

13 Climate change as a moral issue Strategies to respond: Use moral frames around exploitation Focus on costs as well as benefits Motivate through appeals to hope and pride Be wary of overstating benefits Increase affinity with and responsibility to future generations Highlight the positive actions of others

14 Role of ideology Relationship between world view and willingness to accept climate science Conservatives more likely to reject (opposition increases with levels of education) Exposure to more science can backfire

15 Using the health frame When presented as public health issue, people more inclined to see climate change as personally relevant More inclined to support action for mitigation Health provides the opportunity to involves trusted members of the public Provides a positive vision for the future and localisation of the issue

16 Inequality Climate action offers opportunity for addressing social justice issues Effective action requires equitable allocation of natural resources Inequity also leads to all manner of social ills Inequality negatively impacts on everyone

17 Civil society leadership New Scientist, 10 February 2012 by Fred Pearce, London We can forget about fixing the planet's ecosystems and climate until we have fixed government systems, a panel of leading international environmental scientists declared in London on Friday. The solution, they said, may not lie with governments at all. They believe leadership must come from civil society, from NGOs, local government and corporations, rather than national leaders or the UN.

18 Campaigning for climate action Use the frames of health and equity Use values based appeals Hope as a motivator Expand group identity to include future generations Use positive examples Be wary of overstating the benefits and impacts of actions

19 Doubt is our product - Tobacco executive

20 Formula for effective climate communication 1.Talk about the problem 2.Explain why there is opposition – fear, guilt, vested interests 3.Highlight availability and affordability of solutions 4.Point out opportunities for health, economy, quality of life 5.Appeal to values – legacy for future generations

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