South Korean economist Hoesung Lee was recently named the fourth chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His goal in his new position is to promote “policy relevance and neutrality,” and, according to associate professor of Communication Studies Matthew Nisbet, communication is going to be a key part of that effort.
[Nisbet] is among the IPCC watchers who argue that the group should incorporate more insights from the social sciences in its climate reports. Increasing input from sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists and political scientists can help scientists and policymakers understand how climate information is perceived, trusted and used by governments and private industry.
“The more severe the [climate-change] problem becomes the more it will polarize societies,” says Nisbet. “You’re just not going to reach a threshold where everybody agrees that the IPCC is right. This will never happen.”