Climate change threatens our health and survival within decades

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The Bottom Line

This editorial adds little to the climate change discussion that any member of the general public has not already had a chance to consider. There is little doubt most readers can find a more productive use of their time, particularly if they are concerned about the need for climate action.

Type of Article


Brief Summary

This article reproduces a large number of facts and figures that will feel familiar to anyone who has read any coverage of a multitude of IPCC reports while browsing a weekend media story. There is nothing new here. There is nothing new about the size of the problem, the urgency to act or potential options that can happen. The deeply disappointing thing is that there is plentiful evidence that seeking to influence the population’s perspective on climate change by adding more numbers to address a knowledge deficit fails as a science communication strategy.

This is as well established as the science around climate change itself. Given the editorial space in The Lancet, the opportunity has been taken to write an article that will add nothing for those already concerned about climate change, while having no influence on those who do not presently see the urgency to act.

What is the point? If you are deeply concerned that urgent global action is needed, why keep communicating using methods that we know perpetually fail?

Reviewed by Dr Andrew Weatherall