Greetings from the 2013 International Conference on Climate Change Communication

 2013 International Conference on Climate Change Communication I am here at the 2013 International Conference on Climate Change Communication at Renmin University of China, in Beijing, China. This is a unique gathering of communication scientists, environmental scientists, working journalists and climate change activists, and faculty and students. Renmin University is a top-tier institution in China, number 1 in the social sciences.

Many of the people here come from backgrounds in health communication, or they are interventionists who have worked to improve health in developing countries. But with climate change communication, they are tackling what is the biggest challenge facing the world, larger in scope than any traditional health issue such as family planning, cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, or physical activity and diet. Climate change data are now conclusive that the world has significantly warmed as never before, and that human activity has been the primary driver of this trend. The different research and practice roles that communication faculty and students and practitioners can play in working to spread effective mitigation behaviors and practices, and organizational and business policies, and government solutions, are many.

This conference has reasonably strong participation from a number of national ministries in China; ministry representatives and scientific advisors to the national government seem sincere that the country is moving to try to create a low-carbon future for China that can still achieve certain development objectives. I have met many Renmin University faculty and staff, as well as people from universities from a number of countries, who are very eager to come to MSU for a variety of reasons.

Any Spartans out there who would like to help define a new worldwide subfield of climate change communication?

- Jim Dearing

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