The IPCC and Effective Communication

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading scientific body on climate change, established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The IPCC’s primary objective is to provide governments with scientific information to develop climate policies and to inform international climate change negotiations. The IPCC assesses the state of knowledge on climate change, identifies risks and impacts, and explores adaptation and mitigation strategies.

To enhance the communication of their findings, the IPCC has recently produced a handbook that sets out six principles for effective communication. This handbook serves as a valuable resource for IPCC authors and the wider scientific community to engage audiences with climate change. It incorporates a wealth of research on the science of climate change communication and provides practical tips and case studies.

 The Six Principles for Effective Communication

The handbook developed by the IPCC outlines six principles for effective communication:
1. Be relevant: Tailor the communication to the specific needs and interests of the audience.
2. Be clear: Use plain language and avoid jargon to ensure that the message is easily understood.
3. Be credible: Base communication on the best available evidence and clearly communicate the scientific consensus.
4. Be salient: Connect with the values, concerns, and priorities of the audience to increase engagement.
5. Be legitimate: Acknowledge and address uncertainties and limitations in the science while maintaining transparency.
6. Be accessible: Use a variety of communication channels and formats to reach diverse audiences effectively.

These principles aim to guide IPCC authors and the wider scientific community in effectively engaging audiences with climate change information.


The IPCC’s handbook on effective communication provides valuable guidance for IPCC authors and the wider scientific community to engage audiences with climate change. By following the six principles outlined in the handbook, IPCC authors can tailor their communication to be relevant, clear, credible, salient, legitimate, and accessible. This will help ensure that the best available evidence on climate change is effectively communicated to policymakers and the public.