LASER TALK Evidence-based climate communications

If you are an evidence-based climate communicator, it should not be surprising to you that COP27 ended with no mention of an equitable fossil fuel phaseout, and oil and gas have yet to be mentioned in a UNFCCC COP document.

The fact is fossil fuel companies have more money than our governments and currently controlling the narrative, including here in Canada.

Honestly, what do you conclude from this behaviour?

It is so bad, research shows that most people are not making the connection between climate change, disturbed weather systems, air pollution, and deaths due to fossil fuels all around the world. On top of that, most Canadians still support the fossil fuel industry.

As well, polarization is getting deeper especially in Canada and the USA thanks to all the disinformation and media attacks on both sides of our borders. The three-week violent takeover of our nation’s capital that included racist flags with no real-time denunciations, and the multi-billion dollar border-blockade attack on our economy in February 2022 as well as the attacks on mainstream media in Canada are evidence that some Canadians have somehow lost their politeness.

Every day people may not have the money or resources to combat the fossil fuel industry and the undermining of our democracies. But we do have the numbers, truth, and love on our side. The key is to use the best communications strategies possible.

We live in a democracy Clearly breeding cynicism leads to voter apathy and then people don’t vote. We must up our game.

Understandably, people become very demotivated by messaging that is cynical, has a plethora of data, and/or there are too many talking points.

If you really want to empower people and help save the planet and not be part of the cynicism loop with your writing, the data is clear: people respond best to short stories that follow this consistent pattern: problem, pathway, and then benefits.

A better world awaits. By using evidence in our communications, we will get there faster.


On Thursday, December 1, 2022, a presentation of “Phase Out Fossil Fuel and Fast Track Clean Energy – Six Country Playbooks” was shared by Climate Access with civil society, and previously there was a presentation Canada, Climate Change and the Muddled Middle.

Cara Pike (Climate Access Executive Director), shared findings and guidance from the Phase Out Fossil Fuel and Fast Track Clean Energy playbooks for India, Kenya, Philippines, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. Cara will present framing recommendations based on message testing and analyses of public opinion, social media, and media coverage.

Those advocating for a fossil fuel phase-out and fair energy transition must scale up efforts to tell a new story about the imperative and benefits of a fossil fuel-free world and how we get there. On behalf of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, Climate Access developed a series of messaging playbooks on how to talk about climate change, fossil fuel threats, and the need for a fair energy transition.