Climate Crisis 2021: Considerations for Communicators

When the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its sixth report on global climate in early August, few expected it to contain good news.

Indeed, it predicted global warming of 1.5 to 2.0 °C during the 21st century unless “deep reductions” in carbon and other greenhouse gases are made in the next decade.

The media had a field day (or Doomsday, rather). Dire headlines included: “A Hotter Future Is Certain, Climate Panel Warns,” “The Climate is About to Get A Lot Worse,” and “Climate Change Report Warns of a Code Red.”

But the corporate response was eerily silent. This despite some companies speaking out on several social issues during the past year and a half.

For example, many companies issued statements denouncing systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd May 25, 2020. The ensuing public unrest fueled an unprecedented amount of corporate pledges to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. For example, Fast Company reported 42 tech giants committed $3.8 billion to DEI initiatives in 2020 and 2021.

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