Recently we worked with the Victorian Government to prepare a series of regional brochures explaining the likely impacts of climate change and describing how best to adapt. This project was a collaboration with Karen Pearce of Bloom Communication and Rohan Hamden & Associates.
The 8-page brochures state how climate has already changed, highlight climate-related risks for key sectors and present ‘climate-ready’ actions. These actions include considering different crop varieties, insuring assets and undertaking emergency planning. We give numerous examples of communities successfully preparing for, and adapting to, climate change.
The brochures conclude with detailed, regional descriptions of the projected changes to temperature, rainfall and, where relevant, sea-level rise under various greenhouse emission scenarios out to the year 2100. CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology prepared regional projections and climate information specially for the project.
In preparing the products, we applied our extensive climate communication experience, as well as the advice from social scientists. I recently wrote about some important findings from social science, which concluded:
- Highlight personal experiences and local examples
- Describe effective local action
- Emphasise local changes
- Accentuate the positive
- Seek to build a better tomorrow.
By presenting information regionally and showcasing practical examples, the brochures fulfilled points 1 to 3. The numerous examples of successful recent action fulfilled points 4 and 5.
Thanks to the Victorian Government, there were many rounds of user testing. We incorporated well over 500 comments and suggestions made on various draft products.
We know that people interpret information in different ways. To cater for this, the brochures include body text, breakouts, infographics, attractive photographs, and different graph styles. CSIRO’s experience is that an effective way of visualising how climate change will affect a place is to state a ‘climate analogue’. Here is an example from the brochures: ‘In 2050, under high emissions, the climate of Bendigo will be more like the climate of Shepparton now.’
The climate change projections for Victorian are based on material from the Climate Change in Australia website, produced by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, at www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au.
The Climate-ready Victoria brochures and data sheets are available at www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/understand, under the ‘Being Climate Ready’ tab.